GREY (Fifty Shades, #4)

by E.L James

Synopsis

Kelly  - 4.5 Crowns

See the world of Fifty Shades of Grey anew through the eyes of Christian Grey.

In Christian's own words, and through his thoughts, reflections, and dreams, E L James offers a fresh perspective on the love story that has enthralled millions of readers around the world.

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?

This book is intended for mature audiences.

Emma  - 2.5 Crowns

I’ve taken a breath. Got my emotions in check. Put my favourite comfy slippers on. Poured myself a glass of wine and have my kindle and computer at the ready, to write what is probably one of the most important book reviews of my life, well, okay… since the start of our blog launch on June 1st, 2013.

Fifty Shades of Grey was a real eye-opener for me. Before I took the plunge, I was more of a fantasy reader. I loved erotic fantasy, and spent more time fantasising over 1000 year old vampires and Greek / Atlantean Gods to really embrace the over saturated market of my Grandmother’s favourite Mills and Boon rehashed romance tripe – or so I thought. Oh boy... was I wrong. It all changed one day when I stumbled upon FSOG in my local ASDA, which aided in changing my whole outlook on this genre completely.

I loved the whole dynamics. Christian, for want of a better word, whipped my ideals into shape and made me realise that there is a real market for the more unconventional…and it sure made me want to delve deeper and embrace I did. From there, this blog was born, so first and foremost, I would l just like to extend a personal Thank you to E.L James for opening a whole new world for me. Not only has it been one hell of a journey, but I’ve met some incredible people along the way.

Grey was an unexpected gift. So many of us in the 'Pro Fifty Club' fell in love with Christian's POV at the end of Fifty Shades Freed, and craved a thirst for more. I certainly did and I can honestly say, as far as male POV rewrites go, Grey did not disappoint in the slightest, in-fact it answered questions, it flayed open a very complex character. One thing that remained clear to me is that regardless of the critics’ views, he is a man of his word. A powerful, headstrong and generous person who commands respect but whom isn't afraid to also give it. A man who puts family, trust and others wellbeing above everything else. He takes, but he also understands the word 'no.'

GREY goes to prove that Christian is no monster, and Ana is far from a wallflower. It is the first book, the makings of an epic love story based on trust, communication and honesty. How many of us can say we have ever felt that connection to someone? He may have singular sexual tastes, but one thing is clear whilst reading his POV, this is Christian’s awakening as he discovers things about himself, and others, and how after knowing he is troubled, realises that he is also respected, and loved by many even if he finds that very hard to accept.

After living his first 4-years in hell, the emotional scars are still very raw. His command for control comes from being a victim of child abuse. The idea of anyone taking that power away from him again is abhorrent. Elena, his ex Dom gave him an outlet to extricate that fear at fifteen. Love her or hate her, she helped him the only way she knew how, and it seems for a time... it worked.

'She was a force for good. What I needed.' Good God, I'd probably be dead by now if it wasn't for Elena.

Something else I learned about Mr Grey, is he is very witty. His inner anecdotes had me chuckling out loud. He is gentlemanly, a real professional charmer with a regal manner that made me remember why I fell in love with him in the first place. He has so many redeeming qualities, yet off the back of that he is also impatient, intimidating, ruthless with a dangerous streak that will have the surliest of men cowering. He is the alpha to rival others, and god do I love him for it. No one can say his characterisation doesn't have layers.

Some may say his command for control is excessive as he lets his deep seated emotions control his sadistic needs but I implore you to rethink that notion. His needs may come from a dark place, but he is a smart man. He may be a Dom and practice the art of sadomasochism, but Ana holds the all the cards but it isn’t until later that Ana and Christian come to realise the power she holds over him as he starts to feel something more than attraction. She quite simply turns his world upside down, and he is man enough to recognise it even though the idea scares the hell out of him. 

'What I think you fail to realise is that in Dom/sub relationships it is the sub who holds all the power. That's you. I'll repeat this - you are the one with all the power.' - Christian Grey

The only real issue here is how many of his actions are interpreted. I never once believed he was an enforcer of abuse, considering Ana is one of the fortunate when it comes to multiple orgasms. Please... this is two adults in a consensual relationship that plays on the more kinkier side of sex. The real issue here is the emotional elements. Ana falls undeniably in love with him, and Christian is not a man of romance, he has admitted this countless times and yet he becomes beguiled. He tries so hard to be... more. His level of commitment knows no bounds, and there is a real sense of compassion and heart in that.

