By: Melissa Berne
Note: There are minor spoilers.
I was reluctant to read E. L. James’ book “Fifty Shades of Grey.” I didn’t like the premise of the story to be honest. I had read a summary of the first book that basically said, girl meets drop dead gorgeous boy, boy is a tortured soul, girl is a virgin who must sign a contract to be his. Needless to say, it was not appealing to me. Although I didn’t want to read the book, I was accosted by fans–friends and family–to give it a shot and so I did.
Throughout much of the first book, I didn’t like it. Yes, the sex scenes are very steamy but I was put off by the characters. That is to say, Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey.
Ana, as she likes to be called, has this quiet strength that doesn’t come to surface enough. She is immediately taken with the enigmatic Grey without really getting to know him and I thought it was very shallow. That’s because James lets you know how unbelievably handsome this man is every other paragraph. Ana is an innocent who lets a very arrogant Grey wrap her around his finger.
The sequel, “Fifty Shades Darker,” was a better read because I ended up liking the characters much more. Through initial heartache, Anastasia Steele is able to see clearly what she wants and needs from this man. When she is reunited with Grey she communicates more by speaking her mind, which differs from the first book where she was more reserved with her feelings. As a result, she becomes a stronger woman and, to my pleasure, more and more defiant to the control freak that is Christian Grey. The more Ana challenges him the more exasperated and turned on he gets. Grey has spent much of his adult life avoiding feelings and only having sexual relationships with women. He has never wanted “more” until Ana. He grows stronger as well, going from being emotionally shutdown to falling in love with Anastasia without even realizing it. She slowly brings him out of his self-loathing, dark place by making him realize that he is worthy of love.
The further I read into the book, I realized Grey is a fragile human being. Spending his formative years under terrible circumstances, as an adult he has an obsession with needing to control every aspect of his life. He is terrified of the unknown and unexpected, so that’s why he sets rules. But when he met Ana the rules were out the window. He picks up the pieces of his broken soul little by little through the journey with the one woman who loves him unconditionally. “Fifty Shades Darker,” is a dark, twisted story, but a love story nonetheless.
As far as James’ writing, it’s very repetitive. It’s like I get it, Christian is the hottest male on the planet. No need to drill it in the reader’s mind every other time he is gazing at Anastasia with a blazing gray stare. Also, a thesaurus might have done James good to deter constant word choices: tantalizing, mercurial, heady, astride, and beguile are words that I will forever associate with these books. All in all “Fifty Shades Darker,” was a good read. The sequel is better as the characters grow and we delve deeper into Christian Grey’s psyche.
Publisher: Vintage Books
Genre: Fiction, Erotica, Romance
Release Date: April 17, 2012
Series: Book 2 of 3