Oh the shame…

I seemed to have pushed this from my realm of consciousness until the other day when I was organizing my books and deciding which ones to sell. I saw this and had to post it here, because it is my secret shame that I not only read it, but own all three in the trilogy! I read this as a teen, as in my late teens, but my god, what the fuck. I mean, I am all up for a good erotic novel, but this one made me want to run screaming to a convent. I thought maybe it was because I wasn’t sexually mature enough to understand. I did reread it in college and yup, still didn’t do it for me. Even summarizing it may be NSFW, so I’ll put it under a cut.

So we all know Anne Rice is a huge perv, which I can totally appreciate. So she wrote this trilogy under the pen name A.N. Roquelaure, but everyone knew it was her, so what’s the point?

So I’ll do some sharing and let you know that domination, S &M, and humiliation totally don’t do it for me. So if that is what you are into, no judgment, it’s just something I will never really get or be into. So, maybe these books really “spoke” to those of you out there who are into that. So good for you. Freaks.

The plot is not to be believed. I am holding my head as I write it. For those of you that remember it to, you may need to fill in the holes. WHOA!  SEXUAL PUN!

So you all know the Sleeping Beauty story, thanks to Disney, right? Well, it’s only followed by the first three pages. So Beauty is Sleeping, and the Prince comes and finds her, and to break the spell, he rapes her until she wakes up. Yup folks, this is hot stuff. So they kind of lost me on page one.

Instead of being rewarded by marrying her, Beauty’s parents give her to the prince as his slave. Thanks Mom! So the Prince takes her and makes her march through the streets naked. I’m pretty sure they stop at a tavern, and the Price begins spanking her, and she cries and is humiliated. So, if you are into spanking, this is totally for you. Because the whole books are about spanking until their are welts on buttocks.

So they finally get to his castle, and…omg….this is just ridiculous. But so ridiculous it’s awesome. Apparently his castle is chock-full of naked prince and princesses, literally hundreds, who are the slaves of the court. And apparently, every prince and princess in the land has a commitment to serve as a slave for like a year or something. Wtf, Disney? You never showed that in your movie.

After that, about half the book are these excruciating (for me) scenes where the Prince trains Beauty into being a good and obedient slave and then half the book is them “consummating” their relationship in which Beauty is totally into being dominated. Yet she is so in love with the Prince and so wants to please him! Someone please hand this girl some Feminist 101 literature.

Somewhere in there Beauty learns about the “Bridal Path”  where the royal court dress up there slaves in glitter and ribbons, and whip them into running along the bridal path like a horse and it’s painful and humiliating but of course Beauty desires to do well and please her master because see? She’s turning into a good little obedient slave.

Beauty is subjected to a room of sexual tortures, and for god’s sake, please don’t make me describe that. I may die of shame.

Oh, but see, Anne is totally down with equal rights, because the men aren’t left behind here. Beauty’s prince has another male slave that he enjoys, er, “playing” with, so there’s something in there for everyone. There may or may not be something about a c*ck ring with a leash attached to it. Beauty has a secret tryst with this other prince slave, and he teaches her about the psychological secret to becoming a good and obedient slave, which is like “submit to the exquisite pain of being spanked” or something equally stupid.

Finally they are caught or do something wrong, I can’t remember (does it matter?) and they are shipped off to the village to be sold on the slave block to the common folk.

Good lord, it was so horrible- that I had to keep reading through all three novels. Please oh please do not make me even think about the second one in which the male slaves are used as “human ponies”. GAAAHHH!!!

Plus, Anne totally used dumb euphemisms and metaphors for body parts- please Anne, we’re all adults here. Just call it what it is. And me being the nerd I am, kept being distracted by the fact that no one ever went to the bathroom, and is it really that sanitary to have all those naked slaves all around? Clearly I was not Anne’s target audience for these.

Someone please save me from a lifetime of shame and say you’ve read this. It may seem that I’m a total prude by being horrified by this, but I may actually be more horrified by the terrible writing and the characters.

