Grey by E. L. James



by E. L. James

Published: 18th June 2015

Publisher: Arrow Books


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

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.


Where do I even start with this one? Well, I reviewed the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy a while back. If you’re interested, you can find that here: Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy. This review will be a spoiler-free review of the book, and it won’t reveal anything from the other books in the series.

­­­­It’s safe to say I have a massive love/hate relationship with these books, and I have quite a few issues with them. When I initially read the books, I did enjoy them despite its glaring faults – so when I saw this book was being released there was something that made me pick it up and read it. Perhaps I was craving the same experience as I had the first time I’d read them. This is basically the Midnight Sun that we didn’t receive from the author of the Twilight series, Stephanie Meyer – so I was kind of happy that the author went ahead with it.

Throughout the Fifty Shades books, I really felt like Anastasia was one of the most frustrating characters I’ve ever read. She’s incredibly weak willed, and drove me nuts sometimes. I did, however, really enjoy reading about this mysterious Christian Grey. He always came across as complex, dark character and I was intrigued by him. Some could say, just like Anastasia was. When I heard this book would be a retelling of the first novel, Fifty Shades of Grey, from the perspective of Christian – I’ll be honest my initial reaction was sceptical. One of the reasons I liked the series originally was Christian Grey’s mystique, and I suspected that if we read the book from his perspective, we’d lose that.

Unfortunately, I felt I was right. Somehow, the author has managed to reduce Christian Grey into a hormonal 14 year old boy. There were quite a few times I genuinely laughed out loud at this book, granted it was at the book and not with it most of the time. There are some completely ridiculous moments, notably – the peeled gingerroot? Why? Also, everything Anastasia said or did seemed to have a direct line to his penis, and it really got boring to read about.

Despite those moments, there were some interesting insights into his world that gave this book some good points. For example, there are times when he isn’t with Anastasia that are developed, such as a meal with Mrs Robinson, and the relationship with those who work for him. I quite liked seeing his response to the emails, and reading the ending chapter or so which worked out to be the gap between Fifty Shades of Grey and Fifty Shades Darker.

I’d recently re-read the Fifty Shades series, don’t judge – it’s a guilty pleasure. This just felt like Déjà vu, because the majority of Christian’s inner monologue where barely worth reading. The entire time he’s trying to manipulate Anastasia’s way of thinking, and tries to be dominate and powerful in the relationship – he spends just as much time second guessing himself. I gathered he’d have a warped sense of self, but it became frustrating and boring.

Overall, I could have lived without this book and I was disappointed that Christian’s character lost some of his interesting qualities. I’m an absolute sucker so no doubt I’d read more from Christian’s perspective. Why do I do it to myself? If anything, I always have a good giggle with Laura when we discuss some of the ridiculous things we’ve read.

If you’re a fan of the Fifty Shades series, you’ll likely enjoy this. If not – avoid at all costs, it’s not worth your time.


One thought on “Grey by E. L. James

  1. I’ve got a love/hate relationship with the FSoG trilogy too so I’m not judging. I kind of hoped that E.L. James would have tried to step away from the over-ridiculous-eroticism issue and put some layers into Grey. Especially, while reading FSoG trilogy, she hinted at a complex individual and I sort of hoped this mysterious man wasn’t just sex driven but it was a way for him to be intimate with someone because of his past. And hoped she sort of…told more/focused more on that aspect so we’d understand him and his motivations/sex preferences better. I suppose, based on your review, that didn’t happen?

    It saddens me how this series lives up to the judgmental reviews/critics it gets while there’s so much potential hidden between the lines. If only a decent person would have said “stop with the ridiculous nonsense in between, tell something with depth and the sex scenes will be more than just…erotic sex and will be experienced on an entire different level by your readers (the level I assume you wish to achieve).” – but I suppose they all thought us female readers are happy enough if the plot is sex driven, ridiculous and nothing more.

    (I’m still going to get the book. I enjoyed the series a bit more than I should despite its many flaws but I simply have to finish this now, only because of the potential it has/had and see to what extend she (ab)used it.)


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