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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Fifty Shades of WTF Did I Read

Fifty Shades of Grey
Fifty Shades Darker
Fifty Shades Freed
by E.L. James

Grade: 0.5 stars out of 5
Published: self-pub then Vintage dropped a shiny penny for the series; paperback/kindle
Source: myself (why oh why)
Ages: 18+ but I started reading smexy books earlier so whatever floats your boat.
Cover: B+

Currently in my YA reading slump, I thought I would do a 180 and pick up some books that has been drawing attention: Fifty Shades trilogy. I’m sure every author would love to be in E.L. James’s position right now: a stellar contract, countless weeks on the NYT’s bestseller list, made USA Today’s list, in stores almost everywhere (including WalMart where I just had to gasp!), etcetera etcetera.

For those of you who have living under a rock, or in case of my many friends, just don’t care, the Fifty Shades series is about a guy named Christian Grey (hint hint, Fifty Shades of Grey) who’s a really rich guy that’s part philanthropist, part sexual and overly bearing dominant with an inner 14-year adolescent that’s really horny and afraid of being abandoned. He also has a really bad case of an Oedipus Complex.

Now it’s not all about him, despite the fact that his ego can fill up an entire room, because it takes two to do the dirty deed. Oh, I should mention that this trilogy is a BDSM, erotic, love tale, but more on that later. Now the lovely partner/lover/semi-submissive to the ever dominant Christian is Anastasia Steele. She’s pretty and a brunette and really good at reading/critiquing manuscripts. She also loves her stepfather. There’s nothing really much about her per se except being exceptionally pretty to the point where almost every single straight guy around her is in love with her. Or perhaps they just want to get in her pants.

She also talks to her inner goddess, which is within her subconscious even though the subconscious is something you're unaware of she frequently talks to it. So much so that I would like to stake her inner goddess.

So the whole series is about them being trying to be together. Through the ups (sex), and downs (bad relationships, a “crack whore mom”, a crazy stalker/murderer, a boyfriend who wants to control every aspect of your life, an ex-submissive/dominant/the way older woman who taught you sex, etc) they somehow work things out. Instant love works amazingly well in fiction.

Straight up, I did not like the Fifty Shades trilogy. Shocking really. Firstly, I wish I had never known that this was originally a Twilight fanfiction. I compared it to the original Twilight than I compared it to the really great fanfictions I’ve read. What’s bad was that I caught E.L. James using a certain Twilight character’s real name instead of the name that James’s created. Uh oh. (Luckily I’ve read enough Twilight parodies that I’ve grown used to these mistakes.) Secondly, what a poor set of characters: dislikable and vapid. Thirdly, the plot sucked. Lastly, which I think was the blasphemous of the entire book, the sex…was bland. For a BDSM erotica, I was expecting some steamy, wow sex, but most was very “vanilla” and repetitive that I fell asleep. At 10 PM. I kid you not.

Christian and Anastasia have no idea what they want in each other and it’s horrifyingly embarrassing reading them interact. Cheesy, cliché, and uninspiring dialogue flows between them like verbal diarrhea. The mind says no, but the body screams yes; I can’t live without you; sunshine comes out your ass, yada yada yada. I for one wanted to take the flogger, crop, paddle, and cane to smack them a few times. The conversations they have boils down to Christian wanting Ana to be safe and following what he asks/demands; she, of course, tells Christian that she understands his concerns and will try to take it into consideration. Not 5 hours later does she defy what he asked and then she gets pissed that he’s angry because she blatantly goes against what he says. Then he gets upset that she’s pissed and afraid that she’ll leave. She forgives him; they have sex. And repeat. And repeat. Over and over again and you wonder whatever happened to character development.


At that point I would like sparkly Edward back. (Not something I ever expected to say or type.)

The supporting cast is bland. Ana’s best friend is supposedly rich and intelligent. For the most of the series, she’s off vacationing and banging Christian’s brother who is supposedly cheating, but the author never goes into that. Christian’s sister is hyper and does not know what personal space is. Ana’s parents and friends are flickers of light.

The sex is bland for a BDSM erotica. Forget bondage. Forget doms and subs as that it didn’t last the entire book one of the series. Sadism still alive and kicking, but Ana gives off too many conflicting signals that I don’t doubt why Christian’s half-confused by the type of sex that have. (She likes it rough, but not roughly as if that’s not a vague statement.) There’s a couple of scenes where he spanks her (thank goodness he doesn’t ask, “who’s your daddy” because that would be disturbing on a new lever), they play with a couple of sex toys, and they really like elevators, but other than that it’s mostly typically love scene romance-y vanilla sex. That is not what I asked for.

So what we have so far is bland sex, poor characters, and a weak plot.

The one redeeming thing about the books was the crack whore mom and her impact on Christian. For whatever reason I find his childhood tragic and something I can easily sympathize to.

Stupid curiosity told me to read these books. Gah. Never listening to that again until next week…or at least until Thursday where I will try a chocolate panini.


Listen to Gilbert Gottfriend read Fifty Shades of Grey
Listen to Ellen Degeneres read Fifty Shades of Grey

7 comments:

  1. Yeah, I sort of understood the phenomenon when I heard it was all crazy, kinky sex. Then people started posting reviews and excerpts . . . it's not like it's hard to find books with great vanilla sex.

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  2. Well then, thanks for the warning! :-)

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  3. I've been seeing this trilogy around, and I don't understand the hype. Your review will definitely put me off from reading this.

    Other than that, I enjoyed reading your review. XD

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  4. AWESOME review. It was so bad that I really wondered if I was reading something different from everyone else. The sex is not erotic at all. I felt more like a sick voyeur than someone wanting to enjoy this so-called 'mommy porn'.

    The only reason why I gave it two stars on Goodreads was because I really liked the names Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele. At least she didn't name her Becka Crowe! :)

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  5. I laughed so hard at your post title! I haven't read the books (I have read excerpts) and I think I agree with your review. I've already decided I'm not going to read these (but part of me thinks I'll end up reading it anyway...must. not. give. in!). Thanks for sharing!

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  6. I love your review, I never even wanted to give this series a shot and after reading this, I def don't want to. I thought people were in it just for the sex, since I knew the plot & characters were gonna suck, but after hearing that the sex isn't all that either?! Well, there you have it. I'll only give they credit for those nice covers lol.

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  7. Yeah I don't really care for the series. I did read the Twilight Saga because of the hype, but was disappointed on the last book. I will probably read the Hunger Games just because I'm curious. However, this one does not appeal to me at all.

    Ah, just love everything about your review though :)! Now I have even more reason not to read this series.

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