Fifty Shades of Grey started out as a Twilight fanfiction. That is the hook that got me interested in reading the first book of the Fifty Shades trilogy.
My own sister told me that the main characters were basically Bella and Edward with new names, and the vampire angle is replaced with a BDSM fetish. Since I write erotic romances, I’m always up for reading other authors’ attempts. I have never tried one with BDSM, but I had heard it was an introduction to the genre and wasn’t hard-core. That is about the only good thing I can say about this book. The sex scenes are written well, though a bit uncomfortable sometimes due to the spankings or whippings going on. The one strange aspect of the writing was the use of sex and vagina when referring to the heroine’s genitals.
I suppose the author was not instructed to use more hardcore terms when writing erotica, and it’s a bit distracting. Considering there are plenty uses of the F-bomb, it’s not as if the author was going for demure.
All that aside, I can’t help but think the only reason this book has become a best seller is because of the hype surrounding it. The twilight saga is one of the best written in my humble opinion, and it spawned box office hits, the finale in theaters now. Those books are easy to read with their engaging characters and playful use of vampire lore. While some skeptics called Edward a moody stalker, he was a much more likable character than Christian. What are the similarities between the two? They both have copper colored hair, are adopted and have secret lives. That’s it!
I could go on and on about the differences, but I won’t say anything else about the comparison other than to say that Edward would never want to intentionally hurt Bella, but that is all Christian wants to do throughout the book. The mere thought of hurting her turns him on. The very idea of any woman willingly letting a man spank her so he can be in control had me rolling my eyes more than once, usually right along with the characters. Yes, there is a lot of eye rolling going on. You would think they were being forced to read the book too. Luckily for me though, I can walk away from that train wreck, and I did.
Focusing on just the plot of Fifty Shades of Grey, it won’t stand up to too much scrutiny. The editing is horrible, and I should know after having to deal with picky editors pointing out my repetitive words and/or phrases throughout my four erotic publications. I couldn’t count the times Holy is used, always followed by an expletive. Anastasia also constantly bites her lower lip. You would think the poor girl wouldn’t have one after all the chewing she does on it, and to make matters worse, it turns on Christian who wants to beat her every time she does it (insert eye roll).
If one flaw had to be picked from the many that inundate this book, the top one would have to be Christian himself. This 27-year-old man is a self-made billionaire who was adopted at the age of 4 after his crack whore mother died. He was also abused during those 4 years, which make him incapable of being touched. He can beat Anastasia into submission and/or have sex with her until they both pass out from exhaustion, but she cannot touch his chest (another eye roll). He is also drop dead gorgeous with a perfect sexy body. Let’s back up to his crack whore mother. Is the author aware that he was most likely a crack baby, who would have grown up with serious health issues? And yet he grows up to be smart and successful enough to create his own prosperous business? All the while being so messed up in the head by his first four years of life that he must control every woman in his life?
The last thing I will say on this book is the over abundant use of emails. When Christian and Anastasia start emailing each other, it goes on and on and on. When you start skipping ahead out of boredom, that’s a bad thing.
There are a few redeeming scenes and a sprinkling of amusing dialogue, but I just couldn’t get past how unrealistic the arrangement Christian and Anastasia find themselves in. It is never believable that he would go out of his comfort zone and give her time to adapt to his strange lifestyle, and it’s no more believable that she would agree to his bizarre terms just so she could continue to have sex with him. Only weeks pass before she is head over heels in love with him. Really? I don’t buy it…and luckily I didn’t.
So this is a warning. Do not read this if you love Twilight and want to read more about Bella and Edward. You will be disappointed. If curiosity gets the better of you, please borrow it from your local library!