Disclaimer: I read this book on a dare. I'm not a fan of pure erotica and I'm no expert in BDSM, so it was pretty much obvious from the start that I wouldn't enjoy this read. That's why I'm not rating this book, as it wouldn't be fair to lower its average rating "on purpose" - not that I think one (mine) rating would cause such "damage", but anyway...
So, how should I start this
After her century-long slumber, the Sleeping Beauty opened her eyes at the kiss of the Prince, to find her garments stripped away and her heart as well as her body under the rule of her deliverer. At once, Beauty was claimed as the Prince's naked pleasure slave to be taken to his Kingdom.
With the grateful consent of her parents, and dazed with desire for the Prince, Beauty was then brought to the Court of Queen Eleanor, the Prince's mother, to serve as one of hundreds of naked Princes and Princesses, all playthings of the Court until such time as they should be rewarded and sent home to their Kingdoms.
Dazzled by the rigors of the Training Hall, the Hall of Punishments, the ordeal of the Bridle Path, and her own mounting passion to please, Beauty remained the undisputed favorite of the Prince and the delight of her sometime Mistress, the lovely young Lady Juliana.
Yet she could not ignore her secret and forbidden infatuation with the Queen's exquisite slave, Prince Alexi, and finally the disobedient slave, Prince Tristan.
After glimpsing Prince Tristan among the disgraced of the castle, Beauty, in a moment of seemingly inexplicable rebellion, brings upon herself the very same punishment destined for Tristan: to be sent away from the voluptuous Court to the degradation of harsh labor in the nearby village.
That doesn't sound too bad, does it? Well, if you think so, just read my status updates to get a "tastier" insight into the extremely kinky, painful and humiliating sex antics Beauty and the other love slaves go through over the course of this book. I gasped, I frowned, I cringed and I gagged - oh boy! - but I also rolled my eyeballs and laughed hysterically at what was supposed to be erotic and thrilling. I "blame" Ms. Rice's juvenile writing for that: it was wordy and redundant, the story didn't flow effortlessly and all characters were one-dimensional and unlikable - in summary, this book became downright boring after the initial shock provided in the 1st chapters. I had to drink myself into almost oblivion to finish this read.
Now, how can an erotic story be boring? One word: repetition. Every other page, there was someone being spanked. Beauty and any other (un)fortunate love slave in sight got spanked for everything, over and over again. Oh, you bad girl, you need to be punished... Spanked! Very good, my girl... Spanked! I'm not amused. Spanked! You're so exquisitely beautiful!... Spanked! Are those tears of joy I see running down your face?... Spanked! I love you so much!... Spanked! Spanked! Spanked! Gaaaaah!
All things considered, I can't say I hated this book. I was irritated and coudn't wait to be done with it, but that wasn't out of utter disgust. It was out of sheer boredom. Even though this book is definitely out of my comfort zone, it could have kept my interested if Ms. Rice had filled its pages with all sorts of kinky stuff. Like I said above, I'm not familiar with the BDSM scenario and I could have been easily thrilled (in a good or bad way, it doesn't matter) by whatever "novelty" she wrote. Alas, all the excitment died after the 1st chapters and I didn't "learn" anything new... Disappointing!
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