Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Curmudgeon's Corner: Rant on the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy

Warning: this particular post is for mature audiences only. Contains some references to sex, and of course is about the Fifty Shades Trilogy by E. L. James, which in itself should give it an R rating. ;-)

Fifty Shades Trilogy Bundle: Fifty Shades of Grey; Fifty Shades Darker; Fifty Shades Freed
Where do I even start? This set of books really doesn't need an introduction. Everyone knows about them.

Everyone was talking about this book, so I figured three things.
1. I'm a reviewer, so I better know what books people are talking about
2. These books are heavily based on the Twilight series (yes, that is where the YA connection comes in), and started as a fanfic. The names of Bella and Edward were changed to Anastasia and Christian of course, to protect the innocent... or something.
3. I knew it would be a really fun opportunity to bash a set of books.

I'll be honest. I enjoyed the ride... to an extent. I actually read the first one cover to cover, took a deep breath and started the second. By the third, I was heavily skimming.

I'll post links to all of my reviews, but by the third review, I was hitting my stride.
Fifty Shades of Grey Amazon Review
Fifty Shades Darker Amazon Review

Just to briefly recap. My first review gave a bonus star (total of 3 out of 5) because this book is either hated or loved-- there are no neutral opinions. That takes skill-- maybe not literary skill, but a skill nonetheless. The second review talked about how these books could lead to a drinking game because it seems like the author got tired of writing and just used cut and paste. Hey, if I could do that and make as much money as she did, I would! And now for the third, which I post below...

Fifty Shades Freed Amazon Review:
Holy crap! I. Am. Done. (If this doesn't sound familiar after three books, it should)
I am freed. Yes, pun fully intended. This Fifty Shades journey is finally over, and I am greatly relieved.

This is by far the worst book of the three. Ana and Christian get married, I think, in the beginning of the book, but it is so poorly written and shifts in time between past and present so quickly that it's hard to tell. Whether it's dream or real initially, I barely cared.

Do these characters ever work? Supposedly Ana is good at her job, but she's never there because she's having sex with Christian all the time or emailing him about the sex they are going to have. Do they have anything in common, actually? This was never clear. We know that Ana is into fixing broken people, so I guess that's why they are together. But I wonder how long she's going to put up with his nonsense and overbearing attitude.

The spark of interest I had from the development of supporting characters in the second book has vanished in the start of the third, since unfortunately, the first half is fully focused on the two most boring characters-- Christian and Ana. My skimming reached an all time high. The one high point, for me, was the moment with Leila. Then we are back the Ana/Christian fest. Too bad.

Did anyone else notice that this was likely one long fan fic and split into three books to garner more money? James is undoubtedly rich at this point from the sheer number of ratings/reviews by people. There are short, sloppy chapters pasted on the beginning and end of second book and again in the third. I would have preferred these to be left off to at least pretend to build some suspense. But after the one page ending of the second book, I knew who the bad guy was. Big disappointment.

And what about the continued repetitive phrasing? If I hear "Fifty," "Holy *^&%," "Oh" in italics, "Oh my," in italics, you catch my drift, I.Am.Going.To.Lose.It. (Yes, I'm tired of the staccato phrasing as well).

The ending was cheesy and a little disturbing (SPOILER ALERT: was anyone else really disturbed when Ana and Christian lick the Popsicle off of their son's hands in the same way they've done countless times to each other??). But it's done, and I got through it all.

Now, I can gleefully talk about how awful it is in gory detail with all of my friends. Yes, that is why I gave the first review the bonus star.

How do you feel about this trilogy? Do you love it or hate it, and why?

37 comments:

  1. LOL this was a hilarious review! well said.
    new follower!

    http://thecrossbreeds.blogspot.com/

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    1. Shady Lane thanks so much for following! I really enjoyed writing these reviews :-)

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  2. Christina, you are dead-on. I swear. I read the first two bc my friend kept raving about them. But, honestly, I literally skimmed the last third of the second book just to get to the end. Now, I have the third book sitting on my shelf, but I have so many more important things to do, like read good books or focus on my own writing, rather than finish this sextopian saga.

    Thanks for the straightforward and honest review. :)

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    1. Hahaha, thanks so much for your comment. I'm glad I wasn't the only one who felt this way!

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  3. I've been wondering too about reading this series—I read "Twilight" to know what the hype was all about, after all. But I'm really hesitant. Besides, if I am to read a book full of sex scenes, I want it (and them) to be good. I'm not even sure with that one?

    (Uhm, I think I'd probably find that popsicle scene a little... disturbing, yes.)

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    1. The popsicle scene was SOOO disturbing!!! The initial scene was okay, but it just became repetitive.

