Friday, June 19, 2015

Grey (Fifty Shades #4) by EL James

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?
~My Review~

The deliciously anticipated book by E.L. James.  Grey.  Fifty Shades of Grey from Christian's point of view.  I'll admit that when she posted that this was coming out, I might have rolled my eyes. I wasn't sure what to think.  So many people were excited about the book, and while I did enjoy the trilogy, I still couldn't decide if I would read this book.  At the end of Fifty Shades Freed, we got a little glimpse into Christian's world when the first chapter of FSOG was translated into his POV.  And it was delicious.  So I decided that since I really liked that, I would take the plunge and read Grey.

I was disappointed.  I'm not going to lie.  That first chapter glimpse held so much promise - I loved seeing what Christian thought of the interview, the ways he would go about getting information (the background check), and what was going on.  However, what I really wasn't expecting was an exact replica of the first FSOG book just from another POV.  Every single scene was the same.  Every conversation, every email, every text between Ana and Christian seemed to have been copied from FSOG and pasted into Grey.  There was nothing original.  No new material.

I've read a lot of reviews.  I've seen that a lot of people loved the book and they didn't expect a whole new story.  But I can't agree with them.  I didn't expect a whole new story, but I really thought there would be better insight to Christian and what makes him tick.  It really wasn't until Ana broke up with him and left him (about 90% of the way through the book) that we finally get some insight.  We finally get some new story.  I felt that this small part of the book was the best part.  We finally get some understanding of what happened to Christian to make him the way he is.

Aside from the fact that there was no original material (everything was 'recycled,' as another reviewer said), what I really didn't like was how every single one of Christian's thoughts was spelled out whether we wanted to know or not.  It made him into a dreary, annoying fool who was just a bit annoying.  His internal monologue was almost as annoying as Ana's inner goddess.  The little thoughts that came after each scene, each conversation, was just annoying...It made it so that Christian was turned into a very simple human being instead of the amazingly smart and successful person that he's supposed to be.  It gave him Tarzan like qualities that doesn't do anything to build up his character.

It was even more surprising because in FSOG, while I thought the story was fun, I found Ana to be immature and somewhat annoying at times - but I chalked that up to the fact that she was a 21-year old recent college graduate.  However, Grey turned Christian into someone who I don't like, someone who is just as immature but in a different way.  It wasn't becoming, and while he has a boatload of issues that took him 90% of a 600 page book to get through, it just wasn't fun to read.

I hate giving negative reviews.  I hate taking a widely anticipated book and saying that I didn't enjoy it.  But the fact of the matter is that Grey is almost an exact replica of the original Fifty Shades of Grey.  With extremely little original material, I most often found myself bored and hoping something new would come along.  The last 10% of the book mildly redeemed the book, which is why I gave it two stars.  Unfortunately, this book just wasn't for me.

I'd like to quote another review that I found on Amazon.  I normally don't do this, but I really felt that what this reviewer wrote really hits home with Grey:  "What matters is is [sic] whether a re-used plot is fun to read or not.  And since this particular re-used plot wasn't fun to read, I'm obviously not going to give it a good review."

UPDATE:  There are 2 more things I would like to point out that I forgot about.  #1)  The blatant use of Google Maps.  Honestly:  I really couldn't give two hoots about which streets Christian is running and driving on.  Is it really necessary to be that specific??  We all know that you (James) live in England - how could you possibly be this familiar with the outlines of Seattle and Portland??  In the grand scheme of things, you promised a book that would give us more insight into Christian, and for the most part we just got a regurgitated story with very little new material.  We don't need the new material to be street names and running paths!  And #2)  Going along with the point that James is from England:  I had issues with the original FSOG Trilogy because of the clear uses of English English instead of American English and I found that it was even more pronounced in this book.  "I've not had sex before...." - NO!!  I haven't had sex before!  It's a difference of where to land the contraction, but it's also the difference of how Americans usually speak.  If you're going to write in first person in America, you need to write the way Americans would talk!  ::end rant::

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