Tuesday 17 April 2012

Review: Fifty Shades of Grey - E.L. James

Romantic, liberating and totally addictive, this is a novel that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you for ever.

When literature student Anastasia Steele interviews successful entrepreneur Christian Grey, she finds him very attractive and deeply intimidating. Convinced that their meeting went badly, she tries to put him out of her mind – until he turns up at the store where she works part-time, and invites her out.Unworldly and innocent, Ana is shocked to find she wants this man. And, when he warns her to keep her distance, it only makes her want him more.But Grey is tormented by inner demons, and consumed by the need to control. As they embark on a passionate love affair, Ana discovers more about her own desires, as well as the dark secrets Grey keeps hidden away from public view . . .

Fifty Shades Series:
Fifty Shades of Grey
Fifty Shades Darker
Fifty Shades Freed

Visit E.L. James' website for more information

I have spent the last 3 days trying to get my thoughts straight about this book and I'm still struggling so I fear that this may end up being more of a rambling discussion than an actual review - hopefully you'll bear with me though. I have to admit that I had reservations about Fifty Shades of Grey before I even picked it up, everything I'd heard about it left me with the impression that I would either completely love it or absolutely hate it and I just couldn't tell which way it would go.

For the few people that haven't heard of this book Fifty Shades of Grey was originally posted online as free Twilight fan fiction under the name Masters of the Universe. I understand there are some minor differences between the free story and the version that is now on sale but I can't compare the two as I have only read it in it's latest incarnation. I have to admit that I was irritated by the similarities with Twilight and I think I would have liked the story a lot more if I hadn't constantly been comparing the characters to Bella and Edward (we also see the author's version of Jacob along with some of the Cullens). Now this may be based on the characters from Twilight but the story itself is definitely adult in nature and not one I would recommend for anyone who is under age! There are no vampires in sight but the story contains a lot of sex along with BDSM elements so isn't going to be to everyone's taste.

As anyone who read my status updates on Goodreads will already know for the first half of the book my feelings were pretty negative - I could write a list as long of my arm about things that I didn't like. The writing could have been so much better if some of the constantly repeated phrases had been deleted and I was sick to death of hearing about Ana biting her lip and the way Christian's trousers hung off his hips. I was also frustrated by the way Ana changed from being ridiculously innocent to a complete sex goddess after just one night with Christian because it was completely unrealistic. While we're talking of unrealistic Christian has the stamina of multiple duracell bunnies (if only all men were like that *sigh* lol) and if all women orgasmed as easily and often as Ana does then I doubt we'd ever leave the house! The sheer number of things that irritated me should have been more than enough to make me give up on the book but for some reason Fifty Shades of Grey is just so compelling I couldn't put it down.

Ana is 21 and just about to graduate from college but in my opinion she comes across as much younger, particularly at the beginning of the book. I couldn't stand the constant arguments she had with her subconscious and her inner goddess (yes she really does have not one but three distinct personalities in her head and they all frequently talk to each other!) so I wanted to scream every time they cropped up. She meets Christian when she stands in for her roommate to interview him for the student newspaper and the fact that she is so shy and innocent leads him to think she will be the perfect submissive. Ana may not be my favourite fictional heroine (in fact she is way down on the list) but I was pleased that she isn't quite the doormat that she first appears to be. She gives into more of Christian's demands than I would have done but she also holds her ground about the things that are really important to her. I enjoyed seeing her banter with him and I loved the email exchanges between the couple.

Christian is all the things that should send a woman running for the hills. Despite the fact that he is a rich and successful business man he is also a domineering control freak with some major stalker tendencies going on. He describes himself as fifty shades of fucked-up and that phrase fits him perfectly. Not exactly my idea of a dream man so you can imagine my surprise when I realised that I've actually become more than a little obsessed with him. Like a lot of women I have a bit of an obsession with bad boys - I really don't know why we always have that compulsion to fix people but Christian is an ideal candidate. He shows just enough vulnerability to make you feel that Ana can help him and to make you believe that he does genuinely care for her. We still don't know the full details of his past but we know enough to understand how he ended up the way he is and for our hearts to break for the little boy he could have been. I didn't want to fall for Christian but I just couldn't help myself!

Although I read erotic books I've read hardly any that contain BDSM elements so that was something I was a bit unsure of when I first picked up the book. I have to admit that the idea of Christian's playroom scared the crap out of me when we saw it for the first time but that side of the story isn't as heavy as I expected it to be and wasn't enough to make me uncomfortable. The relationship is incredibly hot and the vanilla sessions show real tenderness and a softer side to Christian that I really liked.

I'm not quite sure how E.L. James did it but despite the problems I had with Fifty Shades of Grey she has still created a story that I have become obsessed with. By the second half of the book you'd have had to pry my kindle from my cold dead hands to get me to stop reading and I haven't stopped thinking about the characters since I finished it. My fingers were literally twitching to press the buy button for the rest of the trilogy and if it wasn't for the fact that I have other books that I promised to read first I would have devoured all three books one after the other. I have a feeling that this whole series is one that is going to stay with me for a long time to come.

Source: Purchased

Other reviews of this book:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Paperback / Kindle:

Consider me a full blown member of the Christian Grey fan club!


