Book Review of “Grey” by E.L. James

I read Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James when it was simply Master of the Universe by Snowqueens Icedragon on Fanfiction.net. When it was published in its own form without the Twilight characters, I bought all three novels and read them about a year or so later. Did I love the books? Not really. Did they make my favorite books list? Not even close. Did I enjoy them? To a certain extent. I don’t hate them—not at all. I don’t love them either. I ride a thin line with these books. I enjoy them well enough, but I’m not in love with them, nor do I think they’re overall that great. I just enjoy it for what it is—a story about two people having a lot of sex, one of whom is extremely naïve, and the other who has issues and likes kink.

Typically, I love reading a man’s point of view. Whenever the main male character’s point of view is published in a separate book, I always buy it. Always. I love to read the male’s take on what happened in a situation or relationship because it is almost always better than the original book. When I found out that the first book of this trilogy, Fifty Shades of Grey, was being published in Christian’s point of view, I’ll admit I was excited. I thought it would be infinitely better and we’d finally get to see that Christian was a good person underneath his issues and love of kinky sex.

I, unfortunately, was disappointed in Grey.

I liked this book well enough. On Goodreads, I gave it 3 out of 5 stars. I didn’t love it though, and I found myself disappointed in many, many parts.

I wasn’t exactly sure how to write this review, because while there were parts that I did thoroughly enjoy (I mean, I read the book in a little more than a day), there were parts that made me cringe. So, I’ve decided to create a pros and cons list describing what I enjoyed versus what could’ve been improved.

Cons:

1. Christian comes off as more of an asshole than what he appeared when Ana was narrating, and I absolutely hate that he did. I was expecting to see more of his jealousy and possessiveness, more of his feelings toward her. Instead, he seemed a bit standoffish, as if he didn’t care at all. When reading Ana’s POV, by Christian’s language, I thought he was truly in love with her from the get go, even though I knew he had issues from his past. However, in Grey, Christian quickly let us know that his words, most of the time, were controlled. What he said to her was carefully constructed, so the entire time, I wondered if his feelings for her were even true. It made it seem like Christian was only interested in Ana for the chase—something he mentioned in the novel, as well. It didn’t sit well with me. It still doesn’t.

2. His thoughts at times weren’t very descriptive. Since Christian is obviously an intelligent and complex man, I was expecting elaborate thoughts and complex details about his life and his thoughts and his feelings. But this wasn’t the case. Everything was kind of choppy and vague. I wanted more. I wanted him to feel and think and express more.

3. This kind of correlates with point one, but sometimes I wasn’t sure that he even liked Ana. It seemed as though his feelings toward her, when he did express them, contrasted with something that he’d said before. It was like a roller coaster, truly, trying to keep up with what exactly he was feeling toward her. I got the feeling, as stated before, he was only interested in the chase of her and simply got used to her being there.

4. Christian frequently thought to himself (which I’m assuming was the “monster” in him that he spoke of frequently), and these thoughts (which were represented in italics) were a little unsettling. They were constantly telling Christian (or he was telling himself) to control his emotions and feelings and to shut Ana down and luring him to the darkness within him. If you’ve read this, you’ll know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, doesn’t it sound kind of unsettling? It was for me.

Now, onto the pros.

Pros:

1. The end of the book. Oh my God. This made the book for me. The last fifty pages (where Ana leaves Christian) was the absolute best part of the book. I finally got what I wanted from Christian during the entire book. His feelings toward Ana finally came through. It was during these pages that I finally felt his love for her. He finally expressed that he needed her and he missed her. The monster finally left and Christian had arrived. It was the Christian I thought would be present during the entire book. I wish there would’ve been more of this Christian.

2. I got to see what Christian actually does for a living. In the original book, it just seems as though Christian is rich and does nothing. You kind of get a feel of that in this book, but at least now, I know exactly what he does. He buys companies that are shot to hell (basically), either acquires it, gets it running again, and becomes even richer, or liquidates it and sells it, also becoming richer. Either way, he’s rich (and that’s sort of appealing, I won’t lie).

3. I got to see more of Elliot, Christian’s brother, and I loved that. I loved Elliot. He was so charming and lovable, or at least what we got to see of him was. There was a bit more of Christian’s office staff, and his views of Mrs. Robinson (which was a bit disturbing). Overall, it rounded out the story a bit more.

4. Even though I didn’t enjoy Christian’s asshole tendencies, I did enjoy his thoughts, rude as they were at times. It helped me get to know him as a person and a character in this controversial series.

5. Besides the last fifty pages, my second favorite part was reading Christian’s dreams and nightmares. It gave me so much insight to his rough childhood. It really brought into perspective just how messed up his entire life has been.

I can say I enjoyed the book for what it was, but my expectations were not met. I was disappointed, possibly because I thought this would be better than the original. However, I think I would prefer to read the second book of the trilogy, Fifty Shades Darker, and possibly even the third, Fifty Shades Freed, in Christian’s POV. That’s when we get the Christian that is more loving and affectionate. That’s where we get the Christian that was in the last fifty pages of Grey.

If you’ve read this book, what did you think? Did you enjoy it? Do you agree with my pros and cons list? Let me know!

 

 

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