Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Review for Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James

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?


After all the talk and hype, I've finally read THE book that has set many women's hormones aflutter.  For someone such as myself who reads A LOT of erotica and BDSM stories I have to admit to being more critical and definitely less enamored of it than others.  

As I was reading this my biggest question was, "Why all the hype?"  This story isn't groundbreaking.  We romance bloggers have read thousands of stories similar in tone and characterization, starting in the late 70's/early 80's where the innocent virgin was always being deflowered by the wolfish hero.  The sexual encounters ARE intense but author Robin Schone indoctrinated me into the world of erotica over ten years ago.  

Upon completing the book, I still don't get all the hoopla.  It's a fine story, if a bit long.  I enjoyed the characters for the most part and I'm intrigued by the emotional baggage Christian is carrying.  He had a rough start in life and no matter how good his life appears he still can't shake the past.  While Christian kept me enthralled, Anastasia waffled between too naive to be believed and a hardhearted woman finally standing up for herself which I applauded.  She didn't resonate with me as much and I'm still not quite sure why Christian became so enamored in the first place.  I can only assume it's her purity of soul that calls to him and his hope that she can help him continue to outrun his demons.  The cast of secondary characters were entertaining, particularly Kate and Eliott, and I like the juxtaposition of their normal and loving relationship to the mostly sex-based one of Christian and Ana.  The writing isn't as bad as I was anticipating considering the writing pedigree of this author, but as I said earlier it is a bit draggy at the beginning.  It's the presence of Christian that starts making things exciting and what will keep readers coming back for more.

Readers of erotica will find this a satisfying read, but nothing new or unexpected.  The sexual interludes are intense and numerous but within the scope of the story they're perfectly fitting.  Even though many romance authors have dealt with these themes for years, EL James has created a book that's gotten people reading and talking, and shining a spotlight on the romance community is a positive thing for which I applaud her contribution.

My rating for this is a B.

*To those reading this review, please explain to me all the hype?  I truly don't get it and would love my reader's feedback.


  1. Above all else I think this book is a romance. Yes it gets steamy and yes there is a tragically flawed hero that we all want desperately to save but the three books in the series really is , at the heart, a story of two people finding the courage to be what the other one needs and being comfortable in their own skins. I really enjoyed reading the first two books, the third felt REALLY rushed to me. *shrug* Nothing terribly new in it's make up if you have read steamy romance/erotica before. Even the BDSM elements are on the light side of the lifestyle. I really did fall for Christian pretty hard and I have to admit that his and Ana's dynamic had me laughing just as much as sighing/fanning. At the end of it all I am just glad that it has mainstream reading romance without flinching!! I would give it a B as well ;)

    1. Thanks for commenting Kassandra! There's definitely romance/a connection between Ana and Christian and their verbal playfulness was nice to see. Christian is definitely the highlight of this book since Ana has some maturing yet to do. Hardships make you grow up fast.

      This book is nothing new though so the rampant excitement is a big mystery. I've read many books more emotionally powerful than this, so it can't be that. We've seen these kinds of characters and themes before, so again it's not that. The only thing left is the power of Twilight, since this author has written pieces surrounding that series if I've heard correctly.

      Good to know that the second book is enjoyable. And authors very often run out of steam as their series end so the rushed feeling of the third isn't too surprising to hear. I wasn't sure at first if I wanted to read the rest, but Christian has me totally intrigued and I'm fully invested in his outcome. I'm getting these from the library so we'll see how long until I get ahold of the next book.

  2. I've been wondering about all the fufra about these books. Thx for this review.

    1. Thanks for joining the discussion! I too was conflicted about reading this series and basically caved to public pressure. I'm intrigued enough to want to read the rest, but still don't understand all the hoopla.