Hello fellow bibliophiles! Right now, I’m in the middle of a Thomas Hardy novel, so while I wrap that up, I’m going into my archives to discuss something previously read. You guessed it, I have another trilogy for you all. I suppose since I’m reading some Hardy, and the movie just came out on DVD last week, I’m going to discuss my thoughts on the Fifty Shades trilogy. It is a very love/hate kind of series, and I’m right on the fence, so here goes.
I’m a fan of Christian Grey…. HOWEVER (Takes a super deep breath) it took me two attempts to try and get through the first book, Fifty Shades of Grey. When I was done, I was drained and my thoughts were allllllll over the place. I tried to give myself a few hours in between reading and reviewing but I was starting to over-think and not make sense. Instead, I just took a flying leap into my thoughts and this is what I decided. Bear with me. I’m just trying to play devil’s advocate when it comes to this trilogy.
1) The writing is not great, and by not great, I mean it’s almost intolerable (it gradually gets better as the series progresses but it’s a gigantic “eh” overall). This was the massive problem I had on my first go-round with these novels. I couldn’t get past the second chapter. However, after seeing the movie trailer, I was intrigued enough to force myself through every single installment involving these characters. Still to this day, I won’t defend the writing, and I wish the author would take a bit of a step back from the production process of the movie. I rarely say this, but this story concept works better in a cinema medium than on the pages, at least for me. I’d like to see more of an artistic license with Darker and Freed on screen, and less of James and her “inner goddess” nonsense.
2) This started as Twilight fanfic (c’mon… Seriously!? That’s not something you want to brag about). As I read these books I kept seeing the similarities and it got really annoying. If you want to read a series that started as Twilight fanfic but is actually SUPER enchanting, may I introduce you instead to the Gabriel’s Inferno series? You’re welcome. The only way I really got through these three books was picturing Jamie Dornan’s gorgeous face as my Christian, and that made the process much easier.
3) Ana’s constant referral to her subconscious and inner goddess. I can’t…. I really just can’t. Simply put your thoughts in italics and move on already. No female I know (myself, included) discusses things in her head and has an internal goddess helping through life and situations with boys. It was excessive and ridiculous.
4) how hot and cold this couple was CONSTANTLY. By the middle of book two… I was starting to become exasperated with them and their drama.
1) I love Christian. Simply put. If you follow me Instagram or Goodreads and see the romance novels I love, you know I enjoy my tortured and tormented alpha male with a dark past who just needs love. He was a massive driving force for me to keep going with my reading (and like I said before, having Jamie portray him is just the icing on the cake).
2) I’m a sucker for a conflicted couple. Ana and Christian reminded me of so many other couples I’ve found myself cheering for… Fingers crossed they have a happy ending.
3) The character progress. Obviously I like to see how far each player comes from first meeting to parting ways, and they didn’t disappoint. This is where the discussion gets dicey. Some people out there view this trilogy as abuse, and I’m going to assume these folks just never read or finished the series. Yes, this couple comes with many problems, and they have many issues communicating while they find their footing in the relationship, but when it comes to pushing boundaries and such in the “Red Room”, it’s not abuse and it’s not quite BDSM either. No contract is actually signed, but every aspect of physical love and affection is negotiated and discussed to the point of comfort for both parties. Ana and Christian both make concessions in order for their relationship to work in the long run. All activity halts at each of their safe words, and they’re both allowed to say “no” at any point. She’s inexperienced and he’s pushy, but they both change their rules for love… which is the driving force of the story, buried under all the kink.
4) Steamy sex scenes. Honestly, who reads books of the erotic and romantic genre and is appalled by the depictions? I’ve definitely read much more shocking stuff in my romance/erotic novel adventures, plus the books and the movies are clearly fiction, so I’m not sure why this trilogy was the game-changer for sexual liberation in literature, but it was, and it was entertaining enough to read to the end.
To sum up, not a perfect series (being an English Major… [Hi, Ana].. makes me a bit of a snob here), but I DO have to take back most of the shit-talking I did when it came to these novels. I didn’t want to jump on another bandwagon, but I did and I got through it. I didn’t hate it. I was actually slightly depressed when I closed Fifty Shades Freed because I had spent so much time in Ana and Christian’s world. I did, however, prefer how it unfolded on screen. I’m anticipating the next movies starting in 2017.