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Fifty Shades of Grey (Trilogy) by E.L. James

Monday, May 7, 2012
You've heard the hype about Fifty Shades of Grey but does it really stand up to all its praise?
 Rating: 4.5 STARS
Synopsis: When literature student Anastasia Steele is drafted to interview the successful young entrepreneur Christian Grey for her campus magazine, she finds him attractive, enigmatic and intimidating. Convinced their meeting went badly, she tries to put Grey out of her mind - until he happens to turn up at the out-of-town hardware store where she works part-time.

The unworldly, innocent Ana is shocked to realize she wants this man, and when he warns her to keep her distance it only makes her more desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her - but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey's singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success – his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving adoptive family – Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a passionate, physical and daring affair, Ana learns more about her own dark desires, as well as the Christian Grey hidden away from public scrutiny.

Can their relationship transcend physical passion? Will Ana find it in herself to submit to the self-indulgent Master? And if she does, will she still love what she finds?

Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.

 Rating: 4.0 STARS
Synopsis: Daunted by the singular sexual tastes and dark secrets of the beautiful, tormented young entrepreneur Christian Grey, Anastasia Steele has broken off their relationship to start a new career with a Seattle publishing house.

But desire for Christian still dominates her every waking thought, and when he proposes a new arrangement, Anastasia cannot resist. They rekindle their searing sensual affair, and Anastasia learns more about the harrowing past of her damaged, driven and demanding Fifty Shades.

While Christian wrestles with his inner demons, Anastasia must confront the anger and envy of the women who came before her, and make the most important decision of her life

 Rating: 3.5 STARS

When unworldly student Ana Steele first encountered the driven, damaged young entrepreneur Christian Grey it sparked a sensual affair that changed both their lives irrevocably. Shocked, intrigued, and ultimately repelled by Christian’s singular sexual tastes, Ana demanded a deeper commitment; determined to keep her, Christian agreed.

Now, together, they have more – love, passion, intimacy, and a world of infinite possibilities. But Ana always knew that loving her Fifty Shades would not be easy, and being together poses challenges neither of them ever anticipated. Ana must somehow learn to share Christian’s opulent lifestyle without sacrificing her own integrity, identity or independence; Christian must somehow overcome his compulsion to control, and lay to rest the horrors that blighted his past and haunt his present.

Just when it seems that together their love can conquer any obstacle, misfortune, malice and fate combine to make Ana’s worst nightmares come true. Alone and desperate, she must face down the poisoned legacy of Christian’s past.

Seductive, shocking, sad and funny, Fifty Shades Freed is the compelling final volume in the Fifty Shades trilogy

Review: The Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy is known by most as (originally) fan fiction for YA author Stephanie Meyer's Twilight Series. Although most would argue that the similarities between the two books are undeniable, I would argue that the main difference (beside the obvious; sex)is Fifty Shades of Grey is actually written extremely well. For the most part I really enjoyed this book, but I would like to address a few of the problems I had with it.

First, although I enjoyed Ana as a character she has some major insecurity issues. Yes, making complicated characters does add depth and meaning to the story, but I wanted Ana fight back, to be feisty and secure with her own image. In this she was like Bella (from Twilight) passive, submissive and insecure with herself. The problem here is E.L. James seemed to be trying to get across that Ana was not a born submissive but when you look at the major struggle that she creates between Mr. Grey's need to control and his want for Ana's submission, it becomes clear that Ana's personality WAS extremely submissive. She was always looking down at her fingers, letting him yell or growl at her. Yes, there were times when she would argue with Mr. Grey but it seemed that it was mostly on trivial things. Toward the end of the first book we do see Ana grow a little, but her issues with insecurity are still prominent.

Second, like Twilight E.L. James uses the (cliche) idea that this gorgeous, rich and powerful man falls for a plain Jane woman like Ana. It's definitely clear that the author was playing on (certain) women's fantasies. I mean who doesn't like the idea that someone (definitely out of your league) would like you? That above all women there was just something about you that melted this guy's heart who otherwise has been single for the past 20+ years. Just sayin.

Third, the idea (which goes along with the previous idea) that Ana above all people could change this man. While this could happen the struggle didn't seem genuine. It was predictable, I wasn't pleasantly surprised when in book 2 Christian Grey decides to compromise in order to keep Ana. I wanted them to have space from one another, it seemed that Ana really didn't think she could be with Grey and the moment she's about to give herself space to think, she goes back running into his arms and puts off her misgivings about him. I won't give too many spoilers but in book 2 Ana has the chance to take time for herself and think, but instead she goes back running into Mr. Grey's arms when he picks her up to go see her friend Jose's art exhibit. I kept thinking what the heck woman? I guess what it comes down to is the fact that I wanted Ana to have more of a backbone. She did argue and stand up for herself at times, but in reality I felt she was just too insecure with herself.

So you're probably wondering what did you actually like then?

First, this book is an Erotic Romance and as far as Eroticism the book did it well. If you're the type to get squeamish when it comes to talking about sex or the idea of handcuffs/whips and being blind folded than this is probably NOT the book for you, but if you're open minded this book can actually be very empowering. Although Ana was annoying when it came to her insecurities, the bedroom seemed to be one of the few places where she seemed liberated and empowered (dominant) over Mr. Grey. I think this is an interesting and overlooked subject among most women. You've heard the expression money is power, but what about sex? I found the idea of empowerment through sex an intriguing concept and I think E.L. Jame did too because she played with the idea throughout each book.

Second, the tension throughout the three books was palpable. It was extremely interesting watching Mr. Grey's relationship with Mrs. Robinson (Grey's ex-sub/dom partner) and Ana's relationship with him. This did great things for the story. Mr. Grey's control freak/jealous attitude although annoying for Ana helped make the story funny, sad and shocking.

Third, going along with point two the issues that were brought up throughout the story were interesting and real. For example, Ana (partly because of her insecure nature) does not like the idea of Mr. Grey talking to his Mrs. Robinson. Their history together bothers her and she can't help but compare herself to his ex, in the bedroom and personality wise. In reality who wouldn't feel a bit uneasy? Especially if your partner is giving up a bit of his past to be with you. The chemistry between Mr. Grey and Ana is electric from the beginning and I can't help but compare it to the movie The Secretary. (If you haven't seen it, watch it.)

So overall, although there were things I didn't like about the books, for the most part I found them very entertaining and well written. I would definitely recommend reading them or at least giving them a try. As a disclaimer I am not a Twilight fan at all, but I really enjoyed this series.
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