Grey (Fifty Shades #4), by E. L. JamesI first read Fifty Shades of Grey a little over three years ago, and when I did, it sorta changed things for me. I wasn't concerned so much about the writing or the world building or the morality of Christian's actions. All I knew was that I absolutely Could. Not. Put. This. Book. Down. I read for the escapism, and this series absolutely took me away. And, it continues to do so.
Publish Date: June 18, 2015
Format: e-book, purchased
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble
Rating: 5 STARS
(From Goodreads) Christian Grey exercises control in all things; his world is neat, disciplined, and utterly empty—until the day that Anastasia Steele falls into his office, in a tangle of shapely limbs and tumbling brown hair. He tries to forget her, but instead is swept up in a storm of emotion he cannot comprehend and cannot resist. Unlike any woman he has known before, shy, unworldly Ana seems to see right through him—past the business prodigy and the penthouse lifestyle to Christian’s cold, wounded heart.
Will being with Ana dispel the horrors of his childhood that haunt Christian every night? Or will his dark sexual desires, his compulsion to control, and the self-loathing that fills his soul drive this girl away and destroy the fragile hope she offers him?
I won't bore you with a recap of the story. Provided you haven't been living under a rock for the last four years, you already know it. What you really want to know is, is Grey worth it? Worth the time and money to read?
Yeah. It is.
Grey is Fifty Shades of Grey from Christian's POV. In my opinion, this was even better than FSOG. Let's face it - Christian is the star of this series. This isn't Ana's story - it's his. It's always been. Christian is secretive and pensive and he's dealing with so much inside his head. He spends all three books fighting his inner demons in an attempt to try and make himself worthy of Ana's love. And, he's never very forthcoming with information. Is it any wonder that fans were clamoring for this story from Christian's POV?
I loved every second of Grey. It paints Christian in a totally different way. We see him more like the Christian he became in book 2. The Christian he shows the world is self-assured, dignified, confident, stoic. He's master of all he surveys. King of his ivory tower. But, internally, he's kind of a mess.
When he meets Ana, he's intrigued by the fact that she intrigues him. After they get together, and he learns more about her, he starts to redefine what he thought he wanted, or in other words, Ana's concept of "more." The thing is, the closer Christian gets to "more," the more insecure he gets. In his mind, he's always worrying about whether Ana will accept his offer, whether she'll sign, whether she's going to run. It's incredible the facade he puts up.
I got what I always said I wanted the most - to see what Christian did during those five days he and Ana were apart at the end. And it was every bit as satisfying as I hoped.
I can't imagine how hard this was for E.L. James to write. There are millions of fans out there that know FSOG inside and out, and I'm sure they would all write to her if she got an e-mail exchange between Christian and Ana wrong. I didn't sit here and compare the two versions while I read Grey (although, I'd be lying if I said I didn't think about it). I don't really care if the scenes didn't line up perfectly. She gave fans what we had been begging for, and that's the most important thing.
I always said I'd be happy with just the first book from Christian's POV, but let's face it. Now that I'm finished, I only want more. When I look ahead to the next two books, there are so many scenes absolutely key to Christian's growth - getting Ana back, hunting Leila down and then finding her, becoming "submissive Christian", letting Ana touch him, Charlie Tango's crash, the final showdown with Elena, THE WEDDING, Jack's stalking, Ana's birthday, the pregnancy news, Ana's time in the hospital, and finally, the happily ever after with Teddy and Phoebe. I want to see them all through his eyes now. It's like Grey just whetted the appetite.
You know, reading is such a subjective, personal thing. That's what makes it one of my favorite pastimes. I like what I like and so do you. We can talk about the things we like and the things we don't and know that, no matter what our feelings are on the subject matter, in the end, we have something in common - a love of the written word and of stories that take us away. I think that so many people have erected so many soap boxes lately, that this lofty view has been blocked out.
All I've heard lately in regards to the FSOG series is how it glorifies abuse and rape and that Ana is such a weak-minded woman to put up with it all. I've now read the series four? five times? (I've only read Grey once - so far.) This time, when I read it, I kept a keen eye out for these themes. Here's a shocker for ya...
THEY DON'T EXIST.
Ana is never, ever in a million years raped by Christian. Every single thing they do is done with her consent. In regards to abuse, I think there is a whole legion of people who practice the BDSM lifestyle that would disagree with that notion. Guys - we live in America. It's a free country. If a girl wants to get tied up and have the guy she loves smack her with a riding crop to get her off, more power to her!
And, I think Ana is one of the most strong, powerful female characters ever. Knowing she had nearly zero sexual experience, she willingly and openly put herself out there and tried these new, heady, kinky things with a man who intrigued her. I know enough about myself to know that I wouldn't have had the guts to do everything she did - including walk away when she felt she had to.
So, I think that all the haters out there have spent so much time sitting on top of their moral high horses that they haven't gotten laid in, like, forever, so they're feeling sexually frustrated and confused. I, for one, give mad props to E.L. James for giving fans what we asked for and for continuing to take me away to a world of hearts and flowers and kinky fuckery.