Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey - Double Review!

Happy Monday!

I am very excited today, because Me and Reading will have the first double review posted today! Liis and I have both read and reviewed Fifty Shades of Grey and below you can read what we thought about it. Enjoy!

Author: E.L. James

Title: Fifty Shades of Grey
Series: Fifty Shades Trilogy, Book #1
Release date: 3rd of April 2012
Published by: Random House
Imprint: Vintage
Reading level: FICTION – Adult: Romance, Erotica, BDSM, Contemporary, Mystery
URL: http://www.eljamesauthor.com/
Pages: 528 pages in Paperback
Source: Received Liis for reviewing, Liis purchased her book in The Book Depository


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.



I have to confess that reading fan fiction is my guilty pleasure. I’ve been indulging myself reading them for years now, so I can confidently say that there are some very talented writers out there. Every author starts from somewhere, thus I don’t mind mistakes in spelling, formatting, register, the plot, etc, everything doesn’t have to be perfect as long as there is something that just clicks and the reader likes the story despite its faults. I’ve heard too many complaints for Fifty Shades of Grey just because it’s not “perfect” and the flaws were often explained by it being originally a fan fiction. So since I don’t mind reading fan fiction at all I approached the book like any other.


I had heard and read a lot about Fifty Shades of Grey, even before it was officially published by the Random House. The buzz around the book was so big and so conflicted, so I decided out of curiosity to read it. I got my copy from Liis and since I wanted to make a double review, I decided to go for it.

Let me first tell you something – this book has NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING to do with Twilight! I am aware, that E.L. James started out with writing fan-fiction, but both the plot and the characters are as far as possible from the Twilight Saga. These two books/series/characters are as different as pigs and cuckoos from each other. I don’t care what readers, fans or whoever is stating that there should be similarities, I did not see any and I think that the statement of similarities are coming more from the point of view of the marketing department. It’s a nice marketing trick.

Regarding the plot:


Anyway, Fifty Shades of Grey was interesting read if you are into erotica and BSDM, the sex details were quite enjoyable, but the characters and the plot itself were very questionable for me. 528 pages give plenty of room for the author to develop the plot, and Fifty Shades of Grey just did not lead to the development I wanted to see. I have not read books 2 and 3 yet, so maybe that changes in the coming installments, I have no idea, but in Fifty Shades of Grey – it was like a very long hot BDSM introduction to something which did not come.

While I had hear before taking up this book that it was originally a fan fiction, I didn’t know much more, so the BDSM focus of the story was kind of something I wasn’t expecting. Which isn’t a bad thing since how many ordinary-girl-meets-rich-gorgeous-instantly-in-love-with-the-girl-man books can one read (not that such books can’t be exceptionally enjoyable). It was somewhat interesting to read about a relationship that wasn’t plain vanilla as Christian called it but to someone not familiar with the topic I couldn’t judge how realistic the portrayal of a BDSM relationship was. But at least I can say that I know a little more about the topic now since it did hold a central position in the book.

While many view it as a flaw, I found the lack of a concrete plot as a pro. It gave the story the opportunity to focus only on the relationship of Ana and Christian as it might develop naturally. There isn’t always a need for constant action, a build up, climax, end; this is not how I understand relationships.
Regarding the characters:


I couldn’t find myself liking Anastasia. I did admire her willingness, however unlikely it might seem to someone in her position (no significant experience with the opposite sex), to engage in a relationship of such unconventional measure with Christian but I guess he wasn’t so gorgeous and impressive for nothing. Still I felt that trust should be one of the main foundations of a BDSM connection not blunt attraction. She wasn’t a complete doormat and she didn’t give in to everything and right away but she was too lenient too willing to surrender to Christian’s demands and his need to control her. While she seemed to try and challenge him, I still felt that the gain was more on his side than hers. But again I have to admit that her standing up to Christian in the end surprised me and I applaud her for that, however out of the blue it seemed to me by that stage. And I bet most were entertained by her inner goddess but I found it to be extremely annoying, especially in serious situations.


Anastasia was an interesting character to me, a conflicted young woman with no sexual experience and stumbling right into BDSM relationship. Her personality is my opinion too healthy and too independent to be suitable for BDSM, but of course, that assumption is only based on my opinion. That was the part of Ana which I liked, that she did not accept everything from the beginning. She was curious which I find believable, partially because Christian being very persistent and all gorgeous and besides that, young people are usually curious to find out different inputs and outputs to their sexuality. People usually are learning by doing. I also understood her because forbidden fruits are usually with the sweetest tastes! That kind of sexual attention can be very appealing and feeling of danger can be exciting.

