Horrible. Absolutely could not make myself care about the characters or the storyline. Filed in the "Crap" collection on my kindle...until I delete itHorrible. Absolutely could not make myself care about the characters or the storyline. Filed in the "Crap" collection on my kindle...until I delete it to make room for other stuff....more
Obviously very well researched but, I feel like I already read all of it in The White Queen, The Red Queen and The Lady of the Waters, albeit in a morObviously very well researched but, I feel like I already read all of it in The White Queen, The Red Queen and The Lady of the Waters, albeit in a more narrative fashion....more
Not the interesting narrative I thought it might be, this is pretty much a single step up from a textbook, full of dry recitations and facts and figurNot the interesting narrative I thought it might be, this is pretty much a single step up from a textbook, full of dry recitations and facts and figures. ...more
First, the technical review: Again, the writing was sophomoric and the plot fairly predictable. The sex scenes became repetitive at some point in theFirst, the technical review: Again, the writing was sophomoric and the plot fairly predictable. The sex scenes became repetitive at some point in the second book and I've been skipping over them since then. And I am compelled to once again raise my objection to the distinctly un-American speech patterns of the two protagonists. Perhaps Ms James was attempting to spread her wings and branch out from what she knows but, evidently, there is a reason they say "write what you know."
Now for the thematic review: I know why women are gobbling this book up and it's not about the BDSM. That's just a plot device, and an over contrived one, if you ask me. One, Ana has the life we all say we want. She is ardently desired by a hottie billionaire who lavishes her with attention and has literally spent millions on her. She is desired by three other named characters and countless nameless waiters, valets, etc. She's smart and funny (the SAT doesn't even go to 2150, for God's sake!) She lands her dream job straight out of college (really, who has a personal assistant at 22?) and is, by all accounts, a beauty who can lose weight at the drop of a hat. Even if you quibble over the way she derives her pleasure, you cannot deny she is more than fulfilled in her sex life.
Two, Ana has the power over Christian every woman in the world wishes she had, and not in the BDSM context where the submissive partner actually has the power in the relationship. Because of her, a man has changed his entire life. Everything he always thought he wanted and needed--by his own admission--is no longer what he wants because it's not her. She never has to do anything to effect this transformation. He changes FOR HER; it happens because of WHO SHE IS. In this way, she proves herself the ultimately desirable woman: men want her, and women want to be her. I can never decide if the power-desirability relationship is a causal one or, if so, which one leads to the other. But the fact remains she is desirable, she has the power. She is the ultimate woman.
This story (and I think you really have to read all three books to see it) is no different from the historical bodice-rippers where the duke loves the vicar's daughter or the rakehell gentleman mends his ways for the love of a proper miss. This is a romance novel for the 21st century and I think a large part of people's gripe with it is that it is sold off the Fiction & Literature shelves of the bookstore rather than the Romance section. I freely concede the novel's extremes are wildly unrealistic but who reads a novel described as "mommy porn" for a responsible view of the world? If you have, than you have issues larger than liking or not liking the book. I will confess, however, the fact that Christian's clingy neediness and overprotective high-handedness would have sent me packing in record time despite the piles of money involved happily make me think I'm not nearly as shallow as I thought I was. Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I hear an obscenely wealthy but tragically misunderstood Duke calling my name. :)
1 Aug: Have just been informed a new section was added to the SAT (when did that happen?) and now has a total possible score of 2400. So, I retract my implied criticism of the author's research into American academia but retain all other objections, both implicit and explicit...more
VERY mixed feelings about this book. In some ways it seems like a trashy romance novel attempting to masquerade as a BDSM plot. Up until the last spanVERY mixed feelings about this book. In some ways it seems like a trashy romance novel attempting to masquerade as a BDSM plot. Up until the last spanking (whipping? beating? not really sure how to categorize it...), Ana is just trying something new in order to make her relationship work. There's an appreciable difference between rough and actual cruelty, and most of the book was just rough sex. (As an aside, there is something to be said for dominance in the bedroom; it's the dominance in the rest of life that would have driven me away. Also, I don't go in for pain) In the end, she was strong enough to walk away from a bad thing...although, since there are two more books it obviously doesn't end there. And even then, I empathize with her wanting to know just why this man is so messed up. I honestly don't think I can accurately review this book without reading the rest; I suspect I may end up changing my mind completely. But as my boss continuously points out, what are women missing from their lives that this book is such a runaway success?
Technical thoughts: the writing was okay, nothing particularly good about it. Have officially developed pet peeve #37: British writers whose American characters use Britishisms, particularly "ring" and "sorted". If your characters are American, they should friggin' speak American English, no matter how worldly or sophisticated they are....more