Hello! Another book down in the #12daysofbooksmas2 readathon!
The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, from Anne Rice (under the pseudonym A. N. Roquelaure), it’s the first one in the Sleeping Beauty series. This review will be short and soon enough you shall understanf why 🙂
Once upon a time, there was a princess that had been granted with everything: beauty, kindness, money and education. Cursed from birth, the princess fell in a deep sleep after stinging her finger in a spinning wheel. A hundred years shall pass before a brave prince was able to awaken her from her fate.
This is the story that you know. What you don’t know is how Beauty was awaken.
Or how her real curse began in the moment she opened her eyes.
Just remembering that those were my impressions and opinion as a reader 🙂
I bet you were expecting my scandal gif after such a story, right? Oh, well. The perspective of the story is a scandal. The real thing, not so much.
You see, I bought this book in June of this year and was pinning badly to read it. I love the whole fairy-tales gone bad wave and didn’t even knew that Anne Rice already attempted that more than twenty years ago. I don’t know what I expected, but it wasn’t what I got. I’ll be more specific in my disappointment during the review, but I don’t see the point of talking and talking about a book that I didn’t enjoy, so I’ll try to keep this short 🙂 I still love Anne Rice, but this was just… Wrong. Two stars that shall be justified in the following lines.
The narrative was third person, but only from Beauty’s point of view. There are two chapters were Prince Alexi narrates mostly of the events in first person, but it was for contextualization’s sake, not a rule. I like third person narratives, but it got boring not having a break from Beauty’s fears and sufferings. Scene and action describing is one of the strongest points of Rice as an author, for good and bad. There were several scenes where I’d rather have been left in the dark, but oh well.
The plot was simple and, in my humble opinion, awful. As I said before, nothing prepared me for this book and I had a completely misjudged idea about it. It’s partially my fault, as it was written in the back cover of my edition that this was a “polemic fairy tale”, with “a sensual world, made of forbidden dreams and dark desires, in which traditional notions of domain and submission and gender preference are tossed to the wind”*. Again, I should have seen it coming, as I read Interview with the Vampire and The Vampire Lestat. Nevertheless, I MANAGED TO BE SURPRISED, UGH.
It was totally the wrong book for me. I’m not a fan of BDSM on a regular basis, I don’t like books like 50 Shades of Gray, I can’t stand any book that says that is cool for an individual to humiliate themselves for the sake of pleasure. To see women to be beaten up, men being raped and liking it… This is not my thing. I’m too serious about both pleasure and pain to unite both. I have to see that I already didn’t like 50 Shades of Gray when I read it, but this book puts E. L. James and Mr. Grey in the nursery. I already mentioned here once or twice how I can’t stand vulgar sex scenes, the ones made solemnly for the sex itself, without any emotional attachment behind it, out of boredom (and I’m not even talking about love, you see, I’m talking about true desire). I hate them and this book, for me, was a giant almost non-stop sex scene with barely a story behind it. I’m sorry if you read this book and you liked it, or if you like this kind of genre.
I won’t lie, I had my moments with this book. The characters were an interesting part. I liked Prince Alexi, for instance. He is nuts, but who wouldn’t be after all of his “learning”. Beauty was a disappointment in her own way. What I really like is how Rice manages to extinguish gender preferences and prejudices about who will you love. This is an aspect that I already loved in Interview with the Vampire and it kept me captivated on this book as well, despite everything. This is how love should really be: just free. Why does it matter if it’s a boy or a girl? No one in Rice’s books bat an eyelash for two boys together or two girls together, because they are people before being males or females. Honestly, society should learn a thing or two with her.
On the other hand, Rice’s too free love gets on my nerves, as you can’t ship any couple together, because they change their minds about partners more times than they change clothes. They claim that they love them all, but Johnny Deep once said something on this line: “If you are with someone and falls in love with a second person, choose the second person. If it was true love with the first, you wouldn’t have fallen in love again.” I agree with him on this one. You have to admit, at least to yourself, what do you want.
I really wanted to tear this book apart, as it crushed so many of my personal beliefs, but I read it, had my good moments with it and intend to read the next book in the series. Why? For the same reason that the book got 2 instead of 1 star: it picked my curiosity. Things were so absurd when it ended that I felt the need for understanding. I need to read the next book to try to figure out Beauty’s mind. I should totally have gone to psychology school instead of Journalism, haha!
That’s it, thanks for reading 🙂 Once again, I apologize if something that I said may look offensive, that wasn’t my goal while stating my opinion, haha!
Ps: That was my fourth book on the #12daysofbooksmas2 readathon!
*this passage was translated from Brazilian Portuguese to English, as my edition was in my native language, haha!