  1. I saw this yesterday at WalMart -- set up alongside all the YA books like it was one of them. O.O I stood there thinking, "Wait, isn't that the BDSM book I heard about on the net?"

    I wonder if the poor hapless people at my local WalMart know what is lurking on their book table in their YA section? That's just a little creepy.

    That being said, I am intrigued and I may have to grab a copy and check it out while getting one is that easy.

  2. Sarah, that is seriously the most entertaining review I have read in a long time. It is so funny. I can't wait to get my copy now.

  3. I may have to buy this for the old Kobo. Lol. I think my summer holiday will be much better for it. Also this review was the funniest thing. Ever

  4. @ Kathy - I'm pretty shocked that this is shelved anywhere near the YA books because although it started as Twilight fan fiction it is definitley ADULT lol.

    It's shocking how this has spread like wildfire though, I keep seeing it everywhere & it seems like everyone I know is talking about it. You'll have to let me know what you think of it if you do end up reading it!

    @ Viv - I'm so glad you liked my review Viv & I'm dying to see what you think of the book! You have to give me constant updates while you're reading it!

    @ Laura - I can't wait to see what you think of this one too Laura - I literally want everyone to read this book so I can discuss it with them! I'm glad my review made you smile :o)

  5. What a fab review, I agree with every word!! What has surprised me most is that when I was reading the book, I was urging Ana throughout to leave him - he's too demanding of you, he gives you no space, no-one should ever dictate to you what you can eat/wear, how can he want to hurt you if he cares for you etc etc - but since finishing the book, I miss his character dreadfully and too have become slightly obsessed. V weird. Can't wait for the next book (in which I also hope she gets a chance to hit him back!).

  6. 'My fingers were literally twitching'
    ---->twitchy palm lol!

    I agree with everything you said. I have to say their first two meetings were so great.

  7. I'm really intrigued by this book!

  8. @ Anonymous 1 - I'm so glad I'm not the only one who felt like that! I should (and was) horrified by some of Christian's actions but I couldn't get enough of him. I still don't know why! I have read the rest of the trilogy now and I have the same feelings about all three books but I absolutely love the character development Christian goes through & he becomes even more irresistible! I hope you enjoy the rest of the series :o)

    @ Anonymous 2 - hehehe I'm glad someone picked up on my reference to the twitchy palms! :o)

    I loved their first meetings and in case you haven't read it yet at the end of the third book you get to see the interview & the encounter at the hardware store from Christian's point of view which was even better. I have to admit that I wanted to start reading book 1 again but would love to see the whole series written from Christian's point of view!

    @ Lily - thanks, I'm glad you like it :o)

    @ Hollie - it is so different to my usual read but I have to admit to being addicted! If you do try it you'll have to let me know what you think of it!

  9. I started reading this book 4 days ago and am on the third novel now, your review of the book is brilliant! I was starting to think I was a bit weird because I have totally fallen in love with Christian! but seeing his character change from being a dominant stalker to this gorgeous, romantic man made me never to put the book down! I agree with you about the authors repitition, eg biting of lips and inner goddess it can be a little repetitive but in all I too have become obsessed with this naughty novel!! Apparently they intend to make a movie would I find it in the adult section!!!!

  10. @ Anonymous 3 - This series definitely seems to be one that is able to really suck people in. I loved the changes in Christian throughout the series, I've read all of the books now & am completely hooked on him! I'd heard that the movie rights have been sold but I can't quite figure out how they'll make a film that can be shown at cinemas! If it does get made I'll definitely be going to see it though :o)

  11. about 25 pages into the 1st book i was disgusted with the poor grammar, spelling errors, the inner goddess dialogue, so corny, but mostly with the constant repetition of, "oh my", crap, holy crap, shit, holy shit, fuck, and holy fuck. over and over. if she takes out these crass phrases, the books would be in half. she develops christian better than ana and what we read of ana's responses, i like christian better. that being said, i was compelled to continue, as we all are. it appeals to the strong, experienced, powerful, forceful, sexy but unavailable man whose heart is slowly captured by the beautiful virginal female that needs rescuing among other things.

  12. @ Anonymous 4 - You're right about the amount of repetition, especially those phrases! The story could have been a lot tighter if it had been edited down more. It is still strangely addictive though & I'm obviously not the only one who thought that lol. There were definitely elements of Pretty Woman in there too and I think Christian is the kind of man that is always going to appeal to most women, we tend to love the idea of a guy who needs to be fixed. Not to mention the fact that he is handsome, rich, successful and practically a god in the bedroom!

  13. If you loved the Fifty Shades trilogy, I recommend Captive In The Dark by CJ Roberts which is the first in a duet. It's very different because it's much more darker than Fifty Shades.

    It seriously messed with my head but the relationship is very interesting/addictive to read about. It's from the girl's point of view as she tries to solve the mystery of the lead male. It's one of those books you'll either love or hate. I'll say no more.

    It was addicting and I can't wait to read the sequel. But be warned, there are some really sensitive topics in it apart from BDSM, like kidnap etc. You should consider the warnings to see if it's for you.

    Anyway, I hope you do like it if you do read it!



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