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A happy medium of a romance.
Fifty Shades of Grey - E L James
Member Name: Kahdeksantoista
Fifty Shades of Grey - E L James
Advantages: It's a gripping story.
Disadvantages: I found myself actually skipping sex scenes, author should vary adjectives!
A few weeks ago I saw one of my male friends update his status: he was complaining about the popularity of this book. He was sick of everyone flocking to it like flies. I had a look at some reviews on Amazon and decided I may not like it, but for £2.70 on the Kindle I couldn't complain if I didn't like it. I read online that E. L. James is English, but this book is set in the US. I cannot shed anymore light on the situation but she seems to know Seattle very well.
The brief plot of the FIRST book (as to truly enjoy them all you need all three: more on this later) is that the book is written in first person from the point of view of Anastasia Steele. Ana is an almost-graduated student of English (English Literature, if I remember correctly) and her best friend Kate, a student of journalism, works on the university newspaper. Kate has, unfortunately, been taken ill on the day she is due to interview Christian Grey, a multi-millionaire CEO with striking red hair. It has taken her months of bugging him to get the interview and she does not want to reschedule so she sends Ana with a list of questions to ask him. Ana then tumbles into his office all flustered and interviews him less than smoothly. Ana is a virgin and has never really felt an attraction to anyone until she meets Christian. She is very mature and level-headed and hasn't found anyone that's particularly done it for her, until now. The next thing she knows she is bumping into him at her workplace and being asked out. They address each other as Mr Grey and Miss Steele, with their given names chucked in every now and then. They accidentally start having a relationship. The relationship just 'happens' after Ana gets offended by something Christian says and rings him partially tipsy a while after. He demands to know where she is so he can rescue her and he turns up just in time as Ana's best friend tries to come onto her, not taking no for an answer. Christian miraculously turns up, having never been told where Ana is, and saves the day. Christian showers her with gifts (mostly technology so he can get hold of her any time, any where) which Ana is a bit uncomfortable with. At the start of their relationship, Christian oddly mentions paperwork and formalities. Ana then finds out about Christian's past (just snippets of it which unfold more in the next book) and his odd yet intriguing sexual habits. Ana gets adored by Christian's family, scowled at by women who want Christian, flown in helicopters by Christian, chauffeured around, wanted by men whom she doesn't want, showered with Christian's attention and, ultimately, sucked into a life she never thought she'd never be part of. Christian can be happy one minute and very mysterious the next. He's very doting but also serious - he's quite jealous, too. Ana is bubbly and innocent and smart and wants for nothing, but she gets caught up in a lot.
The book ends right in the middle of a situation. It quite literally forces you to buy the next one. By this time the book has you well and truly hooked.
Ana and Christian meet at the interview scene early in the book and from then on we are told on every single page how sexy Christian Grey is. This is no exagerration, every page to every other page includes a sentence to a paragraph of how attractive Christian is. You will also see these lines repeated A LOT:
'...his brow furrowed.'
'...his face darkened at my question.'
'...his lips pressed into a hard line.' <---Very common.
Another thing that really stops a reader in their tracks is the word used in reference to female genitals. The author refers to it as 'my sex'. I had a debate with my husband's friend for years because I believe there is no erotic word for the female area. There are plenty for the male area, but none for the female area as they all sound vulgar. Sit and write a list. You'll be very surprised. My guess is that the author had the same idea and stuck with that one word which makes me take the sex scenes less seriously. The erotic scenes do powerfully take you away with them, however. The sex scenes are well written but they are thrown around like grass seeds. I am a keen reader of romance and erotica and, regarding the erotic scenes only, this book is very amateur in comparison with word play. The scenes, however, are believable, whereas in most other romance books the romance is very Prince Charming and no one can relate to it. A lot of adjectives and adverbs are repeated quite soon after the previous use, but the story runs fairly smoothly on the whole.
The plot and character development is second to none. You really fall in love with these characters. Every single character is different and has their own life. This, for the non-writers out there, can be very difficult when writing a novel. Writing around ten different characters each with their own personality and problems and ways of interacting with the other characters is no easy thing to do. There is always a mystery or conflict in the midst to keep you hooked. As most writers know, every story needs to have a conflict (or one big one and loads of little ones) otherwise it's like watching someone live their daily life - boring. Christian's loveable character unfolds more in the second book and I started to feel like I would miss him and Anastasia when the third book ends. I have only ever had that with two authors; J. K. Rowling and Stieg Larsson.
The trilogy in order:
Fifty Shades of Grey £3.79 book, £3.03 Kindle (if you buy it directly ON your Kindle I believe it is cheaper)
Fifty Shades Darker £3.86 book, £3.09 Kindle
Fifty Shades Freed £3.86 book, £3.09 Kindle
Amazon website prices.
They are very cheap on Kindle right now so I would grab the first one if you are even a little bit curious. It costs less than your average magazine. The prices were correct at the time of writing.
Summary: A great plot with loveable characters, but the same lines are repeated a lot.