Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Grey by EL James

I found this book to be both intriguing and off-putting. It's the retelling of E.L. James first book, 50 Shades of Grey, with the addition of the first few chapters of her second book, 50 Shades Darker. The original books were told from Ana's point view. This story is told from Christian's. The storyline and dialogue follow the budding romance between a recent college graduate and a multi-billionaire, emotionally screwed up, man. It's a fictional story that has been given a lot of bad press for everything from promoting abuse to poor writing skills. This book will fair no differently in the review department.

Much of the dialogue is cut and paste from the previous books, which is great for continuity but leaves the reader feeling like they have read the same thing over and over. Additionally, there are sections that feel like they are just fluff. Having the entire contract written out is a good example. I can just see over-eager young men printing this out and saying "Here's my contract." It would be funny except we all know at least one guy is going to do it. There are other sections were it seems that Christian is living up to most of the negative comments that readers have put forth about him. Particularly at the end when he lets his emotions overwhelm him and doesn't logically think about his responsibilities as a dominant or as a person.

On the good side, the story does give a lot more insight into Christian and who he is. I enjoyed reading the dream sequences and discovering how he views himself in relation to everything around him. Even though some were disturbing it helped to make his character make sense. Some of the explanations were not well thought out and read almost as if Christian is 3 or 4, not a grown adult. Most of the dreams are from his childhood and it almost feels like the author had trouble switching from child Christian to adult Christian.

There were several conversations with his staff that we were not privy to in the previous books because Ana only comes in at the end, or isn't there at all. At times these felt like filler material. Not necessary for the story. At other times they helped to address some of the critiques from the earlier books. A few helped to develop the minor characters, which I found interesting. It would be an interesting study to read the two side by side to see how perspective can be vastly different. Rather than the, often hated, inner conversations that Ana had, Christen's thoughts are more plainly written. There are sections where his thoughts seem to show up solely as a way to make the reused dialogue more interesting.

The books ends on a hopeful note, which leads me to believe that the author does not intend to continue rewriting the other books from Christian's point of view. Like some others, I would have loved for this book to encompass the entire story from his viewpoint but I do like that it ended better than the first book. Overall I appreciated reading the same story from another perspective. While I can now understand Christian's point of view better the book left me feeling wanting. Others in the genre usually leave me with a sense that the characters are in love and joy. While this left me hopeful, it wasn't as much for Christian and Ana's relationship as it was that Christian would find a way to heal himself so that he could move forward as a person.

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