Author: E.L. James
Author Links: Website ♠ Twitter
"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.
"Can their relationship transcend physical passion? Will Ana find it in herself to submit to the self-indulgent Master? And if she does, will she still love what she finds?"
Thoughts: I have been seeing this book all over the book blogging community, placed in a prominent location in our local Hastings, and everywhere else one can imagine. Reading reviews of people stating that it was an erotic fan fiction of Twilight, I was very, very put off. However, when a friend started reading it and suggested it, I reluctantly bought it off of Audible. With several crafting projects on my table and running on the treadmill, I decided it would be a nice distraction. And it has been proven to be just that.
When I started this book, I was anything but impressed. Honestly, I was damn tempted to ask Audible for my money back and start listening to more of Scott Seigler's podcasts. This book read like it was written by a hormonal 16 year-old imagining herself in college and catching the eye of the hottest guy on the block. I found Ana to be an annoying little twat! She pouted, whined, and said "oh my" one too many times. Honestly, she was almost worse than Bella. At least Bella was still a teenager! And the innocent and naive girl the author was trying to portray just ended up looking like an idiot! "What's vanilla sex?" Seriously?!
It did not surprise me that Christian was the typical Byronic hero: Tall, dark, handsome, and brooding. At several points throughout the book, Ana mentions wanting that literary hero. However, she does not use such terms of describe him, but it's the same archetype. He honestly reminded me of Heathcliff wandering around the moors.
I found myself getting frustrated with Ana and her attitude toward BDSM. I grant that she did not even know the culture existed; however, I couldn't understand her totally unwillingness to discuss things with Christian. When he talked about hard- and soft-limits, she should have voiced her concerns several times. Further, if she was having problems understanding or accepting the lifestyle, she needed to make that clear upfront. In addition, I really wonder how much time she spent studying it. Even after seeing the "Red Room of Pain," I couldn't understand why she was so willing to fall into his bed. She was obviously distressed and disturbed by his desires, why did she let herself get swept into his whirlwind?
However, all of that aside, I found the story getting under my skin. When she finally started having e-mail conversations with Christian, I would listen just for the continued conversation. Not only was Ana actually showing are far deeper and complex character, she was actually opening up. I think Christian was able to do the same. And, through those correspondences, I found myself being drawn into the story.
My heart really went out to Christian, and I was annoyed how Ana pushed him. Granted, I would want to understand why he feared touch; however, I think she could have approached it differently. And, after seeing how much it upset him, she should have let it drop. At once point, she muses to herself about whether she can handle his inner demons. I wanted to point out to her that love means accepting it all. There was no way she could be with him without accepting those darker parts of him. And, if she could not accept him, there was no way he could ever learn to accept himself.
The sex in the book was exceptionally steamy! Admittedly, I caught myself daydreaming about Christian myself—and it has increased once I found out Alexander Skarsgard has expressed interest in being in the film adaptation!!!! However, a lot of that is rooted in my long-time fascination with the BDSM culture.
To me, the ending of the book was extremely hard to listen to and heart rending. From past childhood experiences, I do not blame her for her response to the belting. It also showed that she did not fully grasp the BDSM culture. And, to me, it was more of a reflection of how he saw himself rather than what he thought of her. In the end, I think she ended up making the right decision. Even though she loved him, sometimes we cannot cope with someone's demons.
In the end, I enjoyed this book. The writing style was still extremely juvenile; however, I felt the author did a good job of grabbing the audience and setting up characters for good development. I have already downloaded and started listening to the second book, and I am very curious to see how his past will unfold.
Currently: Car Thief by Theodore Weesner and Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James
Current Pages: 8877