Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades #1) by E.L. James

04 Jan
Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades, #1)

Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades #1)

by E.L. James 

Rating: 5+/5

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 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.

Wow. Wow, wow, wow. I still feel somewhat under the spell of this book. I’m so … beguiled by it 😉 (book allusion). It was honestly an amazing read – and one which I meant to just skim a few sample pages of, but ended up buying and then staying up the entire night to finish. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to write a review, because it seemed too difficult to put into words everything that moved me about this story and to try to do it justice. 
This ended up feeling like one of the best and most authentic romances I have ever read. In some ways, I feel conflicted like Anastasia when I say that: my instinct is to say that can’t be, because of what their relationship revolves around / how it’s constructed … but somehow it can be and it’s true. Anastasia, Christian, and their relationship are all so honestly and openly written and shown to us that there is no other way for me to feel. Even though its counterintuitive, I can’t help but feel that their relationship is one of the most beautiful, complex, and emotional ones I’ve ever read in the romance genre. 

It’s one of those books that makes me want to go back to the last few 4-5 star books I read and knock down their ratings half a star, because when put on the same scale they don’t compare. I had a ridiculously foolish grin on my face throughout the entire thing, both because I was on one of those this-romance-is-unbelievably-fantastic highs and the book had some surprisingly good humor. I had a pleasant feeling of anticipation as I read, but I was also extremely nervous, because real BDSM sub/dom books are not my thing, and so while I was falling increasingly in love with Ana and Christian with every new page I read, I was also terrified that I was going to be jarringly yanked out of it all and the whole experience ruined for me by some kinky and needlessly over-the-top BDSM scene. Thankfully, that never happened, and it remained an amazing read right up until the very end. 

{ Not What I Expected } 
I’m not normally a BDSM book reader, but this was so, so, SO much more than just that. I don’t think that I have read one that is so beautifully and (seemingly) authentic. I write seemingly because I have no personal experience, so no idea, but to me it read that way. It was not done as a space apart in the book where the writer could insert random hot sex scenes. Instead, it’s woven throughout, showing us how it impacts and affects both characters. Ana and Christian remain Ana and Christian in those scenes, in the sense that it doesn’t feel like out-of-character gratuitous sex scenes are at every random turn just to satisfy some quota. I’m not even sure I want to categorize this book as erotica, because that seems so limiting. (There was hot – intense – chemistry, don’t get me wrong, and I definitely had some turn-the-AC-up moments). 

{ Loved our Heroine: Anastasia / Ana (21) } 
Anastasia was one of the best heroines, because she felt so real and her reactions each and every time were so normal! Not over-the-top for effect, but not understated because the author wants to be able to put lots of sex scenes. She’s a virgin, has no experience with men, and didn’t know anything about BDSM, so of course she’s going to be questioning this and unsure of whether it’s “right” or it’s “wrong” or if she even feels comfortable doing it. She also is very attracted – and eventually in love – with Christian and wants to be in a relationship with him. Ana feels a connection to him that she has never felt with any other person and she wants him in her life; he makes her happy. Her attempts to balance these two forces is wonderfully depicted and I could easily imagine myself reacting in those exact same ways, thinking those exact same things, and feeling those exact same conflicts. 

Ana is strong – she’s somewhat shy and quiet, but like all real people, you cannot fit her into only one category: she may seem reserved and quiet, but she can also stand up for herself and really knows her own mind – she is not the ideal sub Christian first thinks she might be. Ana examines her motivations and feelings when she’s confused or unsure – not only about what she should do, but about what she wants to do and what Christian wants from her. The story is told in first-person, which is sometimes iffy for me, but it worked well here; Ana’s tone as narrator is smart, self-aware, and immensely likable. 

{ Adored our Hero: Christian (27) } 
Christian is one of the best heroes. He’s intense and dark and I know some people still see him as mysterious and the dark force in all this, but I actually found him to be so accessible. There are still things we need to know about his history, obviously – I have some guesses, but don’t know anything for sure. Nonetheless, he also felt like the most authentic BDSM dom I could ever read because he’s not just that – he’s a man who has that part of himself incorporated into his life, personality, and mannerisms, so that it’s integral to his character, even when we see him around other characters who don’t know about this part of his life. 

Christian is possessive, a little stalkerish, domineering (no duh), authoritarian, elusive, mercurial – all of those things and more. He is also one of the most tender, tortured, and sensitive heroes I’ve ever read. His despair and his need for Ana is his life are like living, breathing things and they jump off the page. He also has a deep understanding about himself and his desires, though he discovers and faces new things through Ana’s questions and confrontations. He needs to dominate and control his partner, but he also needs Ana, so he is willing to compromise and not only tries to give her that “more,” but ends up wanting it himself as well. 

{ An Unbelievable Connection and Relationship } 
From the first page of their encounter, the chemistry between Anastasia and Christian was off the charts. It was one of the things that convinced me to buy the book after reading the sample – it was so intense. Their connection throughout feels so strong and despite the fact that they’re coming from such different places, you can see the constant back and forth of them trying to fit together, trying to understand what the other wants, what they themselves want, etc. The dialogue, the emails, the EVERYTHING between them is a m a z i n g !!! I had such a ridiculous grin on my face for most the entire book. This goes back to my first point, but I was just so amazed by how realistic their relationship seemed, despite the BDSM sub/dom factor, which to me seems so foreign. It was complex, difficult, lovely, distressing, uplifting, intense, hopeful. 

{ This Book Felt So Honest } 
And I mean this in multiple ways: the main characters, their relationship, and the subject matter. Reading this book feels like an intimate act, because Ana and Christian are truly laid bare for us; yes, there are still things about his past we don’t know, but who they are, their essentials, are revealed to us. Their relationship is so honest, and I mean this in two ways: within the book and how the reader sees it. Within the book, I so, SO loved that they both try to be open with one another about their feelings and their doubts, that we see them trying to work through this relationship and feel each other out, figure out what this is between them. Loved, loved, LOVED it! Also, for the reader how their connection is shown, both in terms of man-woman and sub/dom felt very, very honest. It wasn’t porn-like or gratuitous or kinky for kink’s sake – it was built off of who these two people are and how they connect with and need one another. 

{ Overall Fantastic } 
Well-written. Surprisingly funny and sweet! Fantastic secondary characters. No evil guy or superfluous subplot – the obstacles are within themselves and their relationship and that is more than enough; anything else would have ruined the book and taken away from their story. Subtle but sizzling chemistry and sexual tension. Complex characters. Etc, etc. 

{ Ending of the Book / Series } (no spoilers) 
*Important to know that Ana and Christian’s story does not end here.* 
The ending is jarring, though I had ruined it for myself by having already read the next book’s summary (Fifty Shades Darker, due out September 15). I think the buildup should definitely have been extended, because it did feel pretty out of the blue to me. 

As little a thing as it is, the fact that the end says “End of Part One” and this isn’t viewed as Book 1 and the next as Book 2, really made a difference to me. Gives more of a sense of continuity and makes this feel like an intermission. I love where the book / series titles come from, lol (Christian’s remark to Ana that he’s “fifty shades of f*cked-up”). Note: All together, there will be three books. 

For those interested but unsure, Google has a relatively long sample section you can read to get a sense of whether you’ll like the book or not:… 


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