Sunday, 29 April 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

When literature student Anastasia Steele is drafted to interview the successful young entrepreneur Christian Grey for her campus magazine, she finds him attractive, enigmatic and intimidating. Convinced their meeting went badly, she tries to put Grey out of her mind - until he happens to turn up at the out-of-town hardware store where she works part-time.

The unworldly, innocent Ana is shocked to realize she wants this man, and when he warns her to keep her distance it only makes her more desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her - but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey's singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success – his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving adoptive family – Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a passionate, physical and daring affair, Ana learns more about her own dark desires, as well as the Christian Grey hidden away from public scrutiny.
What is it with trilogies and series? They just seem to be the "in" thing at the moment for authors now. I guess it's the most lucrative move you can do with the supposed flailing of the publishing industry.

Anyway, Fifty Shades of Grey is another trilogy that's making waves in the book world. I was hesitant to pick it up, after reading an article that E.L. James was fantasising about Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart while she was writing this. But seeing as I have a love-hate/guilty pleasure attitude towards Twilight, my curiosity won out in the end. Thankfully, I didn't see R-Patz and K-Stew (oh you clever gossip writers!) in my head while reading this book.

I'm not such a big fan of the writing itself. Some of the dialogues were unrealistic, in that they didn't sound like every day conversation. Ana's inner monologues sounded too British, not to mention far too mature, for a supposedly young American woman (i.e. does a typical 21 year-old American go around thinking "Oh my," excessively?). I think this was something E.L. James' editor should have picked up on immediately.

As for the story, I can understand why quite a few people would think it's depraved. This is not for the prudish. It's the story of two people who have very deep psychological issues, and are immensely attracted to each other. They want to try and have some semblance of a romantic relationship, despite Christian's dark view of things. Ana has her own issues as well, her self image quite warped, her decisions questionable.

Yes, there is lots of sex. The book would be considerably shorter without the sex. It possibly couldn't pass itself off as a trilogy without, if the next two are anything like this one. But I don't understand the hype that has surrounded the trilogy. BDSM is not a new topic, it goes as far back as ancient Rome, and surely this isn't the first time someone has written a romance novel about it?

In spite of the grammatical errors and the one spelling error I found (oh yes, I'm that nit-picky), I did find it an absorbing read. Probably because I personally haven't read anything about BDSM before. The complexity of Christian Grey was intriguing, Ana's dilemmas were agonising and at the same time understandable.

So, not bad for something that was originally a Twilight fanfiction? Oh, let's not go there. That's a whole other kettle of fish.

19 comments:

  1. Hahaha. A Twilight fanfiction. I am happy that it wasn't. Because I am one of those people who really want to read this trilogy :D

    Happy Sunday!
    Mariska

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  2. Thanks for visiting Mariska. I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I found that Fifty Shades was indeed originally a Twilight fanfic called Master of the Universe. Still worth a read through if you're curious enough, I guess. :)

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  3. Toni - I've been hesitant to read this and I'm glad that your wrote this review because it will save me the time. I know that a lot of people are enjoying these books, but it doesn't sound like it's for me.

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    1. Hi Amy, yeah it's definitely a guilty pleasure read. I felt like I was allowed it after powering through Wolf Hall. ^_^ I'm halfway through book 2 now in the trilogy and I feel like my brain has turned to mush though. Eeek!

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  4. Wow, I've seen this book everywhere at the moment! Ellen was talking about it the other day on her show as well. I like the sound of the plot, it kinda sounds like something I had as an idea for a book but apparently the sex scenes are a bit weird... there's been so many mixed reviews about it. I am curious to read it but the fact that the author had Bella and Edward in mind really puts me off. I'm so over Twilight!

    Great review though Toni and it's good to see you back! It's weird, when you're not around in blog world I miss you like as if we really are friends haha :)

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    1. By the way, I feel so stupid for asking this but what is BDSM?! Am I going to hang my head in shame for not knowing this...?

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    2. Hi Megan! Heehee, I'm one of those people who scoff at Twilight but would still go to see the movie... and most probably actually enjoy myself. Oh the shame. ^_^ though I could never re-read the books. Ugh.

      Yes, the sex scenes in the first book are a bit weird. I'm currently on the second book and I'm finding myself just skipping through all the sex scenes as they're becoming a tad repetitive and I just want to know what actually happens!

      Oh, and BDSM stands for Bondage, Discipline, Sadism and Masochism. I had to look it up myself because I couldn't remember what B and D were!

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    3. Aww, and oddly enough, I miss you too when I don't have time to sit down and read your posts! :)

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    4. Haha that's hilarious!! I think a book like that would annoy me... but yes, like everyone else I'm so curious for some reason. Maybe the BDSM is why the book is so popular. Not a lot of fiction would contain that sort of topic I'm guessing, unless it's erotica which is what this book sounds like! But what makes this one so famous?!

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    5. I certainly have no idea. There actually is not much bdsm in it. I've been told it pretty much reads like a Mills & Boon, or so I've been told, because I've never read a Mills & Boon. I've skipped through most of book two, I picked up book 3 but will actually be swapping it for something else as I can't be bothered to go on any longer. I still don't know why it's famous. *sigh*

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  5. Everyone and especially their mother is talking about this one! I've been curious to see what all the hype was about! Thanks for the review!

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    1. Hi Melissa! Yeah I really don't understand the hype about it. I just don't get it at all. Yeah sure it was an ok read if you're looking for a no-brainer romance and something a little different than the norm as it features girl meets boy, boy stalks girl, girl finds out boy is into whips and chains, girl is stunned but sticks around... *shrug*

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  6. These books are all over the blogosphere and then some and yes I'm one who couldn't resist the hype, I bought them all but ... yet to start LOL

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    1. Hi Teddyree, I think what actually pushed me to purchase the book was that it overtook our store's sales of The Hunger Games, which no other book has managed to do for quite a while. So I thought I'd give it a crack! Let me know what you think once you've read your copy! :)

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  7. I have heard so much about this series that I will probably pick up the first one soon just to see what all of the hype is about. I enjoyed finding out your thoughts on the subject. Very helpful!
    ~Jess

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    1. Thanks Jess, would love to know your thoughts on the book if you do end up reading it. It's crazy how many people want to read it, I even had a guy in his mid-30s wearing a business suit come in to get a copy for himself. Weird!

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  8. Great, balanced review of this one Toni. So much publicity and hype about it. I'm not sure I'll read it myself but I enjoyed your review. Lindsay x

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    1. thanks for that Lindsay! Yeah, I really don't know what the fuss is about with this one.

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  9. Nice work Toni, I've just finished reading it, and I have to say that you've been much kinder about it than I have! I couldn't stand it! :)

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