Monday, November 3, 2014

Review of "Porked" and "Rumpled", Erotic Fairy Tales by Madeleine Shade

These gripping, intensely erotic retellings of familiar fairy tales are vividly conceived, expertly executed, and make for some of the most thoroughly entertaining light reading published in recent memory. Madeleine Shade brings impressive erudition and deep psychological insight to her seductively ingenious craft, all the while remaining accessibly down-to-earth and mind-blowingly steamy—in itself, a feat akin to magic!

A self-described “passionate collector of fairy tales”, Shade has done extensive research into the origins and literary lineage of these stories, their unique cultural significance and revered status as collective archetypes and mythic icons. She has thoroughly mined each one for its unique pscyho-erotic potential, further refining them with a frank contemporary sensibility. These are not the bowdlerized bedtime stories of Andrew Lang or Joseph Jacobs (though the lovely covers do pay homage to Lang’s blue  and green fairy books, and several Nineteenth-century retellings of each tale are thoughtfully included as appendices in both e-books); Shade’s princesses and fae folk are all grown up and seething with grownup passions, portrayed with near-palpable intensity.

Porked, Shade’s twist on The Three Little Pigs amuses on many levels. When the nefarious painter Raul Villalobos (“The Wolf”) accepts a portrait commission from voluptuous Deidre, mysterious heiress and matron of a small community of artists in the Deep South, he believes himself to have stumbled into a garden of earthly delights, yet, ultimately, his fate may be more like the hapless huntsman intruding on the private revels of the goddess and her companions. Beyond its deliciously compelling story-line, Porked is a puissant exploration of issues of self-perception, body image, and sexual ethics.

Rumpled is a much simpler story, but, in its way, no less fascinating. Here Rumpelstiltskin is a member of fae royalty, deceived and imprisoned by the human woman he once helped to win the hand of the king. Reduced to the form of a hideous dwarf, Rumpelstiltskin kidnaps the princess who was once promised him in exchange for his labors, “feeding” on the lovely girl in an endeavor to restore his own once-considerable beauty. His plan of revenge is put into motion with exquisite cruelty, and yet, as he is gradually restored to his former self, so too do the memories of nobler aspirations return, culminating in an orgasmically explosive happily ever after.  Rumpled offers readers a rare and tantalizing glimpse into the world of erotic lactation, still one of the most obscure, taboo-shrouded subgenre niches in all erotic writing, here illuminated with surprising taste and sensitivity.   

Shade has expertly turned these once-simple stories into something resembling the cornerstone of a vast novelistic edifice; a new and exciting erotic-fantasy “verse”, familiar, yet uniquely her own. A few of the characters from Porked also show up in Rumpled, and, should the series expand (may it be soon!) readers should expect to see considerably more delightful literary “cross-pollination” with diverse characters from the various tales crossing paths with the same familiar ease of the dramatis personae in a Dickens’ novel. I, for one, can hardly wait!

Enthusiastically recommended.

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