Wednesday, February 14, 2018

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Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy by E.L. James (Personal Review)

My opinion on the Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy

I'm pretty sure that almost everyone in the world has heard of Fifty Shades of Grey by now, and that's because the book was turned into a movie and it is supposed to be somewhat outrageous. Several years back, I never saw myself reading this book. However, upon discovering audiobooks, I decided to give it a try.

I first saw the first movie starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan. I'll be honest and say that it wasn't as bad as I initially thought it would be. I had this wrong perception that everything would be entirely wrong, both in terms of the book and in terms of the movie. To my surprise, the film was rather well-made and the soundtrack made up for most of the problems I had with the story.

The Story

As you might have heard, Anastasia Steele is a virgin (unfortunately, that's the first feature that comes to mind) who studied English Lit. Because her roommate is in no shape to go interview Christian Grey, a billionaire whose business is headquartered in Seattle, she steps in her place.

Grey seems entranced with the girl and starts to throw all sorts of expensive gifts at her. He even 'rescues' her when she gets drunk after her final exams. The male character is a known BDSM practitioner and explorer -- a dominant. Steele has no knowledge whatsoever with regard to BDSM, but she does her research once Grey asks her to sign a contract and become his submissive.

The thing about the book that bothered me most was the fact that Anastasia was willing to try being tied to a bed, whipped, and a variety of such practices, despite being a virgin. Sure, Grey takes care of the 'virginity problem' almost as soon as he finds out about it. But even so, I find it very hard to believe that a virgin, of all people, would find BDSM exciting or just willing to try being a submissive even before starting her sex life.

Another thing that I found to be somewhat bothersome was the whole insta-love thing. I don't expect a lot of depth from a book that was initially written as fan fiction based on Twilight, nor do I expect a lot of depth from a so-called BDSM-related novel. However, I became curious both regarding the lifestyle and regarding what other books had been published -- some of which simply had to be better than Fifty Shades. Well, upon doing my own research, I found (and read) books like The Submissive Series by Tara Sue Me and Bought by Lauren Landish, and a whole wealth of others that weren't primarily marketed as being BDSM novels. These two (and others I'm going to write reviews of) are far better than Fifty Shades.

So, with such an ingenuous female character and such a dominant male one, I still decided that the book was outright boring. What's more, I listened to the audiobooks while doing chores around the house, and let me tell you it was super-funny having to listen to a narrator moan while I was rubbing the carpet with a hard brush.

Personal advice

Obviously, if you are under the age of 18, I do not recommend this book. If you like strong female characters, the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy is definitely not for you. I personally enjoy reading books with questionable alphas that go out of their way to protect their ladies, but this one was absolutely outrageous. There's a passage in the 3rd book (the movie is out in theaters as we speak) where Christian goes on and on about how he doesn't want kids and he blames Anastasia for getting pregnant (she forgot to go to her shot appointment).

With a stronger (and more intelligent character), I would have seen a bit of rebellion from Anastasia, and maybe even witness a break-up. That wasn't the case, of course, as these two end up being married and living happily ever after even with Christian's traumatic past and overly possessive and controlling tendencies.

On top of everything, Christian 'mediates' Anastasia's promotion, which does happen under special circumstances, but nonetheless... I would personally feel robbed of my capabilities to advance on my own if a man had to intervene and make my promotion possible.

Besides, there are certain passages in all of the books you might definitely not find enjoyable. I had no issue with them, but this book is undoubtedly not addressed to people who like clean romance. There's a particular scene where they have sex while she was on her period and that might definitely not be everyone's cup of tea.

Is it worth reading?

In the end, this is the question that everything comes down to. If you have a lot of time to spare and you can afford getting the audiobooks from Audible or some other such provider, I would recommend this book. However, do keep in mind that it is not intended for young audiences and that it might shock (or bore) you.

Personally, I suggest watching the movies instead of reading the books. I started listening to the Grey audiobook (the 4th book in the series) and I got bored simply because that unfortunate contract was read time and again. By the end of the fourth book, I had almost memorized its points. So, the book is repetitive, somewhat poorly written, and it contains more than enough risque scenes.

If you want to read good erotica and would perhaps appreciate stronger female characters and interesting storylines, I suggest having a look at Christina Lauren's books - the Beautiful Bastard series, as well as Wild Seasons one are excellent - I loved them!

If you like intelligent romance, I would recommend something in the lines of Gabriel's Inferno by Sylvain Renard.

Photo by Zoriana Stakhniv on Unsplash

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