There were parts of Ana which I found too mature compared to her sexual inexperience. Having no sexual experience does usually not get people to throw themselves into BDSM relationship with the person whom you barely know and do not trust, like Ana did. Keeping in mind, that what Christian exercised on her was a softer version of hard core BDSM, I can accept that, but what I cannot understand and believe is that she did not know anything important about him. Yes, she knew that he is wealthy and have had some serious issues during his childhood, but that’s it. I hope that Christian’s background will become clearer in the next books to make the whole plot and characters more real. I was also annoyed by Ana’s voice of inner goddess, which made her look like la femme fatale and not like a 21-years old inexperienced young woman. It did not add up.


Even though we weren’t given many details about Christians past, it was made quite clear that he had a rough childhood and was abused by others and later by himself because he thought he didn’t fit into the perfect world he was suddenly part of. So because of all these events he’s a control freak and as I understood isn’t really close, in the sense that matters, to no one, except for Mrs. Robinson. His sexual lifestyle was also explained due to his past so I had more sympathy for him and favored him a little more than Ana. All this doesn’t, however, forgive him his stalkersish tendencies and need for Ana to submit.

Christian has issues, I don’t envy is psychiatrist Dr. Flynn. There’s one thing more I have to mention in relation to Christian: Mrs. Robinson creeped me out and I agree completely with Ana about what a child molester she was despite what Christian claimed!


When I said, that Ana was somewhat conflicted, then Christian was a total mystery for me. I did like parts of him and some parts of his characters were like out of a bad unbelievable dream. What did I like about Christian? Of course I liked that the author made him good looking, smart and rich. That of course raised some questions which I did not get the answers for, like how come, that he was running the company and not his dad? Was his family rich before or did Christian make the fortune of the family? Generally there was too little information about him during the 528 pages that the book lasted. That made me annoyed. Too much space in the book is used for the sex scenes and too little was used to make Christian more believable and understandable. The basic things what you learned about Christian during the book were the facts, that he has had a troubled childhood, he has been abused and he learned a lot about BDSM from a grown married woman during his teens. What I was severely missing were the reasons behind of my entire “why” questions. I did not mind the BDSM at all, but with all that information missing, Christian seemed a hollow and abused stalker who was clinging to an inexperienced young woman. Christian seemed creepy and mentally sick man, and again, that is not because he enjoyed BDSM, but because his actions towards Ana and I don’t think that was the author’s intention at all. Author did not give enough meat to the bones during the first book.


As dysfunctional as the romance between Christian and Ana was, I have to say that their email conversations were so cute and charming. Most of the time they seemed like two totally different, fun, amusing, serious, honest, likable people in them. I think they would have made much more progress if their relationship would have stayed viral and they’d communicate via email.


I think the relationship between Ana and Christian is one of the most controversial one which I have read lately. I do understand why lot of women find the relationship between Ana and Christian romantic and attractive and sexy. But if you think about it seriously who would like to have a relationship with the guy who is a stalker? I wouldn’t. Then again, I wouldn’t trust a lot of men whom I read about it either! I agree, that it is sweet and sexy to receive gifts to your home, but I definitely would not like the idea that how did he know where I lived. I think it’s creepy. It’s creepy that a third person is buying underwear to me. The bare thought makes me shiver. I liked that Christian was persistent, but he was also very very manipulative. So there are lots of things in this relationship which makes me wonder and ask questions which answers I would most definitely do not like in reality.



At one side I did like Fifty Shades of Grey just because it wasn’t perfect but at the same time I didn’t really like Ana and to some degree Christian. I liked the different theme the plot explored but I didn’t like that it didn’t really reach any conclusion and nothing was resolved. So I guess I have no other choice to read the second book Fifty Shades Deeper to make up my mind about the trilogy!


Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James is an interesting and controversial phenomenon for me. I disliked it as much as I liked. That is also a kind of achievement from the author’s side. To sum it up, I think 528 pages could have been cut down into a shorter story which could have given more reasoning and more background information to the characters and to the plot.

I will read the second book in the series though!

5 Flowers!
Liis: 3 stars
Inga: 3 stars

Happy reading!


  1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I have not read this and I am not sure that I want to. :)
    A friend of mine did rea it and she loved it.
    Have either of you read any other BDSM books? If so, how do you think they compare?

    1. Hi Tina! Thanks for coming by and commenting! I have read erotica and BDSM books before. As I mentioned in the review, BDSM scenes were well-written and it gave a good beginner insight into BDSM. There were detailed descriptions of what are the responsibilities and tasks for doms and subs, so in that sense the author was quite thorough. There were explanations of what to expect what BDSM relationship will bring in case you would like to try. Sex scenes were the better part of this book in my opinion. What I missed was all the other things like plot development and character development.


    2. Yeah, I like reading BDSM books, but one of the things that I really enjoy is how the H/H relationship develops. So, I guess this is probably not the book for me then. Thank you. :)