Saturday, April 21, 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James


Fifty Shades - Book 1

I despair of the reading community. That such a badly written piece of tripe can have so many stellar ratings... I shake my head in disbelief. And to add insult to injury, the damned thing is a best-seller with the movie rights just being sold for many, many $. Where's the virgin that E.L. James sacrificed? Oh right... in her book. *eyeroll*

So, this was written originally as a Twilight AU (Alternate Universe) fanfic. It shows. All over the place. I will admit to never falling prey to reading any of the Twilight books, but the things I have seen written about Bella, the main character, could have been written about our virginal Anastasia. (And believe me, you don't need to have read/seen Twilight to be aware of the story and characters, the over-saturated media saw to that.)

It's badly, badly written. Ms James has proclaimed in her 20/20 interview that she is not a very good writer (or something along those lines) and she'd be right! I have read many first person present tense tales (they are very common in fanfic land) and the actual craft of writing was far better than in 50 Shades. 

I find the heroine, Anastasia, to be whiney, wibbly, totally unlikable and so damned... thinking she's better than those deviants who practice BDSM. And she has no agency, no purpose, nothing. She has no depth. The only really likable thing about her was her unruly hair. 

Our hero, Christian, was much more likable to me, although I got very tired, very quickly of hearing how other-worldly gorgeous the man was. (One of the many instances where this author could have used a professional editor - and if she did? She was bamboozled.) He seemed to have many interesting layers and I would like to have known more about him, to be honest. (I will add that I never, ever pictured Robert Pattinson when reading about Christian. Robert being far, far from my idea of drop-dead gorgeous and sexy.) 

One thing I can point out as it's very fresh in my mind, was the Deus ex Machina that is Anastasia's talking in her sleep. We discover this in the final 10% (bless you, my Kobo) of the book. And it's very important to the story - pivotal one might say. Something that important the author couldn't have mentioned earlier, say in some conversation with her roommate or something? So at least it doesn't look so contrived? 

The positives in the book were the emails between the main characters. I think that's where we see the true personalities come through and actually can like these two people! Too bad the whole thing couldn't have been done by email. 

And the book ends... excuse me... Part One ends with a totally clich├ęd cliffhanger that is a blatant ploy to get you to buy the next book OMG RIGHT NOW to find out what happens. That'd be another $9.99 for more bad writing. Yep. *nodnod*

I think what annoys me the most is that, among other things, this trilogy is touted as bringing BDSM to the mainstream. Yet... yet... the BDSM dom needs to be 'fixed'. He's the way he is because of some unexplained abuse as a child. The only reason that Anastasia enjoys the things that she participates in, is because HE likes and wants it. The enjoyment that she gets from it is always termed as dark and shadowy and she's always totally embarrassed by these reactions. (I have long-time friends who are no doubt laughing their asses off at this review, BTW. All I can say is that 20 years have passed. *g*) I can't imagine that the BDSM community is very thrilled about this portrayal of their lifestyle. 

I hated this book. Is it obvious? *LOL* I have read far better erotic BDSM romance stories in various fandoms that I frequent. (And they cost me NOTHING!) Better conceived, better written, better characters, just plain better all around. 

Will I buy the second novel? I sincerely doubt it. I have no plans to right now, that's for sure. I don't CARE if Christian comes after Anastasia! I don't CARE to find out who's missing (I suspect the sister, but since I don't know the Twilight plot...), I don't really CARE to find out why Christian doesn't want to be touched. I just. Don't. Care.

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