Thursday, October 4, 2012

Book Review: Fifty Shades of Grey and Fifty Shades Darker

Minor spoilers for the book

Like a good number of people, I read this book not because of its merits, but because of the controversy surrounding it. Unless you’ve been living in a cave (you lucky, lucky people) you would have no doubt heard the concept of this book was written as Twilight fanfiction, published on the author's own website, and then suddenly Random House published it and sold a million copies. You hear that popping sound? That was the sound of my head exploding. So with an admittedly biased opinion, I went into this book expecting one of two things-either this was the best piece of literature ever created next to William Shakespeare, or I have lost my remaining faith in humanity.
So how does this book actually measure up? In a word, it’, eh?

The premise is this: Anastasia is a woman who is sent to interview entrepreneur Christian Grey when her roommate Kate falls ill. This is for a school newspaper mind you. The question springs to mind as to why someone else working for the newspaper didn’t interview this guy, but mercifully this plot point is brought up and not ignored. At any rate, they find a mutual attraction that is hampered because Christian Grey harbors a dark and terrible secret...he’s a mummy!

Nah, just kidding. Is this book actually like Twilight? Well, yes and no. I can recognize where one could compare some roles and scenes. However, for the record I do like Anastasia better than Bella as she has a tendency to make better choices. She doesn’t get away scot-free, however, as she can also make some epicly dumb decisions like Bella, but overall she seems more sure of herself than her counterpart.

But to be brutally honest, this book only really caught my attention for the first half, and the reason is this-Anastasia and Christian just have no chemistry in a lot of the scenes they’re in. Christian has several different personalities (Oh ho, that’s why it’s called Fifty Shades of Grey!) and Anastasia ranges from falling madly in love with Christian to being ticked off, most of the time for dumb reasons. Which would be fine, except this book is also exploring elements of dominance and submission. Anastasia is supposed to be submissive, and she just...isn’t? So does this mean Fifty Shades of Grey is trying to say that this type of relationship is evil? It’s all too head-scratching for me.

To give the book credit, however, I did enjoy the sequel, Fifty Shades Darker, a great deal more. The relationship is explored in more detail and, while the status quo doesn’t exactly change, the characters are easier to understand. Plus it feels like more things are happening in the sequel, while the first book is just repetitive.

Final Grade:

Fifty Shades of Grey  2.5/5

Fifty Shades Darker: 3.5/5
Fifty Shades Freed: Have not read. Maybe someday I'll come back to it.
Overall this series borders between pretty interesting to repetitive. With that in mind, here’s the Fifty Shades of Grey drinking game-take a shot every time Christian tells Annastasia to either eat something or not bite her lower lip.  You'll be blind before you can make it to the second book.

1 comment:

Neha said...

Darker, which is the sequel to 50 shades of Grey turns out to be rather predictable. After an exciting first book, EL James fails to recreate the impact with the second book. What put me off was the lead pair having sex at the drop of a hat! I mean, people, breath!! As a fan of mush and cheesiness, the parts where Grey opens up about himself and is shown to be vulnerable egged me to finish the book.