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.