Book Review: Fifty Shades trilogy by EL James

Synopsis: Ana Steele literally fell at the feet of Seattle’s richest bachelor, Christian Grey, and it was fascination at first sight. Ana compelled by his looks, intelligence, and mystery; Christian because he thought she’d make a good submissive. When innocence clashes with sexuality, the couple has to find a way to balance their budding relationship, but can love conquer even this?

Author: EL James is a British author who’s works started as fan-fiction relating to Twilight. She was quite surprised when her series became the fastest selling paperback novel, surpassing even Harry Potter. She has been named on Time magazine’s list of 100 most influential people in the world.

Format: While the novel format was good, the ebook was not. Some pages were not full, and some even only had a word or two on it. Also, the second book was actually quite obviously missing some text! I was far from impressed.

Writing Style: After reading the first page of the first book I thought the writing to be rather unskilled and cliché. It did improve as the story progressed, but still maintained some mixed metaphors and similar structural errors. The author also has a tendency to use certain word-combinations repetitively rather than providing a variety of description, and some phrases that appear to be strictly British.

Character: My favourite characters in the book were not even people, but Ana’s subconscious and inner goddess. The devil/angel antics of this pair were rather humorous, and a good part of the reason I kept reading.

Character Development: There wasn’t any growth in the characters at all.  Yes, Christian was less inclined to the extreme end of BDSM, but that was due to the self-control he had always maintained. To the end the two main characters were still struggling with self-esteem issues, something that seems like it might have been repaired between the last chapter and the epilogue.

Romance: I know little of the BDSM culture, but I find it unlikely that someone thoroughly enmeshed in it would choose a virginal college kid with no inclination of that kind to be a submissive. Outside of this, if you look at the dom/sub aspect in general terms of an obstacle requiring compromise, Ana and Christian’s relationship going from first meeting to after marriage is true to form –every couple has their struggles to make love work for them.

Point of Interest: The last book of the trilogy includes “bonus features” of additional scenes that did not fit within the books. Things like Christian’s first Christmas after adoption to the meeting between Christian and Ana from his perspective.

Personal Thoughts: I picked up this book due to it causing such a fuss in the literary community. The last time I declined to step onto the bandwagon due to wagging tongues was for Harry Potter, and I regretted not picking up a book until the series was nearly finished. I knew this series started as fan-fiction for Twilight, which I didn’t mind, and so was willing to give it the benefit of the doubt.

Quote: “Christian found himself in a situation where his methods of coping are no longer effective. Very simply, you’ve forced him to confront some of his demons and rethink. “

The Verdict: Given what I had heard of this book, I found it to be less salacious than was rumored.  It thankfully had plot, though it followed quite closely to that of Twilight without the supernatural aspects, and provided a level of escapism. Now that I have read it I can cease wondering what the draw is.  The series was not as bad as I expected, but I will quite likely never pick up a book of this trilogy again.


Author: JaimeKristal

JaimeKristal is a freelance editor and writer. She started her book review blog "Tales of a Booklover" for the enjoyment of sharing her love of reading.

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