Beauty’s Release (Review)

Book cover for "Beauty's Release" by Anne Rice.Title: Beauty’s Release

Author: Anne Rice (as A.N. Roquelaure)

Publication Year: 2012 (originally published in 1985)

Pages: 238

Genre: Fiction, Fairy Tale, Erotica

Source: E-book purchased from the Apple store; I already own a paper copy back home in Canada

From the cover:

In the final volume of Anne Rice’s deliciously tantalizing erotic trilogy, Beauty’s adventures on the dark side of sexuality make her the bound captive of an Eastern Sultan and a prisoner in the exotic confines of the harem. As this voluptuous adult fairy tale moves toward conclusion, all Beauty’s encounters with the myriad variations of sexual fantasy are presented in a sensuous, rich prose that intensifies this exquisite rendition of Love’s secret world, and makes the Beauty series and incomparable study of erotica. In it, Anne Rice, writing as A.N. Roquelaure, makes the forbidden side of passion a doorway into the hidden regions of the psyche and the heart.

(And now, we come to the last book in the Beauty series – coming after both The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty and Beauty’s Punishment.)

Beauty’s Release starts out with a change in location yet again. This time, however, it’s to an entirely different area of the world, and this part of the world is inherited by … Arabs!

Oh boy, the things I could say about this. Eroticization of the Other, for starters? Depiction of the “harems” of the Middle East in highly sexualized ways? Oh, and a rather disturbing section of the book where it basically implies that all women in the Middle East have been mutilated so that they can only act as sex toys, never as willing participants capable of pleasure?

So many things wrong with this book, now that I’m older, wiser, and know more about these things.

In terms of the sex – well, it’s much of the same. Except with the added layer of not being able to talk, because apparently the Arabs want to believe that their pleasure slaves from the Land of White People are beneath them, savage beings who don’t even know how to verbally communicate and are only good for One Thing.

Basically, I’d lost almost all my respect for this series by the time I finished re-reading it. It still ranks higher up there than most pornography – I’d still class it as “erotica”, and at least fairly well-written erotica at that – but there’s just too many problematic bits for me to properly enjoy it like I did the first time I read them.

If you’ve managed to get through the first two of the books, and particularly if you enjoyed them, finish off with reading Beauty’s Release. But otherwise, just leave well enough alone and find something else to read.


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