Feb 10
2017

Fifty Shades Of Grey Trilogy – My Conflicting Thoughts

Fifty-Shades-of-Grey-ReviewThis is a post I have procrastinated for the longest time, as it’s been quite a while that I read this series; I guess a couple of years at-least. But now with all the hype surrounding the movie adaptation of the 2nd book, Fifty Shades Darker (which released today), I thought it is about time, I share my thoughts on this book series.

Having said that, I feel compelled to begin with a disclaimer/code of conduct statement, lest I find myself in the middle of unnecessary controversy, ’cause I have seen people have very strong reactions to the Fifty Shades series.

So, here goes..

It’s okay if you don’t agree with my opinion(s) on this series (which are pretty mixed anyway); it’s okay to point out the disagreement and engage in healthy debate.

However, it is NOT OKAY to use this platform for negative/hate filled comments. God knows we have enough of that going around in the world, and we really don’t need more of that over a book, of all things! But if you choose to ignore this friendly piece of advice – know that the comments are moderated anyway. Enough said. 😃

On the whole – I liked this book/series, in-spite of the fact that I have some many issues with what is represented. Mostly because people read different books for different reasons, and this was essentially my mindless read fix, which it worked well for.

Sure it’s not a great piece of literature, nor are these characters people who you could write grad school thesis on, but you know what?  I liked the romance (yes, it exists, under 50 feet of crap, but it exists), enjoyed the unexpected humour , and LOVED the emails – they were smart, witty, and interesting – and were pretty much the highlight of this series for me.

Moreover, this thing was addictive enough for me to overlook the extremely pedestrian, troupe-y writing, a mildly (at first) annoying narrator, and the fact that I had to skip over major chunks of the book (something I never ever do). But I will make a concession for the last point, because erotica is not my thing, so I can hardly blame the book for being what it set out to be.

Reading 50 Shades of Grey was like witnessing a train-wreck; you know you should look away, but you just cannot stop watching (reading in this case).

Now, I don’t feel like any kind of plot summary is required for this book/series, as by now, I suspect the entire English speaking world is at-least aware of these books, even if they haven’t read them.

Mousy Anastasia Steel meets uber rich, yet oh-so-emotionally-disturbed (understatement alert) Christian Grey, sparks fly, BDSM, yada yada yada…

So I decided to approach this in another way. By introducing Christian & Ana to you.

Christian Grey

Christian Grey is possessive (overly), a little stalker-ish (understatement again), domineering (duh), authoritarian, elusive, mercurial – all of those things, and more. He is also one of the most tender, tortured, sensitive heroes I’ve ever read. His despair and need for Ana in his life are like living, breathing things, and they jump off the page.

Having said that – would I ever go near someone like him in real life? Hell no! Wouldn’t dream of touching him even with a ten foot pole. I might even consider getting a restraining order and a personal body guard. But this is fiction and we’re all allowed a little guilty pleasure, right? Right? Well at-least that is what I’m telling myself.

Speaking of guilty pleasures – in spite of him having like a bazillion (made up word alert) issues, the author has left no stone unturned to dump positive attributes on him. He is a billionaire, who is also incredibly hot, who happens to know how to drive (is this the correct word?) his own helicopter, is a concert level pianist, AND an expert dancer. I was fully expecting that he will find a cure for cancer by the end of the third book!

Anastasia Steel

Anastasia Steel on the other hand is one of the most exasperating narrators I have ever read (she had the crown for a while, but then, I hadn’t read Twilight at that point, so now Bella is the reigning queen of exasperating narrators).

Now since I mentioned Bella here, I must also say that in Bella’s case, every single issue I had with her, was a personality issue. I can’t really say that about Ana. Yes, she was naive to the point of being downright stupid (especially during a plot point in Book 2 – I will come to that later), but overall, I could kind of understand Ana’s actions for the most part, so personality wasn’t really the biggest problem, the writing was. Which is exactly what I will be addressing next.

