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6.9 /10 poor execution on intriguing premise
Could have been a lot worse... but...

I found myself intrigued by the idea of sadistic/control-freak/billionaire chasing after a virginal schoolgirl, simply because unlike most novels with romantic conflicts this one seemed so obviously doomed and rocky from the start.

BDSM is negatively portrayed, because everyone involved in it has Freudian issues (esp. the Grey).

Everyone who reads will either think:

A) it's indulgent or B) it's excessive

i chose the later because sex is just not a viable substitute for punctuation. Seriously, the first few sex scenes were like eating icecream out of the carton: you feel a little guilty, but its also kinda liberating. By the end of the book, the icecream is melted and your being waterboarded with it. Suffice to say, good sex in a book has to either be a significant moment for the plot, or reveal/reinforce significant aspects about a character or relationship... Majority of the sex in this book doesn't do either, so I ended up skimming through most of it like a textbook.

Most of the sex comes off as an expression of James's fantasy, in that most erotic fanfiction writers that create 2 characters often can't help themselves but make them have sex as often as possible. However, most people have the restraint to imply or otherwise omit such encounters that don't benefit the plot or the exposition in some way.

Is the writing fantastic? no, but that can be ignored if the narrator is presumed unreliable, and the reader is limited to that which has the narrator's attention (only a marginal solution).

OTHER THAN THAT (and people's criticism of 'good writing' or w.e) i liked the book and the series, and thankfully the author matured a bunch by the 2nd and 3rd (choosing to imply more sex instead of adding more pad).

By the third book, most of the original conflict is resolved so there's a shift into more conventional drama and thrill (i.e. car crashes and high speed chases and explosions and extortion and kidnapping and shootouts etc etc)

The book had generally positive messages (or otherwise had conflicts resulting from a failure in) involving communication, honesty, and trust. As well as unconditional love, and the metric tons of condoms (and other safe sex references) that get used throughout all 3 books.

CONCLUSION: better love story than twilight ~7/10
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Reads Like Bad Fanfiction
I read this book out of morbid curiosity and found it to be atrocious. If you've read Twilight, the characters here are almost exactly the same. It was painfully obvious who everyone was supposed to be. Plot-wise..there is no plot outside of the sex. I have no problem with explicit scenes in books, but the sex in Fifty Shades is excessive if nothing else. Ana and Grey are having sex in every other chapter, and when they're not, she's thinking about it. This is slightly more acceptable if the story is being "published" at the rate of 1 chapter a week, but in one sitting it just seems overdone. Also, the descriptions of all of Christian's "toys" are almost laughably over-the-top. The man is richer than God. He has his own helicopter, he buys Ana's company just so he can watch her at work (figuratively), he goes gliding on a whim..and he's done all of this before his 30th birthday. And don't even get me started on the "stalking=love" angle that's even more obvious here than it was in Twilight. As an Alternate Character Interpretation, it might work in the hands of a competent writer. Here, it comes off as creepy.

Drinking game (will lead to alcohol poisoning): Take a sip every time the phrase "inner goddess" is used. Or when Ana discusses feeling something "down there."
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A Male Perspective on Fifty Shades of Grey
As a man who has never read Twilight or romance novels before, I have to say that I found this book series to be very enjoyable, minus the opening to the first chapter, where the writing is so horrible it's cringe-worthy. Once the reader is able to adapt to Ana's narration, the story flows relatively smoothly. I found myself unable to put the books down, and read the whole series in record time; I finished each book in under 72 hours.

As far as the characters go, I found that I identified a great dead with Christian Grey in the aspects of his desire for control and self-loathing. Unlike the person who wrote the main page, I don't see Christian as evil - he's an antihero. I am also totally enamoured with the character of Anastasia. E.L. James does not have much skill in character naming though (Katherine Kavanaugh, ugh), but we'll let that one slide.

As far as the sexual content goes, any man will tell you that this book series is relatively tame. If you've been on the Internet before, then almost nothing in these books should be new to you. I'm actually glad the BSDM was pretty mild, because I think that's about as far as anyone would really go with that line of fetishism if they weren't into it specifically. The sexual content also blended into the story fairly well without overshadowing it - I didn't feel like there was too much or too little and found it refreshing when James pulled off some "fade to black" cuts, because Ana and Christian have a LOT of sex.

When it comes to story there is nothing exceptional, but nothing too bad either. The first book doesn't have much of a conflict besides Ana & Chrisitan's relationship, then James pulls a last-chapter-disaster that practically ruins it. This crisis is recovered quickly however and James steps into less jarring cycles of rising tension and light-hearted interludes. Essentially, there are two plots running side-by-side: Ana & Christian's tumultuous relationship and the investigation into Christian's past, which blends into the attempted murder sub-plot of books 2 & 3. The third book is MUCH better with its story, having moments of high tension and a satisfying enough conclusion.

So, in conclusion, these books are a nice read and one should check them out before passing judgement on the books or the people that read them. I, for one, really liked them.

  # comments: 18
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I donīt get the appeal
I just donīt know why this is popular. I mean, even when I donīt like Twilight, at least I am able to see why it was popular. I canīt say the same about Fifty Shades of Grey, a book without any single redeeming value from my point of view.

The "story" (or lack of it thereof) is unspeakably boring, with lots and lots of padding (There are entire chapters were absolutely nothing happens.) The narration is incredibly tedious and annoying, and the reader is constantly reminded about how incredibly gorgeous and handsome Edward...I mean, Christian Grey is.

Most of the characters are totally flat and uninteresting. The only exception was Christian Grey, who is an unlikeable Jerk Ass and one of the most irritating and annoying characters ever made. If he was ugly and poor, he would have been considered a sexist pig and a disgusting abuser, but since he is rich and handsome, the book seems to justify his horrible behavior. The sex scenes were the most anti-erotic stuff I have read in my entire life, and I think that even Tara Gilesbie would have written something better.

For me, reading this book was like reading Twilight all over again. Except than worse. Much, much worse (if you can believe that)

This is probably the worst book I have read in my entire life. It is dumb, is boring, is poorly written and has horrible characters. I honestly think that even The Eye of Argon, My Immortal, Christian Humber Reloaded and even Twilight were better than this.
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Just as horrible as they say
I'd heard nothing but bad things about this story for months, but because I prefer to judge literature based on my own personal opinion of it, I got my hands on a copy and read through it in about a day. And while I had a feeling that it was going to be terrible, I had no idea that it was going to be as terrible as it was. Its Twilight roots are clear as day, and as if that wasn't bad enough, its writing is even poorer than that of Stephenie Meyer's. The characterization is awful, most of the sex is incorrectly written (for example, the fact that Ana and Christian managed to have sex while she was on her period, on the first day, with no mention of any kind of pain or discomfort), and Christian's issues with control, which are meant to be sexy, come across as... well, really creepy. I had read it expecting it to be terrible, yes, but I was hoping that there would be a "so bad it's good" quality to it. However, there wasn't, and it only came across as extremely dull and boring when it wasn't particularly bad. The worst part is, this story's premise isn't that terrible, and if it had been written by someone else, it may have even been good. Sadly, that is not to be, and we're left with this horrid piece of literature instead. All in all, this story really does deserve its place of infamy in the BDSM community, because really, there's nothing redeeming about it.
  # comments: 3
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