I will say this isn’t so much of a review as it is a… something else. Something that’s not a review. I went to a book signing a week ago with Jennifer Weiner. During the Q & A portion Ms. Weiner was asked if she’d read the Fifty Shades series and what she thought. Aside from a few amusing comments about what annoyed her about the characters. Things that annoyed all of us (See Brooke’s reviews here, here and here). She said something very poignant. I won’t put quotes because I don’t remember word for word, but essentially – there’s nothing wrong with fan fiction and it has it’s place. However, it crosses a line when you ask people to pay for crappy writing. And it’s so true.
In the midst of the Fifty Shades discussion she also said if you wanted some well done smut – BDSM done right – to read Anne Rice’s Sleeping Beauty series. Now, I am no fan of BDSM, in general, and do not have a proclivity towards “smut”, but I was curious as to what “well done smut” looks like.
As it turns out, it looks a lot like Fifty Shades. But with some effort put forth and an emphasis on good writing. However, while E.L. James got her inspiration from Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight characters, she got their mannerisms in the bedroom directly from Anne Rice’s Sleeping Beauty.
A prince finally makes it through the brambles and traps and after stripping down Beauty – of course he does – awakens her (and the whole kingdom) with a kiss – and by kiss I mean bordering on necrophilia coitus. In return for his saving of the realm, Beauty is taken into servitude of the kinky variety where she is to stay for a period of time. It is unknown how long. He DID awaken the whole kingdom and save them all so I’m guessing…. a while. But, oh my gosh, with the complete rip-off of these characters motions. Come on E.L., for real.
The incessant lip-biting? It’s in there. The looking up through one’s eyelashes? It’s in there. (Something that’s near impossible to do, just for the record). The state of perpetual turned on-ness? Which REALLY? Come on. If someone beats me with a belt, they’re not going to leave the room still possessing all their body parts… but yes, it’s in there. I mean I know that’s what BDSM is, however, not usually for the unwitting innocent. Oh… and the Sleeping Beauty book? Another book with one girl and more than one man. So far we’re up to 3. And that’s just book one. They all love Beauty – Anastasia – Bella…. whatever.
What it comes down to is E.J. James ripped off more than just characters from another author. Aside from the actual story line…. one that I do prefer in the Fifty Shades series as opposed to Sleeping Beauty – the latter is MUCH better done. Because it was written by an author. Fancy that, E.L.! And you can take my criticisms all the way to the bank… while I skulk off to my insurance job tomorrow to do the same stuff I do every day. But at least my integrity is in tact! Most days…
Now I just have to decide if I’m reading the other two Sleeping Beauty books….