The Fifty Shades trilogy certainly isn't my typical kind of read. In fact it wasn't even in my radar when I accidentally downloaded it instead of "Between Shades of Gray" which I was initially in search for. Apparently there are quite a few number of books with the phrase "shades of gray" attached to their titles.
Growing up, I was never really a fan of erotic fiction and romance novels. While my friends were deep in their noses reading Mills & Boon and Jude Deveraux, mine was usually stuck in Stephen King thrillers and a variety of rock biographries. In college, I started to develop a fascination for authors such as Irvine Welsh, Chuck Palahniuk and James Frey. I really have an odd inclination towards the deep, dark and depressing so it really is quite a wonder how I managed to get through reading the first book, much less the entire trilogy.
The trilogy revolves around the romance between Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey. It starts off with Anastasia being a typical, innocent, big-eyed, virgin from a small town who happens upon Christian when she takes the place of her room mate to interview him for their university's newspaper. Christian is her exact opposite being a dark and brooding big-time mogul and universal playboy by the age of 28. Anastasia manages to stir Christian's interest during their brief meeting and makes him want to pursue her and possibly turn her into his newest "sub" or submissive in BDSM talk.
The book is poorly written, and quite frankly amateur-ish. There will probably be some points where you'll find yourself scratching your head and asking why you aren't a published author yet with your writing skills (I'm not saying that I am or you are a better writer but EL James manages to make you feel like an equal). It is extremely redundant and predictable yet still very addicting.
The first installment of the trilogy, "Fifty Shades of Grey" is probably the strongest in the set and is filled with direct references to various types of music. Having certain scenarious accompanied by actual songs really helps immerse yourself in the moment...and is also probably the reason why I kept on reading the book...plus I didn't have anything better to do that day...
As much as I would love to diss this book, I can't. It's one of those things that are sooo bad they're good? However, I can't deny the fact that there is truth to the common assumption that this book is nothing but "mommy porn". I don't see how it is "mommy" in the porn sense though. It is filled with pages upon pages of BDSM scenarios that even made my male friend (who also read the book) cringe during some parts. It can get quite graphic but thank god, she decided to skip out on the sexual metaphors that are usually a requirement when it comes to erotic fiction. I cannot stand those.
The first book, heck, the entire trilogy is mostly sex, sex, sex with a little action and suspense thrown in for good measure. The plot is predictable but somehow keeps you interested nonetheless. (Maybe it's because I've developed an imaginary crush on the imaginary Christian Grey...he is smoking hot but sadly not very realistic. Hello, private jet, yacht, R8 at 28?) I enjoyed the first book so much that before I was done reading it, I already downloaded the second and third installment...which was a disappointment.
By the second book, Fifty Shades Darker, you will be bored with the sex unless maybe erotic fiction is your thing? But I'm sure if that's all you're after, there are better books for it...but it won't be with Christian Grey :P I was also disppointed in the lack of music found in the second and third book. I was too eager to find out how the story ends that I jumped right into reading the second book where I found myself bored numerous times. Anastasia's "inner goddess and subconscious" were really starting to get on my nerves. She can come off as really daft. I suggest you control yourself and wait a couple of days before you start reading the next book.
The third installment, "Fifty Shades Freed" is better than the second book but still far from the first. Disappointingly, the inner goddess and subconscious is still very much present and Christian has lost a lot of his bad boy edge. EL James managed to turn him into a suffocating, over protective husband who gets mad a lot and has nothing much to say except "you're beautiful" and "If something happened to you..." It gets exasperating. He has also stowed away his "twitchy palm" (which I quite enjoyed reading about) for most of this installment. It still is a sooo bad it's good read though.
Overall, the Fifty Shades trilogy for me is an entertaining, light read. The email sparring between Christian and Anastasia is quite amusing. EL James probably won't win a pulitzer for this but sex toy manufacturers definitely need to pay her royalties for the 400% rise in sales since this trilogy got published. Read the book, don't expect to get smarter from it though. Have a bottle of wine ready before you flop down with it...an accompanying ipod would be great as well. I finished reading the trilogy about a day ago and I have to admit that despite my many rants about it, I find myself missing it.
You can download the Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy Ebook for free HERE