On Writing

Okay, most of you already know that I am not overly fussy about the actual mechanics of the art of writing, so long as the reading experience isn’t adversely affected to a great extent. Pedestrian writing wouldn’t necessarily mean I dislike the book. But this author has truly tested my patience.

For instance, she has not met an adverb or an adjective she doesn’t love, and so as to not play favorites, she uses them with equal vigor, and far too often. But that is not even my main issue. My biggest grouse is the amount of repetition in this book. It’s borderline embarrassing!

Firstly, there are only 3 responses that Ana’s vocabulary consists –

‘Oh my’  – for something good,
‘Holy F***’ – for something bad,
and ‘Jeez’ –  for something unexpected.

If you do a drinking game, on every time she says those words, you would be drunk out of your mind before you finish the first quarter of the book.

But how can I forget, the 100 million repetitions of

Fair point well made. Mr. Grey. Mrs. Grey. Twitching palms. Mr. Mecurial. Oh, my Fifty, Fifty, Fifty! My poor lost boy! Your Mrs. Robinson. B*tch Troll. My control freak. You don’t eat enough.
Don’t bite your bottom lip. You’re mine. Mine. Mine. Hush. He’s really mad. Mine.

I also got tired of hearing how much she ‘loved this man’, this ‘beautiful man’, her Fifty, yada yada yada… He’s gorgeous. We get it. Move on!

On Domestic Abuse 

I don’t think I can review this book, without addressing the issue of domestic abuse, so here goes – Yes, I have issues with what is represented. I do. Some of his thought processes are extremely disturbing.

But you must remember that I was 30 when I read this book, so my outlook on many things was more defined and certain, and past the stage of any real influence. Which is why, I could ignore a lot of his disturbing behavior patterns as just another of his crazy quirks, but I wouldn’t be comfortable recommending this to impressionable teens/young adults (who are unfortunately the target audience).

Having said that – I think that domestic abuse is the absolute wrong term for what happens in this series. I know many people are inclined to believe that Christian is the big bad man who abuses a weak young woman. But trust me, that is not the case.

There is nothing, I repeat nothing, that happens between the two of them that Ana doesn’t give consent to. Sure, she may whine about it afterwards, or use the excuse that she doesn’t want to lose him, but she makes the choice – every. single. time.

Mutual consent for mutual pleasure is not, in my book, domestic abuse.

Note: I choose to not address BDSM, even though that was clearly the main theme of this book/series. There are many reasons for that, but the most important one being that I don’t understand it enough to debate it.

Until I read this book/series, I wasn’t even aware of its existence or for that matter the full-form of the acronym. So, I am clearly in no position to comment on whether this was an accurate representation of BDSM or not. 

The Fifty Shades Trilogy

Now let’s talk about the actual books. First things first – these books cannot and should not be read as standalone reads. It’s essentially one big story broken up into 3 books. And if you do remove all the annoying, grating repetition, it could possibly all fit in one really-big-book.

Fifty Shades of Grey

Book 1 is all about the newness of their connection. This book has all the excitement of a new crush, it’s interesting, fun, makes you giddy with excitement, while still leaving you uncertain about their future. I say this, because Book 1 ends on a terrible cliffhanger (and I just hate those!).

Fifty Shades Darker

Book 2 is decidedly my favorite of the lot. This second installment of Christian & Ana’s journey has all of the emotion and depth that I felt was missing from the first book. This is actually where the romance takes center-stage. Christian is more human (which I like), a little insecure (which I don’t know how I feel about), but in this book he certainly did fit more in the traditional romantic-hero-mould, as much as Christian Grey could fit in that.

The one thing that irked me about this book was the conflict resolution from Book 1. I don’t want to give out spoilers here (so I won’t), but while Christian & Ana were discussing the conflict from Book 1 – he was upset with her, and she fell for that shit. She somehow managed to believe that all of it was her fault. That my friends was the time when I realized that little Miss Steel, was not merely a naive young woman. No. Poor Ana was just plain stupid.

Fifty Shades Freed

Book 3, as a whole, is my least favorite of the lot.  For starters – the first 75% of the book was useless. Completely, utterly waste-of-space useless.

