My rating: 5 of 5 stars
It’s probably best to start of the review of this, the second book in the Sleeping Beauty Trilogy, with a section from my review of the first book:
“In order to read the Sleeping Beauty series, you mush set aside ALL of your preconceived notions about sex, sexuality, consensual sex– all if it should have no bearing on this story. This is not “your” story, it is the fictitious account of Sleeping Beauty and the Prince who awakened her (at least in the beginning, after which it becomes a story of multiple “slaves” and their many different views on BDSM.)
That above point is the key to not only reading the first book to completion, but the whole series, so I’ll say it again: SET ASIDE ALL OF YOUR PRECONCEIVED NOTIONS REGARDING SEX.”
While I enjoyed the first book, things really got interesting once I acclimated to the unique sexuality views prevalent in the series and the plot hooked into me with deeper purchase. At the end of book one, I immediately started reading this book, despite the fact that it was well past my bed time. For most of the first book, Beauty is safely (or not, depending on your point of view) ensconced in the Royal Palace where the BDSM themes have a royal bent. Until, that is, Beauty does something so inexplicable (and on purpose) to relegate herself to the nearby royal village to continue her servitude.
Thus starts this book, with Beauty cast into the wilds of the village, not knowing if the punishments that follow will be something that she can tolerate at all. More character viewpoints are introduced, and some of the originals (like the Prince) are never heard from again. I found the new players in the game enhanced the book and rounded out the full slave experience, and on the whole I think I liked this book the best out of all three.
I do feel that I should mention that underneath all the sexual sadism, like the layers of an onion, are the internal struggles among the cast, and their deep longing to understand and fully realize their true selves without the confines of societal norms and expectations. In that sense, these books are wholly literary, even if it’s hidden between the supple folds of what some may find to be perversion.