UPDATE (March11, 2012) : The review below was written first on Dec 10, 2011. Since then I have completed the trilogy and read in depth reviews by many well-liked and credible reviewers on all three books. To be very honest I hadn’t thought much about the books after I finished reading them. They were decent enough reads (some parts enjoyable, others annoying). It simply hadn’t worked me up enough for me to write a thorough review for the uninitiated. But now when I read the review below, I realize I skated over almost all weaknesses of the story because I was impressed by its open confrontation of a taboo subject (in romance) like BDSM. It was the first of such books for me, and also I was a still-inexperienced reviewer. So, read the review below keeping all this in mind and if you want to read a really good one taking on the negative aspects, click on the link to dearauthor.com at the bottom. Hope this helps. =)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A pretty good book. Explores a life style I’d only heard the sleaziest things about and makes it – if not completely acceptable to me personally – almost compelling. I can see why all the reviewers have been raving about Christian Grey/Fifty Shades. If I had not been informed prior to starting the book that this had originated from a Twilight Fanfic prompt, I would never have made the connections. It’s very cleverly done. The parallels between the books almost makes me think that the fantastic (here meaning: fantasy-like) relationship portrayed between the protagonists is actually possible even in a world devoid of the supernatural.
But back to Fifty Shades. It was not a one-sit-read for me. I didn’t stay up at night to finish it. But I didn’t give up mid reading to go find something else either. I would have preferred a third person POV or even a shifting POV between Christian and Ana – the girl’s POV was slightly dull when Christian was not in the scene. That dullness came from an apparent lack of interesting side characters with the sole exception of Ana’s feisty room-mate, Kate. Her interaction with or inner monologues about everyone else read like compulsory fillers – unnecessary and uninteresting.
There was one specific chapter I would like to congratulate the author on. Chapter Eleven. This chapter covers a rather well written legal-sounding (not legally binding) contract that outlines what Christian – the Dominant – expected/demanded from and offered to Anastasia – the prospective Submissive.
It was kind of an eye opener. I’ve heard of terms like ‘safe word‘ and ‘hard limits’, but never really thought what they were. I’ve also never read a book dealing with sexuality (and the many ways to indulge in it) so openly.
This chapter was funny, appalling, infuriating and very interesting. The demands and suggestions made were of course Christian Grey’s preferences and did not represent the boundaries of all dom-subs in general. But the draft did give you a good idea of what our heroine was going into and how justified her fears and confusions were.
So, well done, Ms. James.
And now, having finished this book and been left on a cliff hanger, I’m off to get the next one which I intend to start reading immediately.
Does a fanfic novel (no matter how good) have the right to stand tall beside the original? (caughtinabook.wordpress.com)