But you might understand it better in the context of the earlier books. Like I mentioned earlier, I liked the first book, and the second one was even better, because outside of the whole romance, Book 2 was when Ana stepped up and the power disparity between them finally leveled out.

Now, I ended Book 2 completely satisfied and certain that Christian & Ana were headed towards a happy, healthy relationship. So I was pretty pissed to find that the third book had decided to take their relationship in reverse. It just felt like a retread of the issues they had already worked out.

Having said that, the last quarter of the book was good, like a completely-different-book good. The conclusion and the HEA were nice too. But it could have just been added to end of Book 2, and that would have made an already good book, better.

All in All

I liked the read. I would recommend to anyone (exclusions follow) who is looking for some light reading. Would NOT recommend this to the intended audience of teens/young adults, but that’s just me. If I had an impressionable teen, I wouldn’t want them reading this, so I don’t want to be a hypocrite, all-right?

Note:  If you plan to buy all 3 books, outside of paperbacks of these, the most cost effective option is buying them on Kindle as a bundle.

When I had bought it, I had bought it for $19.99 (so I know that’s legit for sure), but now I see the $15.99 option too, so adding the link to that as well. Of-course, those prices are for US, but I believe the same links will take you to the kindle versions in your own country. They are supposed to at-least. If they don’t, let me know.

Fifty Shades Trilogy (3 books – 19.99) | Fifty Shades Trilogy (3 books – 15.99)

For people in India – I guess the Kindle version doesn’t exist (I could be wrong), but the cheapest prices are not on Amazon, but Flipkart (links below)

Fifty Shades of Grey | Fifty Shades Darker | Fifty Shades Freed

That’s all from my end guys. Have you read this book/series? Or actually, did you even read this whole post? Because this surely was one long ramble-y monologue. If you did, care to share your thoughts?

-Shantala

*This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you buy on the site through this link, I will get a referral fee, at no additional cost to you. If you do use the link – thank you for your support.

Comments

  1. I still don’t think I can bring myself to read these books but mainly because I spent a good amount of time with the Twilight series, liked them when I read it, later felt that they were crap (sorry) and this one has been likened a lot to those books, and so I stay away from it. 😀 That said, I enjoyed your review and I think I sorta have a vague idea about the progression of the story. Thanks for the review!

  2. Okay I have a major grudge against this one. Someone reviewed it and likened it to Pride and Prejudice and I went and ordered the entire set. I wish I remembered who that person was! I loved your review. I loved how balanced and non-judgemental you have been – telling it like it is. I did read the books, flipped over large chunks and made it through. But for the life of me I cannot remember which book had what or even much of the entire storyline. But I remember enough to know that I would’t want a teen reading this.
    Beat About the Book recently posted…Love Muffin and Chai Latte – A ReviewMy Profile

  3. Haha I enjoyed your review more than the book series. I didn’t personally have anything majorly against the content of the book. The first book did seem fine but the second onwards the monotony began to set in and it failed to leave me hooked on.
    Ramya abhinand recently posted…Weekend Read- Jeffrey Archer Kane and AbelMy Profile

  4. Thanks Shanaya- havent read any of them, but really enjoyed this read! You tell so well all aspects and facetts – really enjoyed it!
    Eli recently posted…Andante AndanteMy Profile

  5. Wow, great and in-depth review, Shantala. I have NOT read any of these and not likely to. Around 2011, both my mother and MIL were reading these and that was it. I swore off them. Besides, I heard they were brutal as in poorly written. I’m like you in that pedestrian writing is not offensive to me. I’ve read plenty of simple blockbuster books I’ve enjoyed for their simplicity. This however, I feel isn’t really even a romantic story. I watched the first movie on television out of curiosity because the movie was filmed locally. I actually didn’t find the movie terrible other than the ending. Then I realized because it was only part one of the story…it would be unresolved. Also, if I may add that it isn’t as hot as I thought it would be.

