Honestly, I am not sure why everyone is so agog about this book. Perhaps it is my sensitivity to controlling, emotionally abusive relationships, but most of their relationship in the book made my stomach churn. And that overshadowed any wonderful sex scenes for me.
On one good note, I did enjoy their banter. In person, or via email their back and forth sarcasm and wit was quite enjoyable.
But back to what I didn’t like…
Christian gets angry or upset so easily and Ana will do just about anything to placate him. And if perchance she doesn’t do or say something to make him happy, she ends up feeling like an awful person, often crying. That is an emotionally abusive relationship, and I don’t find that endearing to read about in the least. Yes the sex scenes were great and it was written relatively well, but the emotional drain of seeing Ana constantly trying to make Christian happy ruined it for me. Don’t misunderstand me, I have nothing against the spanking or other such S&M-ness. That was agreed upon from the beginning. And Ana, you are missing several brain cells if you didn’t realize that was what you were getting into. Obviously he has problems…uh duh. No, it is the emotional abuse I cannot get past.
Now, if I am going to read a cliché, S&M romance novel, I’m going to read one that doesn’t make me want to smack the author for trying to pass off one of two worst relationships (physical and emotionally abusive relationships) as something to be desired. This book says: “Go for the fucked up guy who will make you cry, but who is sexy and is really good in bed.” I for one, would rather my future daughter never discover sex or love than to enter into a relationship such as this. Emotionally abusive relationships are really, really hard to walk away from and go largely unreported. No one should strive for that as the ideal.
On to the writing. When I say, relatively well written, what I mean is, it didn’t totally suck as much as some romance books do. Yet it still managed to be cliché. And there were many dropped plot lines, like Ana’s job at the publisher. And friends who just disappear…like Jose.
So I say this to those of you who enjoy this book because of the S&M scenes and overall kinkiness…read Hellion. Bertrice Small is a FANTASTIC romance author, largely overlooked in my opinion. Hellion was the first book I read by her, and while I have read every other book she has written, it remains my favorite. Yes, it isn’t really well written, especially when you hold it up to writers like Brandon Sanderson, the characters are a bit cliché, and she uses ‘fluff’ terms for genitalia, but it is hot, steamy, the plot is engaging, and the best part, no emotional abuse.
Fifty Shades of Grey gets 1.5 stars, due only to the delightful sex scenes. So the moral of this post, ladies and gentlemen, is read Hellion rather than buy into the Fifty Shades of Grey craze.