Okay, so lets tackle 'that later scene' the one that drives Ana away is a bitter pill to swallow in many ways, but you realise that it needed to happen, and so did she. Reading his POV after that event is quite heartbreaking. He's never had to deal with a sudden rebuke because his other partners have enjoyed that level of affliction. I'm still on the fence about the scene, I didn't agree with it, but without it, this story wouldn't have had a sequel and Christian wouldn't have realised his level of commitment or his depth of feelings for Ana until it was too late. As Dr Flynn says, 'Let's not dwell on the negative.'

Take this story at face value, love it, hate it, that's your prerogative, but I for one do not agree with the hate fuelled newspaper campaign 'reviewer' backlash - I purely believe it's a ploy to sell more newspapers regardless of the effects it can have on a person. It seems controversial column inches are more important than journalism integrity these days, but hey ho... hasn't that always been the case? They say sex sells, and well, hats off to E.L James. She has taken a closed closeted subject and given it a voice, whilst entwining it with a love story that is quite simply, unforgettable.

4.5 CROWNS

This is an accompanying book to the hugely successful Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. This is without doubt one of my favourite series' EVER!! Christian and Ana's unconventional courtship and eventual love story hit an absolute chord with me, reminding me why I loved reading so much. It therefore pains me to write this review.

It is very clear before going into this book that this is the re-telling of FSOG, but this time from Christian's POV. Therefore I won't bore you with a overview. What I need to explain is why I just couldn't get into this book.

Firstly I need to admit that this type of book is a pet hate of mine. I have read many books that I've loved and rated 5 crowns, before moving to the male POV where the story has fallen flat. There is only one that I have enjoyed, and going into this I really expected to love it; I just didn't though. Believe me I seriously persevered, but by 25% I was practically pulling teeth. I so wanted to love this book because hell, I love this story and these characters's, but it just filled me with that familiar flat feeling. For this reason it pains me to tell you that I didn't finish it.

Not finishing a book is a serious no no for me. But I knew that if I had kept reading, my love of the series and even the film would be forever tainted with the fact that I was bored stiff by this book. Please don't misunderstand me though. I would say for critics of EL. James's writing in the original series, you will be pleasantly surprised. Certainly I would say that her flow in her storytelling has improved, although I must admit to finding Christian's character and his thought processes a little stilted.

So there you have it. I just couldn't connect to this book. But I have no doubt that many of you will. What it has done is reinforce something that I probably already knew. It doesn't matter if I LOVE the original, this style of storytelling just doesn't work for me. If Christian can't do it for me, then believe me when I say, no one will. I am so over these type of books.

I would recommend that fans of theses books read and judge it for themselves though. This review goes deeper for me than not liking the storytelling or storyline, it is a genuine hate of this type of book, rather than a hate of the story being told.

I still love Christian. I still love Ana. And when I closed my kindle on a book I didn't love, I turned on my TV and watched the film instead.

Elizabeth  - 4 Crowns

What can I say..... just (sigh)
To have been in Christian's heart, head and soul....made for one amazing reading experience.

Grey starts out just gutting you, a scene with Christian as a little boy with his mother.. and she calls him 'Maggot'. I love the man as it is but getting that insight with many scenes with him as a child with snippets of the nightmare he lived, this little broken boy just about crushed me. Of course he is 50 shades of F**ked up! Surprisingly with a childhood like that, it's amazing at how well he turned out!

His fall for Ana, even though his mind refuses to catch up with his heart, refuses to accept that yes, this broken little boy can be accepted and loved and cherished by someone who only wants him in return... it's beautiful.

 

He keeps being overwhelmed by her acceptance of him exactly as he is - not wanting any of his money, or what he can give her materialistically, he keeps going under almost drowning in the blackness that is his mind. She loved him but his head kept telling him it was impossible even though his heart knew the truth. He was falling for her too, and that notion crippled him mentally and emotionally.

While he is the offish cad, but ever the gentleman with Ana, I loved reading his thoughts and even though he could be short and precise, even cold in his responses - being a fly on the wall, especially with the emails he would send, leaving out all he wanted to say was the highlight of this version!

Thank you E.L. James for letting us have the true unfiltered Christian... I truly hope you give us the rest of his story as well.

Perusing Princesses
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