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  4. You are a braver person than I am. By the time I finished the first book, I already had a few bald spots on my head. I only started the book because I read it was a Twilight fanfic. Yes, I loved the Twilight books. Not the last one though. You can stone me, I'll still like them...lol Anyway, I was already pulling my hair by the end of the first chapter. I only started the second one to see if she had truly become "smart", but, um, yeah. I gave up after the first sex scene, which was boring, and more of what had happened in the first book.

    Great rant and review.

    P.S. I rated the book one because a zero isn't on there.

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    1. Thanks so much for your terrific comments. I think it's totally okay that you liked the Twilight series. Many people agree with you. But Fifty Shades is in a totally different category and not even original :-) I think I definitely lost brain cells making my way through these books!

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  5. I have got to read this trilogy. I thought it sounded so good, pre-hype. And then my girlfriend read it, & she loathed it. Since then I've seen almost all negative reviews, & I have to get in on this action lol

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  6. Lord, I commend you. I skimmed the first book and never bothered with the rest. BUT, if this series gets mostly illiterate suburban housewives reading then I'm all for it.

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  7. Good grief, you have more guts than I do. I'm not sure if I'd be able to read these books if you paid me. I did see that there's a parody of the book called Fifty Shades of Earl Grey, now that I might be able to get through!

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  8. I'm still trying to finish the third book and I'm pretty sure who the bad guy is.

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  9. I havent rea dthis series ive heard alot about it but honestly if it has any sort of bridge to the dela with twilight sorrry that was enough of atwiste dstalker morbid saga dont need another ty for ur rant

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  10. I have read this book, the first one. I was horrified when I finished reading the book. I don't know why so many people give it five stars, to me it's like Fifty Shade of Meh. the plot, immature characters and the writing with so many repetition, soo bad :/

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  12. OK, so I read the first book, gave it zero stars. I hated that the character was so wimpy, weak, etc. that she was so easily manipulated by Grey. Went on to read the second ones which I found to get better due to actually having a storyline, and better character development. I found myself fast forwarding on my kindle through the many pages of sex, after awhile it became boring and routine. I felt it actually messed with a good story. Not at all impressed, and I find it interesting they are going to make a movie out of it. Really!!! I guess the old adage sex sells anything is true. Thanks for the rant.

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  13. I've only read the first one, and while there were times I didn't want to put it down, there were other times when another book I was reading at the same time interested me more. I've heard the second book is better than the first. The first book is okay, but I'm not raving about it like a lot of people seem to be. If I had read "my inner goddess" one more time, I was about to throw the book out the window!! lol I agree with Kretch1--Ana is totally wimpy and easily manipulated.

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  14. Jen Boehme
    I love this review! I have not read the series yet, but know I want to read the first and it's not important if I ever get to the last 2.

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  15. This rant is awesome. I give you ALOT of credit. I could never stomach this stuff. Just wow. I've read some excerpts but I didn't know all the gory details. I didn't even know they got married or had a kid. Man, imagine how scarred that kid's gonna be. Yikes.

    But seriously thanks for the rant! LOL. :)

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  16. I couldn't bring myself to read these books, even as a reviewer. Although, I feel like I've read them on account of reading equal amounts of reviews about them. I applaud your perseverance on getting through all three. There's always going to be trash in any genre of art and literature, but it was a sad day when 50 Shades became the most sold paperback ever in the history of the UK. I feel like the popularity of this books is a reflection on how sick and messed up our society/relationships have become.
    Nice rant :)

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  17. Ha, love this rant!! I've not read it & I don't want to. I can't see why people like this rubbish. How can it even be considered a book =( When I see people talking about 50 shades in a positive light, I was to slap them...It's really hard not to. =S

    x

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  18. Funny. I find more enjoyment out of reading the rants than the books. I will probably never read this trilogy (unless someone hands them off to me for free) even then I probably wouldn't. I didn't even get through the first Twilight. No way can I make it through the bootleg revamped sexed version.

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  19. I have not as yet read the fifty shades trilogy, hence why i was interested to read your review and thoughts on it. There has been so much hype surrounding these books by EL James, i wanted to know more. Thank you for your honesty on this remarkable trilogy.

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  20. I haven't read the trilogy yet..but I am looking forward to it. I have heard a lot of mixed opinions on this series so I really can't say if I like it or not. I'll have to read it for myself to figure that answer out. But, I do appreciate your honesty about the books. So thank you for that! :D

    ~ Maida @ Literary Love Affair 

    New Follower! :)

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  21. I haven't read any of the book yet.. and I love your ranting.. I have skimmed twilight series though..part of the job :)) but was not fun of it.. if this fifty shades of grey was basically based on twilight series.. I think i might not read it at all. thanks for the review and rants.. :) helps a lot.. i shall admit, it is really a popular book. seen a lot of students reading and carrying it in school rather than reading their text books..

