Author: E.L. James
Publshed: April 2012
Author Links: Website ♠ Twitter
"When unworldly student Anastasia Steele first encountered the driven and dazzling young entrepreneur Christian Grey it sparked a sensual affair that changed both of their lives irrevocably. Shocked, intrigued, and, ultimately, repelled by Christian’s singular erotic tastes, Ana demands a deeper commitment. Determined to keep her, Christian agrees.
"Now, Ana and Christian have it all—love, passion, intimacy, wealth, and a world of possibilities for their future. But Ana knows that loving her Fifty Shades will not be easy, and that being together will pose challenges that neither of them would anticipate. Ana must somehow learn to share Christian’s opulent lifestyle without sacrificing her own identity. And Christian must overcome his compulsion to control as he wrestles with the demons of a tormented past.
"Just when it seems that their strength together will eclipse any obstacle, misfortune, malice, and fate conspire to make Ana’s deepest fears turn to reality."
Thoughts: This is a hard review to write. Many things in this book made me put my hand down and decide to give it an extremely low rating; however, I struggled with the fact that—at some sick level—I still enjoyed it.
The hardest thing in this book is Ana's inability to actually stand up for herself. It was distressing when Christian made comments about acting as though she were a child, wanting to take care of her in a paternal capacity, etc. At several points, Ana felt distressed by this as well, but failed to actually tell Christian "no." When she inadvertently causes one of her bodyguards to be fired, I was incensed that she didn't stand up to Christian. He continuously talks about trust, yet he fails to give her any.
Yes, the sex in the book is extremely steamy, but I have to wonder what kind of relationship they have. I wonder if it is built on something other than mutual lust. When Ana is going crazy because they have not had sex in four days, I had to roll my eyes. Further, there are times that the sex is almost outright rape! When Christian ties Ana to the cross, refuses to let her orgasm, and makes comments like "This is what you make me feel," I cannot help feeling sick. I understand a desire to shake your spouse on occasion, but I cannot comprehend the full desire to punish them and then lose control while doing it. Her inner monologue, the pleasure he gained from it (not to mention the fact that he never would have stopped), and her use of the big-guns safe-word made my stomach turn. And, if that isn't enough, she apologized to him! Dysfunctional is an understatement.
However, after that incident, I was pleasantly surprised that Ana finally confronted Christian about his behavior and put her foot down after his reaction to her big news. He needed to hear that he was acting like a child. I do wish that she had made it clear that, after he made a big deal about her never leaving, he was quick to run out the door and leave her. Although I am completely unclear how you could feel a strong sexual attraction to someone after the outburst Christian had. All of that aside, the whole scene did give a good look into Christian's 50 shades and show how he always dealt with stressful situations: sex.
I appreciated that James finally went into some of Christian's past. The clip at the beginning isn't much; however, paired with the clip about his first Christmas, I felt it gave a very intimate look into his life. I also appreciated that the audience learns a little more about Elena and his relationship with her. However, I still agree with Ana, she is nothing more than a sick, twisted pedophile. And, after rehashing the story for Ana, I like that Christian is finally able to start to see that.
The whole story with Jack Hyde was a too cliche. I'm glad that James decided to try and give the story a little oomph; however, I think she should have given more thought to it. It seemed way too convenient to have that connection between Jack and Christian and then have Ana start working at SIP on top of all of it. Also, I wish she would have followed it a little more. As with the helicopter crash and Lela, James ended it far too soon and wrapped it up too nicely. I would have liked to see Christian in a little more anguish over the belief that Ana had left him. She also needed to either get rid of it entirely or play it up Jack's bail a little more. Honestly, I think I would have been fine with the knowledge that the person who provided Jack's bail was unknown.
All in all, I think James was trying to flesh out the story a bit more and give it more depth than just the sex; however, it was basically the same story. The story was interesting, I wanted to know what would happen, and I definitely loved the sex . . . However, I just left the story feeling unfulfilled.
Currently: Blood Rites by Jim Butcher, Aliens: Earth Hive by Steve Perry, & listening to Contagion by Scott Siegler