I can’t help comment/review this book from the perspective of someone who has read it before and has recently read it again.
As a whole I like to think of the trilogy like a flower. The first novel is the bud and then by the time you get to the end of the third novel it’s in full bloom.
Claiming starts of with innocent little Beauty being “awakened” by the Prince. I like how innocent Beauty is because as the reader you’re innocent to this new world she is introduced to as well, this being a fairy tale after all, and you get to warm up to it like she does as if this is the setting stage for what is to come. By the end of it Beauty is still innocent but she’s really only touched the surface and so has the book so the ending isn’t really all that surprising and I think the perfect prelude to the next one.
I highly recommend this for anyone into the SM genre or if you are an erotic lit reader but want some shock value then by all means read it. Mind you, if you’re narrow minded forget about it because the “shocks” (when I say shocks I mean for vanilla people) start right from the beginning and become more intense, imaginative and descriptive as Rice delves further into the psychological factors of it.