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  22. Well, I attemped to ready the first one back when it was first getting popular. I made it less then one third of the way in before I was bored to death.

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  23. I haven't read it yet, but lately I get kind of negative vibes regarding this trilogy... I will think twice before starting it...

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  24. (This comment may contain some spoilers!,just warning you!)
    Honestly, I hadn't really thought about how I felt about 'Fifty Shades Freed' but after reading this review I have put some more thought into it and I have to say I kind of agree with you. I also think that the start of this book was quite sloppy, I didn't like the way James kept swapping from the past and the present.
    On the other hand, I did thoroughly enjoy other parts of the book, such as the part where Ana 'broke-up' with Christian. I enjoyed reading about the conflicting emotions Ana was feeling about having to lie to him. And, yes, I must admit I enjoyed it when Christian came to the rescue like her knight in shining armour, I'm sure that's just my romantic side leaking out though!
    By contrast, I didn't like how angry he was with her when she woke up in hospital, surely he would be acting more relieved to have her back safe and therefore acting more gentle with her?
    Anyways, I have to thank you for your review because it really made me think about and question this book more than I normally would have.

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  25. I haven't read this series and don't plan to but I always love to read a good Fifty Shades rant and what others think, especially when it's a negative responce. Also: I hate when they split series up into multiple books when it's not needed but only to make more money. So annoying!

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  26. Love or hate?
    Well... maybe it's too much to say that I hate ,,Fifty shades trilogy" but I was terribly disappointed after reading it.
    ,,Fifty Shades of Grey/ Darker” is very easy to read, doesn't require a lot of attention and focus. It's quite addictive, I was personally curious about what will happen with this ,,unusual” relationship. So, this is everything that is good about this story. Other things are just awful. Plot, characters, writing.
    It's really poorly written and whole story could be closed in two books.
    Oh, I hate Christian Grey so much. He isn't a bad boy, he's a psychopath.

    Here's my full reviews, scroll down and you'll find English versions ;)
    http://room6277.blogspot.ie/2012/08/fifty-shades-of-grey-e-l-james.html
    http://room6277.blogspot.ie/2012/08/fifty-shades-darker-e-l-james.html

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  27. I totally agree with you on Freed, I hated the ending.. I did like the first 2 books. However as far as related to Twilight, I understand thats how it started out... but relating it to twilight just brought in the wrong crowd of young teenage girls who don't need to be reading GRAPHIC stories like this! And the popsicle thing, gross. Let me not get started, lol. (Even though this is a rant page)! :)
    -Beth [YA Vixens]

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  28. While a hilarious review, I must disagree. This was created from a Twilight fan fiction, so I don't see why everyone expects so much. She's obviously Bella, he's a version of Edward.... SO MUCH OBVIOUS TWILIGHT. That being said, I think the writer did a great job of making it *not* be quite as Twilight as it could have been. There were quite a few scenes that had me blushing and while the character was dumb as a brick, she lucked out as far as I'm concerned. lol

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  29. I've never wanted to read it, because it falls into so many cliches I can't stand: repressed woman needing domineering guy to show her the light, the idea that people who are into BDSM are broken in some way...it just feels very disrespectful all around.

    --Trix

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  30. I have read a lot of reviews and heard a lot about the book. The thing is most of them are saying that the book is worst than Twilight which means it's not good. But some of my friends who seldom reads (really really really seldom)
    enjoyed the book. So I plan not to read the book and don't mind missing out what's with book.

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  31. Let me just start this off by saying I'm only 17, but pretty mature for that... I just finished this trilogy and I honestly loved it. I took a lot more out of it than just the abundance of sex in it. There was something deeper than that for me. I'm not at all harsh when I criticize books so that could be why I enjoyed it so much. I do agree the writing was really repetitive and all that, but I do think the story line was pretty good... I thought the ending was adorable, although now that you mention it, the licking off the popsicle was a little odd... But overall, I really enjoyed the trilogy! So many people give it such a negative review because of the eroticism, but I think the story behind it is what makes it good. I think Christian and Ana both developed and changed appropriately throughout the trilogy and THAT is what it is supposed to be about.

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  32. My vote goes to book ripping. I started reading the series because of all the hype and was very disgusted when I reached the end of the first book and it seemed as if the author (or someone) just took the book and tore it into pieces (perhaps the editor said, "Cut it down or change it into a series.") Then, when I was done I wondered why anyone would buy it. I've read better... much better. Someone pushed this series, even libraries bought it. I have been wondering if the whole book promotion was to bring BDSM and Erotic novels out of the closet and into the open where everyone will see them. Suddenly they are everywhere.

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  33. It has been a while since I read these. But I felt the same, 'Yay! I'm free!' feeling when I finished. It was in essence, okay. The characters surprised me with the development and a bit of plot.

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