I had been warned about all the ‘oh-geez’-ing, the ever-present ‘inner goddess’ and the prim ‘subconscious’ (who seems to behave more like a superego, imho) etc etc.
But I was curious anyway.
Besides, none of these criticisms regarding ‘quality’ really bother me. My attitude is that a thing should be approached on its own terms: there is no point in mocking 5SoG because it’s not Henry James (who, PS, wrote some shocking ‘sexy’ prose in his early career), just as there’s no point mocking a Michael Bay film because it’s not Casablanca.
Besides, a series that has sold 150 million copies is clearly tapping into something in the zeitgeist. Did you see that charity shop which built a fort out of all the donated copies of 50 shades of grey? Yeah. That’s unusual.
Anyway, I found the first book enjoyable, for all its flaws and occasional ludicrous moments (Anastasia’s never owned a computer? As a college student circa 2011?? In fact, Ana’s general reticence/ambivalence towards technology is perhaps the greatest indicator that she and her creator are from different generations. But I digress.)
It’s really a basic rags-to-riches fantasy; the classic story of a normcore girl being noticed and subsequently obsessed over by a powerful man. On its own terms, it succeeds. Mostly.
Which brings me to the second book. I’m now halfway through it, and oh-geez double-crap, am I bored. Despite the various bells and whistles of the plot (the stalker ex-sub, etc) there is no tension in the relationship; it mostly just seems to consist of Christian and Anastasia telling each other how much they love/need/want each other. They don’t seem to have anything to do.
So why am I still reading?
Hmm. Perhaps it’s because the ultimate fantasy in romance is being the object of desire; someone’s absolute and eternal ideal, for whom they will do or sacrifice anything. Perhaps this is why so many people have continued wading through the dull mire of ‘Fifty Shades Darker’ – because despite losing the plot (literally?), 5SoG always delivers on this one essential point.
As a side note, despite all the talk of ‘kinky f*ckery’ in these books, the ‘uckery seems to get less kinky as time goes on. The book’s attitude to BDSM practices seems to alter as much as Anastasia’s. But that’s a thought for another day.