So I’m begging you. Please validate me and tell me some of you have read this or I will die of shame! That or I deserve a spanking.

55 thoughts on “Oh the shame…

  1. nichole says:

    ihatewheat – I will share in your shame. I read them too. I didn’t discover them until grad school. Sleeping Beauty being my all time favorite Disney movie (I own all versions in all formats), I bought the trilogy. I couldn’t even finish book 2. I have no idea what happened in book 3. I don’t even think I sold them, I think I threw them away, which for someone who has never thrown away a book since she was 15 is a huge deal.

  2. lawyer.ed says:

    Hahaha! I’ll fess up and admit that I read them. Oh, the horror! And you forgot the most ridiculous of them all: the third book, in which some crazy Arab trading ship (or something) comes and kidnaps them! And Beauty TEACHES A POOR MUTILATED WOMAN ABOUT PLEASURE! Oh, the horror. Oh, Anne Rice.

  3. ihatewheat says:

    Thank you all for sharing in the shame. Yea, the third one, they get whisked away to the Middle East, and one of the guys (Prince Laurent, I think) overcomes the captain of the Sheik guard (i.e. rapes him) and makes him his servant, and he is forever grateful to be a slave and is in love with the Prince. And Prince laurent forces him into threesomes with him and another slave prince. Cute.

    Oh, and Beauty’s time as a slave is up, and when they give her back her clothes, she REFUSES! She wants to continue to be a slave.

    Anne, you are fucked up.

  4. Amber Tan says:

    [Raising hand in shame]

    Your re-cap was perfect, ihatewheat, although I only read the first title in the trilogy. It was truly craptacular in every sense, but the pervy descriptions were off-the-hook boring. Seriously! How many times do we have to hear about Beauty’s lily-fair a$$ and how her cheeks were red from getting spanked? Or her flowing blonde locks covering her royal nudity or some such nonsense?

    IMO the worst part was Beauty’s parents who PRE-ARRANGED for the creepy Prince to kidnap, rape, and subject their daughter to a non-consensual S & M situation because they had also served as slaves in the same castle. They considered it part of her training as a princess! These nimrods must have attended the same Clueless Parenting class as Nalice.

    Eventually Beauty commits a minor infraction and displeases the Prince. She gets sent to the town to be sold but it’s all good ’cause she still manages to get it on with another male slave even though they’re both gagged, bound, and chained while riding in a tumbril (cart) to the auction block. WTF?

    Frankly I just couldn’t bring myself to read the other two books after such a lousy ending to the first. Suspending your disbelief isn’t enough to slog throught this dreck — you’ve got clobber it over the head a few times and chloroform it. 😉

    BTW, Rice used another pseudonym (Anne Rampling) to write ‘Exit to Eden’ in 1985 which was very similar to the Beauty trilogy. It was horribly unimaginative — right down to the detailed descriptions of the pony games, spankings, and canings. The story takes place on an exclusive private island where the guests can sign up to be a sub or dom. And of course the head dom who owns the place ends up falling for a guest who signs up to a be a sub. Vomit-inducing.

  5. Amber Tan says:

    Oy f—ing vey. Based on your descriptions of the 3rd book I am eternally grateful to have never read it.

    FTR, I am also glad that I’ve never purchased any book by Anne Rice and I never will. I mean, I knew she was out there but books like these just foster misoygnists’ nutty ideas that women like to be raped/ abused. 😦

  6. Smiley says:

    I read the first one and I think half of the second one. I was so dissappointed in these books. The image that has stayed with me is when a bunch of the slaves are hung from the ceiling in a way that their private parts are exposed and accessible for use by anyone who walks by them. WTH Anne Rice? That was when she lost me.

  7. evier says:

    Amber Tan – I didn’t realize Anne Rice/Anne Rampling wrote Exit to Eden. I saw the creepy movie with Rosie O’Donnell in it in high school. I’m pretty sure that was my first exposure to whips and the like. I was so confused.

