Unless you’ve been seriously tied up for the last few weeks, you must have come across the erotic fiction sensation that is Fifty Shades of Grey. The first book in a trilogy by E.L. James (pseudonym), tracing the story of protagonists Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele as they embark on a BDSM relationship.
Christian Grey is the rich sugar daddy / dominant master – mysterious, charismatic and charming; whilst Anastasia Steele, is the young, innocent student being sucked into the world of submissiveness. The tale begins all very ordinary and tame, slowly building up as Christian and Anastasia get closer together, with more of Christian’s BDSM lifestyle and dark past coming to light.
E.L. James’s writing style is relaxed and competent, don’t expect a Booker prize winner here, but do expect an easy and enjoyable read. Occasionally E.L. James’s language borders on twee, notably the innumerable references to Anastasia’s ‘inner goddess’, which gets cringe-worthy quickly. My e-book copy was in dire need of some editing on some chapters, with some inexcusable spelling and grammar mistakes. The later two books are much better in this respect.
Where this novel differs from much erotic fiction, is the plot – it is well thought out, captivating and like a perfect fantasy. Albeit it is somewhat predictable (for anyone not new to BDSM), but that is part of the charm. With the story entirely told through Anastasia, the reader is left to fathom Mr. Grey, just as Anastasia is. The epilogue of the third book, Fifty Shades Freed, actually has some small passages written through the eyes of Mr. Grey, as a young boy and mirroring the scene where the couple first meet from this book.
This fantasy story flows effortlessly, pulling you from one steamy encounter to the next. It is easy to forgive the amateurish writing style and get sucked in, relentlessly following the story to its conclusion. Whether you read it alone for a saucy solo night in; or read it to your partner for inspiration, or to get warmed up. The effect on my partners libido is reason enough to buy this book!