Published Date: May 26th, 2011
Finished Date: December 9th, 2011
Publisher: The Writer's Coffee Shop Publishing House
Series: Fifty Shades #1
My Rating: >5/5
I am in awe; In pure and undiluted awe and shock over FIFTY SHADES OF GREY. This is seriously some heady stuff; I'm addicted! FSoG is the very first novel where I would be more than willing to give a rating higher than 5/5. It really is beyond perfection, and I was utterly ensnared by its characters, plot, and James' writing throughout the reading process that I felt so sorry when it ended. In a freaking cliffhanger, no less!!! But we will come to that later.
**Spoiler minefield alert**
Anastasia "Ana" Steele is in her last year doing her degree in WSU, Vancouver. Her best friend, Katherine "Kate" Kavanagh - or the Kathering Kavanagh Inquisition, as Ana calls her when she gets into her interviewer-reporter mode - managed to snag a time slot to interview Christian Grey, CEO of Grey Enterprises Holdings, one of the richest, most eligible bachelor in the country, but she fell prey to the flu bug, and so Ana has to take Kate's place as interviewer.
Ana is a jeans and T-shirt person, so when she dresses in a casual-formal skirt and shirt to the gleaming glass fortress that was Grey's office, she feels a little intimidated. What's worse is that the moment she steps into his office, she falls flat on her face. She feels arms around her, and when Grey helps her up and she takes her first real look at him, oh you know she's a definite goner. He was absolutely gorgeous, but with a cold and distant demeanor. She's intimidated, and as the interview went on, she embarrasses herself multiple times, and so she flees as soon as she's done with Kate's list of interview questions, trying her best to put him out of her mind. Well, she's probably not going to be seeing such a high profile person again, right?
Wrong. Grey turns up at the hardware store where she works, and he expresses his wish to see her again. Who is she to refuse? Anyway, Grey tells her explicitly what he wants in a relationship in her - a BDSM one no less. Ana is intrigued with him and his lifestyle, being a complete innocent when it comes to anything sexual. But as they got to know each other better, she finds out that Grey is actually a man with many dark secrets, is haunted by a terrible, abusive past, and is fifty shades of fucked-up. She falls for him, but can she pull him back into the light? Will she be enough for him as she is?
**End of minefield**
Once again I feel obliged to reiterate: I LOVED this book. This series, actually, since I couldn't concentrate enough to do up this review and gone ahead to devour Book 2 immediately after Book 1. (That cliffhanger is to be blamed!!) I wanted to do a quickie review, combining both FIFTY SHADES OF GREY and FIFTY SHADES DARKER (book 2, and also one of my absolute favourites) initially, but thought better of it cause I am probably going to be gushing about my love for both books. So, the gushing commences.
The plot. There was actually a plot! I shall endeavor to explain why I am in shock. Usually, Eroticas exist as standalones because they consist of insubstantial plots and storylines, harping on about panties-melting, sadistic males, timid as hell pushover heroines, mindless sex and orgasms repeated throughout the whole book, probably on every alternate page, and pseudo-loves. But when I saw that FIFTY SHADES OF GREY belonged to a series, trilogy in fact, I was intrigued. And now that I've read it, my whole view on Erotica-Romances has changed. I wasn't that into Eroticas before, nor Contemporary-Romances (this is the first contemp romance I've read so far, honest), but this story really just makes me want to delve further into this two sub-genres while I wait for their sequel-brother, FIFTY SHADES FREED, to be released. Christian was a little domineering, but he doesn't overstep boundaries. Ok, maybe in a few occasions, but they're done so as to protect Ana, and they're really, heartwrenchingly sweet. So I did like his overbearingness, surprisingly. And Ana stands up for herself. But I will be gushing about the characters in a later paragraph(s).
The writing. I LOVED E.L. James' writing style! She's funny, witty, and her diction is fantastic. I loved how the words are complex, but not overly so, but it actually became a little educational. Haha, I had to unearth my dictionary a few times to check up on a few difficult words, and I did like it. Other than the parts where it gets so exciting and I stop checking the dic. She could express very subtle details in the story, and even in one-sided conversations like when Christian is on the phone and only uses a few words to respond to the caller, I could actually understand who he was talking to, how he felt about the conversation, and most importantly, what he was talking about. I know it may sound like simple matters, but I'm telling you, it's not. James' is really a talented author. She even employed a very special way of communication between the protagonists - via emails! Haha, you must be thinking, "Whaaat?" right? But which other books have you read where the people communicates through emails? It has always been dialogues, isn't it so? Admit it! Haha, and those emails between Ana and Christian are HEE-larious! Wonderfully entertaining and unique and special and...sigh, they are so childish and endearing when they're being cute together.