    I have a book of fairy tales I got as a kid that has a much extended version of Sleeping Beauty. The Prince rapes her in her sleep, and she wakes up pregnant. She marries the Prince and his mother is an ogre so of course the queen wants to eat the children after they’re born (oh yeah, Beauty is pregnant with twins). That was heavy stuff! This is supposedly the “original” version. I have no idea if that’s true though.

  8. ihatewheat says:

    Ok, but let’s not hate on Anne Rice- The Vampire Lestat is a masterpiece. Sometimes she just wants to write this erotic crap and some publisher thought it would be a good idea to release it.

    Oh yea, on the slave wagon, she finds the much taller prince and “impales” herself on his you know what. That’s totally not an erotic adverb.

  9. Jen S says:

    Kinda makes you approach her new Christ novels warily and with thick, heavy gloves on…

    I read the middle one of these, the one where she gets sold to the tavern–OMG. I wonder what being Anne Rice’s husband is like.

  10. Lindsay C. says:

    When i was in my teens, my dad picked up a copy of Interview with the Vampire for a flight, and wound up sleeping on the plane anyway. He tried to read it later and found it rather tedious, but he figured i might like it. I was all over that like whoa. So naturally, i had to read everything else i could find by her.

    In those days, i was in the habit of buying books by the half-dozen. One day i picked up all three of the books in this series. It was… Very Much Not What I Expected. I remember liking parts (*ahem* not like that) of them, but overall they weren’t much better than the crap you’d find on usenet. If you were into that kind of thing, anyway.

  11. Amber Tan says:

    Yeah, evier — That movie was bizarre to say the least. And the original ‘Sleeping Beauty’ was pretty gruesome. Then again, BITD, all of the original fairy tales were intended to scare children into good behavior and no concept of ‘childhood’ existed at the time. Kids were regarded as smaller-sized adults so violence and sex was hunky-dory. Which kinda makes me feel a tiny bit better about inadvertently letting a friend’s teenage daughter watch part of ‘Jackass’. I swear I did not intend to let her see Steve O. do…well, I won’t say what he did but it was uber-gross. That’s the last time I go to let the dogs out and leave a remote control in the hands of a 14 year old. Thankfully, she didn’t get into my SO’s Anne Rice collection. Maybe on her next visit… 😉

    OK, ihatewheat, I’ll grant Rice props for The Vampire Lestat although I wouldn’t consider it Great Literature IYKWIM. 😉

  12. Cyanne says:

    These sound so awesomely awful that I kind of want to read them. I was bored to tears by IWTV but at least I could probably laugh at this.

    Anita Blake vampire novels – anyone? So bad they’re awesome.

  13. calixti says:

    I baby-sat for this woman, a friend of my dad’s, when I was thirteen. She was a bartender during the summer, so I’d stay late baby-sitting her two young daughters. She knew I’m not a fan of television, love fantasy, love fairy tales, and have completely uncensored reading, so she handed me the trilogy. When I was thirteen. I read all three books in one night, but I was terrified of sex for most of high school.

  14. ihatewheat says:

    OMG! Thirteen? You must have been terrified of sex.

    The more I talk about this, the more I am remembering about these books. When they got to the Village, Beauty was sold to some gruff swordsman guy, who would totally offer up beauty for some gang action for his friends. And she was totally into it.

  15. Sarah C. says:

    I skimmed the first one, standing up in a used bookstore, at thirteen, terrified that my parents would ask what I was reading. I think I was most horrified by a bathtub tryst with the prince’s mother. I also remember our heroine being impaled (yes, so not an erotic word) on a stone phallus. Please tell me I am imagining these things. No, wait, if I am imagining them that means I am a pervert.

    For people who want a non-pornographic riff on Sleeping Beauty, I recommend Robin McKinley’s Spindle’s End.

  16. rm says:

    Never read these but I did try to listen to an audiobook of the first one. I just couldn’t… subject matter aside, the reader sounded exactly like Ian Holm playing Bilbo Baggins. Please, just try to imagine *this* story told in *that* voice.