    Your review has confirmed that I probably wouldn’t enjoy them. Kudos for you for getting through all three. Will you watch the latest film? BTW, I agree with you on the domestic abuse front. How could it be when she is consenting. Although it is a thin line there because often the victim will ‘consent’ due to pressure and threats. I don’t think that’s part of this story though. Again, fantastic review!
    lisa thomson recently posted…Pissed About Cupid?My Profile

  6. You have done justice as a reviewer, not going into details which you were not aware of. I and my friend picked up this series last week in a bookstore, she wanted to know what is it that was making so much of a noise and boy! as soon as she read the abstract she was like- do these things exist? well we are Indians by all sense I think, still a no no on BDSM stuff.
    Menaka Bharathi recently posted…9 Post Pregnancy Health Issues Every New Mom Suffers The MostMy Profile

  7. I have read the first 2 books in the series and my sentiments are similar to yours. I read it to know all the hullabaloo about it. I read it with an open mind and it was okish read for me. I mean, if the book could make me turn pages one after the other and I read the first 2 books in quick succession, I think the book had done its work.Of course, the book is not for the faint-hearted.
    Shilpa Garg recently posted…What Happens When You’re Married for 20 Years!My Profile

  8. You nailed it, just perfect! Unlike you, I’m not much of a reader. I sure enjoyed reading it given it was a light read. But sure Ana was annoying to another level. And believe me, this post of yours is my favourite till date. I can read it again and again. You’ve mentioned almost everything and I doubt if there is left anything unsaid. I wish there were more spoilers, have known a bit more from you 😉

    All in all, I loved your review!

    Cheers
    Geets recently posted…#Valentine’sSpecialMy Profile

  9. I have read Book 1, and just couldn’t get myself to read Book 2 and 3, for obvious reasons! It’ s been a long time since I read the book, but do remember bits and pieces of it. Frankly, though, there’s really nothing worth remembering about these books, is there?
    Now, more than the book, I enjoyed reading your review. In fact, I shouldn’t have read the book at all, your review says it all, and says it so well! Really, Shan, it was an entertaining read, your review! You are so good at it! But, of course! 😛 <3

  10. I gave it a chance back in 2012, cos I wanted something mindless to read. Man, oh man, I struggled. It was like a hard walk up a mountain in the sun with no water (which is ironic, given a lot of people actually felt *thirsty* after reading this one 😉 :P). I gave up halfway, picked it up on a different occasion and gave up again. Just not my cup of tea, I suppose. Didn’t pick up the second and third book, though I have a copy of each (I got all three books for free :D)

    I think Bella was a better narrator than Ana. Ana bored me to death with her inner monologues. But then, I read Twilight when I was 20 and in college, so maybe I could relate to Bella’s angst or whatever 😛 But anyway, Ana is modeled after Bella, given that FSoG started out as Twilight fanfic. So I guess you could say both on a basic level are annoying.

    I like it that you gave it a fair shot. Not something I would be able to do, I’m sure.
    Sreesha recently posted…Moth to a FlameMy Profile

    • The writing was annoying, yes. And every issue that I had with Ana was mostly an issue with the author. The limited vocabulary, the annoying repetitions etc.

      Also, undoubtedly, Twilight was easier to read than this. But some of Bella’s decisions were so aggravating! Especially the way she flip flopped between Edward & Jacob. She is one of the most self-centered characters I have ever read. But writing wise, yes Twilight was loads better than this.
      Shanaya Tales recently posted…Fifty Shades Of Grey Trilogy – My Conflicting ThoughtsMy Profile

  11. Beautiful review. I do not think i will pick up this series anytime soon. It clearly lacks content. Thank u :).
    Nidhi recently posted…Intense Chocolate Banana BreadMy Profile

  12. Haha quite a review. I haven’t read the book and I have seen too many negative reviews. Thanks for describing the character. It gives a clear idea of the book. Frankly, I have no patience to read those thick books having only 2 characters. I will stay away.
    Lata Sunil recently posted…American is an idea .. #TeaserTuesdayMy Profile

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