Top critical review
4 people found this helpful
on 7 June 2018
Seeing this at 99p for the trilogy, I thought it was worth a look to see if it was as bad as expected/as the extracts I'd seen suggested.
Quite besides the fact that it glamorises and normalises a relationship that is at best thoroughly abusive (not to mention that it claims to portray BDSM whilst being more of a twisted caricature by someone who likely has never even read a Wikipedia page about it), it's just so. poorly. written.
This book's USP is supposedly the oh so hot sex. Um. Well quite apart from the fact it takes chapters of utter tedium to get to said sex scenes, the sex itself is just... really not very good. James doesn't appear to have a strong understanding of female anatomy, despite being a woman, and overall the sex is surprisingly vanilla, extremely repetitive, and unbelievably unimaginative as well as frequently wildly unrealistic. How a writer, given the entire world of sexual experience to explore without any limit save their own imagination, can manage to make the sex that comprises most of this novel so desperately boring and unsexy I simply do not understand.
In addition, it's poorly written to the point where, were I a proofreader, copy editor or similar on this book, I would refuse to be associated with it. Even now that it's a huge bestseller from a legitimate publisher, it still contains the phrase "his eyebrows widen in surprise" - and yes, that's one of the more egregious complaints, but that's not to ignore that the prose, like the sex, is boring, juvenile and repetitive.
I read and write fanfic alongside original fiction, and some of it is genuinely brilliant. It is such a shame that of all the pieces of fanfic to make it to the mainstream, it was this dreck that somehow became popular.
Possibly worse than the Twilight books from which it spawned, which is some kind of backwards achievement I suppose, and one of those books where I would award zero stars if I could.
If you want poorly written faux-BDSM, I assure you there is plenty available out there for free. If you want a book with any merit whatsoever... well, there is definitely plenty available for free that leaves this mess in the dust, and if you are willing to spend your hard earned pennies, you can do far, far better than this. Even at 99p, this is a pile of garbage I returned with no regrets.