    Anyway, I hesitate to say this because I am a long time reader but first time commenter, but I am trusting that the “freaks” comment was a joke, in your usual wonderful sarcastic humor? This book didn’t do much for me erotically but I don’t think that S&M is that deviant. Forgive me if I’m being over sensitive — I just cringe a bit whenever sexuality involving consenting adults is criticized. (And yes, I know that Beauty is a slave — but my take on it is that it’s a fantasy, much in the way that having a rape fantasy doesn’t mean that one should be raped. Totally different beasts.)

  17. Lacey says:

    Ugg, I remember these books. Read them all when I was probably 15? No more then 16. They were horrible. To me, they all read like her personal fantasies that she tried to write down and make erotic for the masses. And she failed.

    I have no problem with S&M, but these books weren’t erotic in any sense of the word. Getting past the rather trite fantasies, the writing was atrocious.

  18. Malika.. says:

    Yep, read the first one too! But as i’m not into SM etc, i didn’t find it particularly exciting. The Anne Rice books were totally addictictive, esp. Cry to Heaven, but her erotic novels are suprisingly bad. They make the Black Lace novels look like the story of O

  19. bookslide says:

    I was fourteen or fifteen when I got them, because I looooved Belinda. Then someone at school defaced one so I had to buy another.

    I have no idea what happened to them, but that’s probably for the best. OMG SEX!!!! doesn’t have the same secret thrill anymore now that I’m a grown-up.

  20. Amber Tan says:

    “Although this book should be an insult to those into S&M.

    Having known and interacted with many S & M proponents, I think they would be offended. And rightly so IMO.

    For the uninitiated, the cardinal rules of the S& M/ B & D lifestyle requires that all play be between consensual adults and that a safe word known to all parties is agree upon in advance. If the dom attempts an activity that is too intense or outside of the sub’s stated comfort zone, the sub can invoke the word and all play stops immediately.

    Participants tend to engage in conversation to outline preferences, etc. before any play commences. Most dom/ sub relationships are established over a period of time in which people get to know each other. I’ve never met a lifestyle sub who would agree to granting a random stranger complete control over him/ her while in such a vulnerable position (i.e. possibly naked and/ or tied up while gagged).

    Now I’m off to polish my whips and canes! 😉

  21. Fraser says:

    Anne Rice suffers from the problem of a number of hugely successful authors: She’s enough of a namebrand that everything she wrote has some visibility, where a more modest success would have everything but the good stuff go out of print.

    I don’t find S&M appealing but I do like Dana Delany so Exit to Eden worked for me onscreen.

  22. maybeimamazed02 says:

    OMG, OMG, OMG. My friend loaned me a copy of this when I was 16. I read the first two or three chapters, was really grossed out, and put it away.

    Before I could return it, however, my MOM found it and I totally got in trouble (keep in mind that a) I come from a very Catholic family, and b) I’d been dating a guy for several months, so the parentals were paranoid enough about me having sex as it was).

    Now that I’m an adult, I’ll say that I thought Secretary was a great movie, and I have no problem with…um…kinkiness between consenting adults. Good erotic writing is hot. Hell, any good writing about sex or fooling around is hot. This, however, is NOT good erotic writing. Yuck.

  23. paige says:

    I’ve read the trilogy and I have to admit that I got really tired of reading about spankings. I’m not personally into BDSM but I can appreciate it as part of a good erotic story; however the constant spankings and paddlings and whatnot got old…I think I became more interested by the third book when they just started having regular sex.

  24. 1979semifinalist says:

    Yup. These got me too. I not only read all of these but also still own all three. My only defense is that they are up on a shelf somewhere high and I’d almost forgotten I owned them until reading this post (although maybe I’m pretending to forget since they somehow got moved with me to NYC from LA and that was only four years ago…no excuse forr that).

