I have read the entire trilogy and have a strong opinion about the trilogy as a whole, which I will address in the reviews of the t...more(((Spoiler Alert)))
I have read the entire trilogy and have a strong opinion about the trilogy as a whole, which I will address in the reviews of the third book. I won't reference any of that in reviewing the first installment, which didn't make me want to eat a bullet...at least not In The Beginning.
Warning: you will see that phrase tacked onto a lot of sentences here. It's important to distinguish between initial impressions and the one at the conclusion of the book.
E.L. James's writing style was different from my usual choices and even preferences, but I was laughing aloud a few pages into the first chapter. The inner monologue of the protagonist, Ana, was hilarious In The Beginning.
Her first encounter with Christian Grey told me everything I needed to know about that character, and by the end of that chapter, I felt like I had a decent finger on who he was -- the classic, overused, uber-rich, utter alpha male that we see in so many kink and not-so-kink stories. I have no complaints whatsoever about his character portrayal In The Beginning.
As for the rest of it, "unrealistic" is being generous. He went from that classic alpha d-bag that we (quite often) love to hate and hate to love to something along the lines of, "I'm into BDSM, and you're too naive to know what that is but it doesn't really matter, and here's a contract and an ink pen. Get to going." *blink* Why that wouldn't send a newie running for the vanilla hills, I'll never know, but in true Ana form, she decides this would be a pretty good idea.
Christian's desire to protect her was, In The Beginning, obvious and at the forefront. There were plenty of interactions I didn't...hmm...approve of, but his intentions were decent. He made a plethora of mistakes, but the character is supposedly human, despite E.L. James's endless desire to see him as something of a god on Earth, so I can begrudge some basic mistakes.
But then, cue the entrance of the Drama Llama, and the next thing you know, melodrama is falling from the heavens like acid-laced champagne, and Ana spends the rest of the book wailing, whining, sniveling, and then worshiping this asshole. Christian Grey is an out-of-control, control freak who loses his temper too easily, uses sex as a resolution to relationship problems, and then uses his awful past as a means to justify his interest in BDSM -- and later, Ana became the "cure" to that disease. HUGE. FUCKING. PROBLEM. WITH. THAT.
I appreciate ending on a cliffhanger, especially when it is well done, but the end scene felt incredibly rushed to me. I did not understand Ana's strong reaction and abrupt exit. Champagne Melodrama. Cue fade to black.
This portrayal has reached a much wider audience than novels in this genre has before, and in that way, I am extremely frustrated that it gets the attention is does because this is not anything to model BDSM after, period. Fifty Shades of Grey wasn't atrocious In The Beginning, but then it took a sharp left and became utter shit. (less)
No. No, it is not. I have been sitting here typing and erasing, typing and erasing, for the last fifteen minutes while...more This is not a romance novel...
No. No, it is not. I have been sitting here typing and erasing, typing and erasing, for the last fifteen minutes while I try to explain the power of this book but damned if I can do it. "The Siren" is like walking into the cliched dark and twisted forest. You have a good idea of what you're in for, have walked through many a scratchy set of trees before, but are in no way prepared for what's actually on the other side.
Listen, I don't like to praise books too highly too often because if everything is a 5-star meal then what's so damn special about a 5-star meal anyway? I usually only write about the ones that really move me, and there have been a good handful of books that have shattered my soul. "The Reluctant Dom" by Tymber Dalton. That one hurt. God, did that one hurt. It took me days to recover from it. "Tender Mercies" and "Comfort Food" by Kitty Thomas. They weren't on the soul-shattering level that TRD was, but they got me. They got me good on a different level.
"The Siren" is something entirely different. I didn't go into it with any real expectations, and I'm glad because the aftereffects are always more potent when I'm unprepared. I'm not going to give a lengthy review of this. I'm not even going to recount what happened. It would be lackluster and do no justice to the actual story of Nora. All I'm going to say is that if you are looking for a romance novel, this is not it. If you want rainbows, sunshine, and neat packages, this is not it. If you want a fairytale ending, this is not it. But if you want complex, raw, brutal emotion... If you want boundaries pushed, comfort levels tested (and obliterated with one scene), and end up feeling conflicted and more than a little worn? Yeah...this might be a book for you. (less)