Wednesday, September 19, 2012

50 Shades of Grey Review

I wasn't going to write a review for these books. As I read other reviews, I've found that you either love them or hate them, and most people who haven't read them are adament about not reading them. It's personal and reading them would be an assault to their well-being. Whatever. I hope that my reviews will introduce you to a book or author you maybe haven't heard of, and unless you live under a rock, you've heard of 50 Shades of Grey. I wanted to read the trilogy to see what all the hype way about. With so many people talking about them, I didn't like being left out of the loop. It's been a couple of weeks since reading them and I can no longer resist adding my opinion to the fray. As most people know by now, 50 Shades was written as Twilight fan fiction. E. L. James, or maybe the 50 publishers, took down the origina, but I'm sure if you Google it, you can find it on the web somewhere. Twilight was another book you either loved or hated. If you loved Edward and Bella, I suspect you will love Christian and Ana. If you didn't like the Twilight couple, well, you're most likely one of those personally offeded by the idea of reading this book. Overall I thought 50 Shades was a good story. I liked Christian. In the beginning he was just a sick bastard, but by book #2, I realized that I was sympathic towards him. I may or may not have developed a book crush on our resident sadist. I admit to nothing. I enjoyed most of the secondary characters as well. They were a welcome distraction from the heavy moodiness that is Ana and Christian. Without a doubt the emails were my favorite parts of the whole trilogy. I got more entertainment from those brief emails that I did from the dialogue in all 3 books combined. The emails were the only time I found Ana to be witty, charming and well, likable. And Ana is a good place to start with what I dislike about the books. Merge Ana with Dustin Hoffman in Rainman. Now picture this hybrid coming down off a crack high. You now have a small idea of what Ana is like. It's hard to believe that a college student, especially with a literature major, has such a small, childish vocabulary. She's just a virginal, inexperienced little twit, who dares to want to be treated smarter than she actually is. And she kept repeating herself like Rainman too. As much as I enjoyed the email exchanges, I hated Ana's subconscious and inner goddess. At first I thought the 2 entities were interchangable, then I realized that they were 2 different "personalities". Really, it's Ana who needed a shrink, not Christian. I wanted to throw my Kindle several times when her inner goddess or subconscious showed up on the pages. I still can't decide if I found it more annoying or ridiculous. At one point her subscoious (or maybe it was her inner goddess, who cares?) was reading Charles Dickens. Really?! I found Christian and his Dom/sub issues a lot less disturbing. I wanted to flog her inner goddess/subscious--and NOT in a good way! My biggest problem with this book is that it needed a good editor to go over it. This could have been an entertaining stand alone novel, instead it was a long, drawn out, sometimes painful to read, trilogy. A great editor could have given the plot some direction. Ana and Christian was a good love story, but there needed to be more conflict. The same problem over and over became boring and redundant. Towards the end of book #2, I got excited because it looked like an interesting storyline was going to be introduced, but it turned out to be nothing and we were back to the same ol', same ol'. While I do understand that this is primarily the story of Christian and Ana, even Twilight had the Volturi, Victoria and Jacob to spice up the story al little. A good editor would have gone through three red pens crossing out all of the stupid and repetitive phrases, such as how many times Ana stared at her knotted fingers. Or when she referred to "his happy trail" (that line of hair that runs from a man's navel to...there! Or "oh my man can kiss". Or "you're so ready" which Christian said every time he touched Ana...there! Instead of "mommy porn" (which is a silly phrase itself), I felt like I was reading the diary of an adolesant girl. Which is weird because James used such words like apoplectic and punctilious, surely her thesauras offered alternative words for vagina other than...there! The same script for the sex scenes got boring. The format rarely changed. It was especially annoying that Christian would say "come" and poof! like magic, just the sound of his voice was enough feel it...there! and throw her into an orgasam. Or maybe she's so mindless that she needed him to tell her when she's supposed to come. Or maybe I'm just jealous that I've never met a man who could do that to me by just uttering a single word. Whatever. Good editing would have caught the British phrasing. James is British, her characters are not, yet a British "accent" kept creeping into the dialogue. While she never said "bloody hell" or "I need to use the loo", it was still there. I read a