    I’m not super into the whole S&M thing – though it sounds like it bothers me less than others. I do remember (I must have been a little older than you ihatewheat – but not much) being pretty horrified by the bad writing and the rampant anti-feminist themes…but it was so hard to get my hands on any kind of erotica it seemed like back then (pre-rampant interwebs!) …that this just seemed like decadent fun.

    Thanks to you I’m now going to have to drag them out and re-examine them. Thanks a lot.

    Also – you didn’t say…did they go into the “for sale” pile?

  25. Stacey says:

    Was there a scene in one of these involving milk across female genitals and a cat that didn’t know personal boundaries? Or did I get that lovely piece of imagery from another erortica book I must’ve read in my teen years?

  26. Tannaqui says:

    Gees, what is it with re-imagining fairy tales and pervs?

    Sexy, consenting stuff between adults, fine. But some …..other stuff :/

    I’m reading Wicked by Gregory Maguire at the moment, and enjoying it, but the beastiality scene threw me for a loop. Was sooo not expecting it…

    I guess The Wizard of Oz movie I watched 1000 times as a kid was still operating on some level, in my mind.

  27. Kaitlin/Bridget Locke says:

    *snicker* Oh, man, I’d totally forgotten about these books until reading this.

    The “pearls” of wisdom imparted in book 1 (my favorite…and I’m being completely sarcastic here) is when she goes to the “school” or whatever it was and witnesses all of the other p&p’s basically being tortured. She’s getting turned on, but can’t touch herself because of that weird concoction that’s covering her clit. All kinds of whoa on that one.

    Book 2 was the cat and the cream. ugh! I just threw up a little.

    Book 3 was her basically fisting that poor girl into orgasm. *rolls eyes* And at the very end when her true prince comes for her and puts that stuff on her girly bits that basically burns until he releases her. Oh yeah, that’s really going to make me want you.

    *shakes head* It’s amazing I’m even willing to read erotica after that debacle. Scary thought.

  28. SP says:

    These were recommended to me by co workers when I was 26. I read them and found them rather boring – even the “erotic” parts. You would think the woman who wrote the Vampire Chronicles could be more creative than repetitive spanking.

  29. Robyn says:

    Confession time – I found one of these books (I think it was the second one) in my mom’s room when I was about 13. Read it and I was really confused. I just couldn’t wrap my head around the human pony thing. But I’m happy to say it didn’t have a long term effect on my sex life. Now, I may have a small chamber off my bedroom where I hide my personal slaves, but I’m sure that has nothing to do, whatsoever with reading this book at such a young and impressionable age.

  30. maybeimamazed02 says:

    Book recommendation: if anyone’s into Sleeping Beauty and dance books, I recommend The Sleeping Beauty by Adrienne Sharp (the hardcover edition is titled First Love). Two dancers in 1980’s NYC who fall in love, one of whom basically becomes George Balanchine’s muse as he re-imagines The Sleeping Beauty ballet. Great story, interesting characters, and the sex scenes are actually pretty hot (no clit covers, curious cats, or cock rings to be found).

  31. Jade Wu's Toe Shoe says:

    Jen S – her husband is deceased, but he was also a writer. Some of his poetry is utilized in one of the installments of the Vampire Chronicles (not within the story, but leading into a chapter or two.)

  32. Sue says:

    I’m into S&M (or as we tend to call it, BDSM), and it sounds pretty awful. Not offensive, just… pretty cheesy. But then, fantasty worlds of princesses and slaves have never done it for me as erotica or even fluffy reading.

    AmberTan wrote:
    “For the uninitiated, the cardinal rules of the S& M/ B & D lifestyle requires that all play be between consensual adults and that a safe word known to all parties is agree upon in advance. If the dom attempts an activity that is too intense or outside of the sub’s stated comfort zone, the sub can invoke the word and all play stops immediately. ”

    that’s exactly true, AmberTan, and pretty much everyone I know plays that way. However, a lot of people in the BDSM community have “nonconsensual” fantasies about stuff like rape or unwilling slavery, like what it sounds like is in this book. And I have no problem with that as erotic literature, as long as it stays there.