From: Anastasia Steele
Date: May 31 2011 19:08 EST
To: Christian Grey
Sir, you are quite the loquacious writer. I have to go to dinner at Bob’s golf club, and just so you know, I am rolling my eyes at the thought. But you and your twitchy palm are a long way from me so my behind is safe, for now. I loved your email. Will respond when I can. I miss you already.
Enjoy your afternoon.
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Your behind
Date: May 31 2011 16:10
To: Anastasia Steele
Dear Miss Steele
I am distracted by the title of this email. Needless to say it is safe – for now.
Enjoy your dinner, and I miss you too, especially your behind and your smart mouth.
My afternoon will be dull, brightened only by thoughts of you and your eye rolling. I think it was you who so judiciously pointed out to me that I too suffer from that nasty habit.
CEO & Eye Roller, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
You should see the continuation, it's gets funnier. But I can't quote the back without the front cause then it wouldn't have made much sense, and I can't quote the entire thing because then it'll be too long, so oh well. But he's very different in real life compared to when he's emailing Ana. Haha, and it really is heartwarming when you see him relax and let the depraved little boy come out.
And then there's the other funny parts:
" How could he mean so much to me in such a short time? He’s got right under my skin… literally. "
Hahaha, yeah, literally.
The characters. Oh my hell, they were so hot together. I really cannot stress it enough. I am intoxicated by both of them, Ana and Christian/Fifty/Grey. I loved how Ana was a meek yet brave yet obstinate yet compassionate yet intelligent yet witty girl. She is the perfect heroine. I've kind of grown tired of reading the typical snarky and badass heroines nowadays, or the overtly timid pushovers that seem to dominate most of the Erotica genre. I said Ana was witty, not snarky. There's a fine line between those two, but I prefer witty instead of snarky. Snarky just sounds immature and childish. And then there's our dear, aloof, tortured, brilliant male protagonist, Christian who is actually a sweet closet romantic. I adored him. He was showing Ana all these impossibly beautiful sceneries, whispering impossibly tender, sweet nothings to Ana yet it doesn't come off as cheesy. And when they're together, they practically just made my book combust into ashes. Spontaneous combustion, that's how they affected me. Loved, loved, loved them.
Oh, and incidentally, Ana has already described her Fifty Shades quite perfectly in the book:
"I know he’s moody, difficult, funny, cold, warm… jeez, the man is a walking mass of contradictions."
Yep, that pretty much sums him up. He is such an enigma that I love. But not the love love kind of thing, cause I'm not Ana, and I think Ana really is like his other halve, the only other person who can compliment him. They're perfect together, in every sense of that word.
Only one eetsy beetsy thing that I noticed. Christian has well-manicured hands! Or was it nails..? But "well-manicured" sounded so gay to me. Oh well, but after some time I was thinking would you rather go for well-manicured or chipped and caked with black dirt, and I chose well-manicured. And why does he have condoms everywhere he goes?!?! They're at a boathouse, he sinks his hand into his pocket, and OUT comes a condom; They're in a lift, and OUT comes a condom; They're god-knows where, he sinks his hand into a pocket and OUT comes a condom! I mean, really? You might say he's just being an always-ready kind of person..but really?
I loved FIFTY SHADES OF GREY with all my heart; So much so that even before I finished the book, I already wanted to rate this book a rating higher than 5/5, and that's saying something. It has all I ever wanted in a romance book, even though I thought that I was a hopeless Paranormal-Romance-Urban-Fantasy geekfan, FSoG helped changed my perception. Even though one of the things I hate the most is a cliffhanger to sour my mood, I thought that this cliffhanger was the best cliffhanger I've ever encountered (and the fact that the second book was already out lightened my mood considerably!:D). No doubt my favourite book - and maybe series - of 2011. I'd really, strongly encourage ALL romanceaholics out there to give this a try if you haven't done so already.
Random Musings (which you will not understand if you haven't read the book):
If you're reading the ebook like me, can you search the words,"Heart failure" into the search box? I LOVED that scene! Haha, it made me laugh so hard, especially at the heart failure in italics part. That was one epic moment. My heart literally stopped together with Ana's. Ohh, Fifty is really such an unpredictable male.
Oh, and the other part where I couldn't stop laughing was:
“Good. Until tomorrow perhaps.” He turns to leave, then pauses. “Oh – and Anastasia, I’m glad Miss Kavanagh couldn’t do the interview.” He smiles, then strides with renewed purpose out of the store, slinging the plastic bag over his shoulder, leaving me a quivering mass of raging female hormones. I spend several minutes staring at the closed door through which he’s just left before I return to planet Earth.
Somehow, I found the phrase "quivering mass" very funny and suggestive.XD
And I love the pun "Fifty Shades of Grey". Haha, think about it. It's really mindfuckingly cool. (Sorry for the language, but this book incites very strong emotions in me.)