FIFTY SHADES OF GREY
Fans of sizzling hot, tortured heroes will devour this first entry in James’ Fifty Shades trilogy, starring the emotionally distant yet utterly compelling Christian Grey. While James deftly builds the chemistry between billionaire Christian and college student Ana Steele, fans of BDSM erotica that are familiar with the subgenre may find James’ tale a bit tame and slow-paced. However, new readers will be hooked by Christian and Ana’s witty repartee, increasingly complex relationship and the hints about Christian’s dark past that explain his penchant for bondage. James initially penned the story as steamy Twilight series fan fiction, and while the protagonists certainly bear resemblance to Edward and Bella, by the end of the novel, Christian and Ana are surprisingly unique characters. While Ana’s inner dialogue often becomes repetitive and a tad too angsty for some readers, watching Christian’s control begin to unravel as the couple explores their shared interest makes it all worth the wait.
To help a sick friend, college senior Anastasia Steele agrees to interview 27-year-old billionaire Christian Grey for her school newspaper. After what seems like an awful interview, slightly awkward Ana is shocked when Christian appears a few days later at the hardware store where she works—buying rope, cable ties and masking tape. It is not many more run-ins before Christian reveals why Ana would be wise to stay away: He’s never been intimate with a woman outside of a BDSM context. Over the course of several dates and many clever email exchanges, Christian and Ana’s relationship continues to grow, and Christian eventually introduces Ana what she dubs his “Red Room of Pain.” While Ana struggles to understand his need to dominate, Christian slowly finds himself admiring Ana’s strength and intelligence. Yet the pair finds happily ever after hard to reach, due to Christian’s inability to overcome the demons of his past and Ana’s inability to break through his emotional reserve. (Self-Publish, May 2011, dl., $9.99)
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