Fifty Shades Trilogy: Fifty Shades of Grey – Book Review (EL James)

The Fifty Shades trilogy, whose three books are currently are the top three sellers in the United States, is anything but tame. The first book, titled Fifty Shades of Grey, should have been titled Fifty Shades of Scarlet. That’s how your face will be while reading it – especially if there’s someone peaking at your copy.

Ana Steele is a soon-to-be college graduate in her early twenties who’s asked by her best friend, Kate, to go and interview a self-made young enigmatic billionaire named Christian Grey at the HQ of his company. Knowing nothing about him, the interview isn’t exactly top notch. But it works well enough for Christian to develop an interest in Ana, who reciprocates the feeling.

What Ana doesn’t know is that Christian Grey is controlling, seriously into BDSM, with a playroom in his huge Seattle apartment, and who wants Ana to be his submissive beyond anything he’s ever wanted before.

Fifty Shades of Grey is carnal. There’s nothing that happens in the 500-pages book apart from the two main characters having sex all the time. The sex scenes are also graphically detailed. Fifty Shades of Grey is porn on paper.

Ana Steele is so one-dimensional as a character that she can’t even remotely draw you in. For a self-proclaimed virgin who can’t wait to be deflowered by Christian, she sure develops an insatiable need for sex. Her character is so shallow that the few moments where she appears to be different are marred by what immediately follows: her relapsing into the girl/women who can’t but seek Christian’s approval. The words “oh my” are present at every sentence to signal her astonishment as she explores the boundaries of her body, reveling in the eroticism of it all. Her “inner-goddess” never gets enough. And it quickly becomes grating.

Christian’s need, on the other hand, is never fully explained. While he is the more interesting character, the potential complexity is barely touched, never delved in. He’s left to his rough exterior, barely ruffled. And if Ana’s needy for sex, she can barely keep up with Christian who never seems to get enough. It eventually becomes repetitive, not adding anything to the story but useless pages to increase the book’s spine.

Fifty Shades of Grey doesn’t manage to go five shades deep, it remains afloat, blowing you, no pun intended, with sex scene after another, after another and then some. It’s a shallow, useless read. It’s repetitive beyond imagination. The characters initiate intercourse using the same gestures: biting their lips, cocking their heads to the side… that you get to smell it coming, no pun intended – again, from a mile away. The success of this book baffles me. I am not a reader of erotic fiction and I don’t think I’ll ever be. But if an erotic book at least had a plot to support it, I can comprehend people going for it. Fifty Shades of Grey has nothing in it.

I pity the person who had to do the audiobook for this.



28 thoughts on “Fifty Shades Trilogy: Fifty Shades of Grey – Book Review (EL James)

  1. I guess it is better to watch it as movie 🙂 (kidding). I’m gonna trust you and not waste my time on it.

  2. While yes, Ana’s over use of “Oh my” and “inner goddess” was cheesy, I liked this book. I think the media/critics focused only on the BDSM and nothing else. which in the end got millions of people to do exactly what they wanted and read the book. But actual S&M did not have as big a part to play. Yes, there were spankings and tieing up and control, but a lot of people go in for that without the whips and leather.

    • I said that the book had too much sex in it, not BDSM while it had that as well.
      My problem is, as I said, that almost nothing happens in the book apart from the two of them sleeping with each other. Whenever the story get going for a brief page, they end up in bed.
      I understand that’s the purpose of the novel. However, a little backbone to the story would have helped.

      • I think you are expecting too much from it. It did, after all, start out as a fanfic based on twilight, and end up a woman’s published mid-life crisis.

        • Really? That’s the first time I hear of this. I read it because I saw its 3 books as top sellers everywhere so I got them on my iPad. But I expected them to at least have a story.

  3. Sounds like 9 1/2 weeks…which I truly enjoyed the movie. But there is only so much about sex and the act of it (in whatever form) that can carry a book! There has to be something else to support it… the whys and hows, paths that led the characters to make the decisions they make. Since the office is talking about it, probably buy a used copy and pass it around…

  4. I agree completely with this review. No character development, no plot, weak heroin and a rich, tall, wounded male interest, it’s a pumped up Harlequin. The only reason I kept reading is to see if “Grey”s dark secrets would in the end be revealed and/or sorted out, and, of course, because so many people are reading it, I felt left out of the discussion. It’s not that I mind all the sex, but it is missing everything else. I will read the second and third books, and hope that there will be more meat in them. I have already started the second, and find myself skimming through the redundant sex scenes.

    • I chosed to read this book unreviewed because I just wanted to read something while recovering from surgery. I concurr with your review 100% and I too am thinking of just skipping to the final book just perhaps get some answers . I don’t have high hopes of getting any satisfaction. By the way read the “The story of “O” which is far superior to this trash!

  5. Pingback: Fifty Shades Trilogy: Fifty Shades Darker – Book Review (EL James) « A Separate State of Mind | A Lebanese Blog

  6. Is it available in saudi ? Haha I kid,I kid… 🙂 actually I read about this book in last month’s issue of Newsweek in which they had an article about the modern career woman’s obsession with S&M and submissive sex .. “the fantasies of sexual surrender offer an escape from the hard work of equality” it says. The article is super interesting ill send it to u Elie! It’s connection to the position of women in society today is an intriguing subject to study !

    • I didn’t buy these books 😉 so if you search “well” enough, you’ll find them. Even in the confines of 2012 going on dark ages Saudi Arabia.

      The article sounds interesting. But I think it’s reading way – WAY – too much into it :p

  7. Hi,
    I am amazed that so many people can right it off at the say so of complete strangers.
    Having not read it as yet my only comment todate is ‘can’t knock it to you try it’ and without reading it how on earth can you make a comment upon something you have absolutely no knowledge or infomation on other than what you have heard, or read on here!

    ….Come on people you obviously like reading otherwise you wouldn’t be on this sight in the first place, and bdsm might not be you thing, but it still does not give anyone the right to condemn it or judge it before reading it! & being the fact its a best seller & beating its own sales preformance, can all those people be wrong? If so charity book shelves will be heavy in the future!!
    Comment by all means, but at least attempt to read it first before making any….

    Back soon, (awaiting all to come into stock as want the complete triology)

  8. It normally takes me about 3 months to read a book but I read the trilogy in 2 weeks. Once I started I couldn’t put them down. Now I’ve finished I’m even thinking about reading them again! LOVED these books!! It’s not all about the sex (although that helped 🙂 ) – it had a really good story and was totally addictive. Everybody I’ve spoken to agrees.


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