  33. Amber Tan says:

    “if anyone’s into Sleeping Beauty and dance books, I recommend The Sleeping Beauty by Adrienne Sharp”

    Hee! That’s probably just about everyone here at the Dairi Burger, maybeimamzed02. Thanks for the recommendation! 🙂

    “…a lot of people in the BDSM community have “nonconsensual” fantasies about stuff like rape or unwilling slavery, like what it sounds like is in this book. And I have no problem with that as erotic literature, as long as it stays there.”

    Oh, of course, Sue! I didn’t mean to imply that people in the lifestyle didn’t have rape fantasies — I just wanted to reassure those unfamiliar with BDSM that actual real rape isn’t considered acceptable by the community. As you (and a couple of other posters) have correctly pointed out, rape fantasies and actual rape are worlds apart.

    And I really enjoy good erotic literature is great stuff and will read just about anything . Unfortunately, the writing in this trilogy was too dull and repetitive to keep my attention.

  34. Ellen K. says:

    Sounds like a lot of 1970s-80s romance novels, esp. those by Bertrice Small: rape, incest, homophobia, and a different example of misogyny on every page!

  35. RB says:

    These actually got banned at the main library in my city back when I was in middle or high school.

    However, at the affluent suburban library where I worked they were constantly circulating. I shelved them at least once a month.

    I can’t believe I never read a page or two while working there. Although clearly it was for the best, I mean 15? Good lord. Plus all that stuff with her parents sounds too close to how real-life sexual abuse gets passed down through the generations. Ick.

  36. Lemur says:

    Well, I guess I figured out why the WebWasher at work has been blocking this site. These books sound like utter trash, which makes me sad as I loved Anne Rice when I was younger. Her “Mayfair Witches” trilogy is so under-rated and overlooked.

  37. Heidi says:

    I’ve never even heard of this book until now. From how you’ve described it, I can hardly believe it was for YOUNG adults. Sounds like ADULT XXX content to me! And to think my parents used to think Sweet Valley High and Sweet Dreams romance novels were smut! LOL

  38. RollingStone says:

    Tannaqui – You should see the musical, if you haven’t already. It’s very tame. Needless to say, they cut that scene out. 🙂

  39. Susanna says:

    My problem with the book is that this provides an unrealistic idea of what happens in a bdsm Dom/sub relationship .

    And I just know some 21 year old wanna-be”Master” is going to try to use parts as a how-to .

  40. Susanna says:

    I remember liking these books as a teen,but I can’t remember most of the scenes.
    Now that I have a broader basis of comparision for eros I should read these again,and see what I think of them eleven years later.
    I really hate getting spanked,so that can’t be why I liked them.
    Being humiliated and used by strangers of both sexes is far from erotic.

    Somehow I think Anne was going for a rape fantasy and took things a little too literally ,literary-wise;-)

  41. IWantYourSass says:

    These were passed around my freshman year in high school. I remember having a friend lend me her (library copy) in computer class, and I was so afraid of getting caught with it.

    Then at home, I would only read it locked in the bathroom. And my family wasn’t even that strict.

    I found a used copy of this a year or so ago, and picked it up because I was curious. Ridiculous. Any titillation I felt as a teen (probably because the subject matter was more taboo at the time, and I was young) went out the window. It just offended me. Completely.

  42. Dagny says:

    In defence of the trilogy I have to say that you need to be into BDSM to like BDSM erotica. Someone who is completely not into that stuff reading this, well it would be like me reading some furry erotica and expecting any reaction other than, “Oh God, this is so weird.”
    And the author did say that she wanted to write an erotic book where you didn’t have to mark out the hot pages or something, which is why the characters weren’t really developed. As someone who is into that stuff, I quite liked them.
    Except the typos. I kept finding typos and ohmigod nothing bugs me worse when reading a novel than misspellings.

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