review that mentioned this also, so I'm not alone on that one. A decent editor would have eliminated the constant echoing of words. For example, Ana would say, "Oh Fifty" and a line or two later we got, " Ana." Or "You are so beautiful, Mrs Grey", then we got "You are so beautiful Mr Grey." Normally a couple echoing each others words is endearing, but after a dozen times of that I wanted to punch them both in their faces. Hard! Then we have the music. It's my understanding that you can go to YouTube and find a playlist of all the songs James mentioned in the book. Again I say, Whatever. An author mentioning a couple of songs is cool, E. L. James was bragging about her wide and eclectic knowledge of music. Whatever again. A good editor would have caught the inconsistent expectations of the book. The contract was a bit disturbing, a bit over the top actually, but nothing in the books came close to that experience. He spanked her. Blah, blah, blah. The contract, heck, even the blurb on the back of the books, hinted at something exciting, a bold novel, but honestly, we got nothing. It was hughly disappointing. And it's just hard to believe that Christian as young as he is has it that together. Despite my book crush, he ain't that hot. Even for a Dom, he was kind of an a-hole so you're left to wonder if those women are just that dumb. My female parts...there! are offended. Since this started out as fan fic, a mediocre editor, most likely would have read Twilight and made notes so that when necessary, similarities to Twilight could be changed. Remember the restaurant scene where Bella is ignored by the waitress who is awed by Edward, but he only has eyes for Bella? Insert that into 50 Shades, changing a couple of words. I.Kid.You.Not. So many more similarities that could have been changed. We have the brooding, more mature male who seems to know what the female is thinking, but is still confused by what she says and does. The female is stupid and weak and needs this man more than brains or sanity. Her mother is kind of spacey and married to a guy who finally might be the yin to her yang. Christian, like Edward, plays sad, haunting music on the piano. He's adopted by an awesome family whom he has always held himself aloof from. His sister instantly wants to be Ana's BFF. This adopted family is so grateful to Ana for bringing Edward Christian out of his funk. Ana is constantly described as clumsy, yet after falling into his office during the meeting, I can't remember her falling again in the books. Ana's best male buddy is in love with her and the first time we meet him, his dad, who also happens to be old buddies with Ana's dad, is in a wheelchair. Wasn't Jacob's dad in a wheelchair? Wow. then parts of the book were just stupid and weird. The most glaring example is Ana not being able to pee with Christian in the bathroom. This is the same guy who yanked out your nasty tampon (yeah, that's just nasty) and flogged you, but you're shy about peeing when he's in the bathroom? Even when he turns his back? Please. I have mixed feelings about the shorts at the end. I liked the telling of their meeting from Christian's point of view. 50 Shades entirely from Christian's POV would have been intriguing. Ana's just stupid. I did not like Christian's first Christmas. At all. It was supposed to sound like a child talking, but he sounded like Dustin Hoffman's Rainman as a child. I just wanted to Tom Cruise my fist all over his face. So while I have a crush on adult Christian, young Christian would have me catching a case for punching his teeth out. I'm going to Hades for that, I already know. James is a good storyteller, but only an ok writer. I largely blame her editors (or lack of?) for pushing forth these books. After reading, I'm inclined to believe that James used some connections from her producing career to get the hype going on this book. I've read many erotica books that are a million times better. As it stands, 50 Shades of Grey had me rolling my eyes so much that Christian would have been tap dancing on Cloud 9!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Dark Lover in 10 Sentences or Less

I recently read Dark Lover by J.R. Ward. How could I not? With all the yakking about 50 Shades, this book often was mentioned as a "If you liked, then try" books. I've heard about this series before, so it was already on my TBR list. Well, I didn't like 50 shades, but I did like Dark Lover. Coming so soon off of 50 Shades, I had to force myself to not be over critical, and the character names(Rhage, Wrath, Zsadist, etc), and the damsel in distress were blatently obvious and a bit irksome, but overall, this was a very enjoyable book. The storyline isn't all that original (really, how many ways can you say that boy meets damsel, boy saves damsel while trying to deny his true feelings, but ultimately they give in and live happily ever after?), but the journey to the happily ever after was fun. I will continue with the series because I want more of Zsadist. I just hope that the women become stronger characters and not weaklings always in need of protecting.