Beauty by Sarah Pinborough takes the Sleeping Beauty mythos and brings the insanity. This isn’t your Anne Rice kind of Beauty tale. This is a bloody, screwed up version of events.
A handsome prince is sent out by his parents to go on a quest before he becomes too complacent. They worry if he spends too much time in the castle he will end up overweight and a terrible king. He is accompanied by a local Huntsman’s son and a beautiful woman named Petra. Petra lives in the woods with her grandmother and always wears a beautiful red cloak. On a journey, the prince discovers a castle overgrown in the forest. After waking one of the sleeping inhabitants, a beautiful and innocent princess, the prince finds himself madly in love. The entire castle reawakens, but with a warning. Their precious princess was asleep for a reason and had almost died from a curse. The castle quietly tries to avoid the princess, but the Huntsman quickly learns that the dungeon full of torture equipment was getting used far more often than the princess lets on. Due to an odd parentage, the princess often goes through a transformation where she goes from innocent beauty to murderous seductress. The Huntsman and Petra must free the prince, as well as uncover the mystery of the beautiful princess, and hopefully end the curse in the process.
As with all of Sarah Pinborough’s books, the subject matter is familiar but changed just enough from our concept of the fairytale as to disturb and seduce the reader. The characters do not shy away from sexual encounters and the book goes into intricate detail regarding a rather violent orgy held by the alternate side of our beautiful princess. While this is not the strongest of her books in the series (Poison is incredible) Beauty still manages a twisted tale that was great fun to read for those of us with twisted minds.
Beauty by Sarah Pinbourough is now available. Look for it on Amazon or on Powell’s