Thursday, March 15, 2012

50 Shades would have been better as one book

As you read in my previous post I really enjoyed “50 Shades of Grey”.  I had the next two installments on my Nook before the screen cooled off.  I began reading “50 Shades Darker” immediately.  I wanted to be swept away again.  I wanted to see how Christian and Ana would work out their strange, painful and erotic relationship.  I wanted E.L. James to take me to the edge again. 
What I got was a more traditional romantic story of the bad boy lover trying to be what the innocent ingénue wanted him to be. I got the silly innocent girl worrying that she isn’t enough for the rich, dark, powerful and sexy bad man.  I didn’t want Christian to become good.  I wanted Ana to get a little darker and more powerful herself.  I wanted that organic flow I felt in the first book.  They could come into the light, as it were, later.
The third book, “50 Shades Freed”, continued in the more traditional romance vein.  They had more conflicts with Christian’s controlling ways but the ‘princess’ Ana was gentling him with every sexual, loving act. It was predictable all the way down to the real bad guy out to destroy them both. 
The were good moments in the second two novels.  When Ms. James describes gliding, jet skiing, or sex she is completely in the sensory moment. When she takes me through Christian’s history she is empathetic and clear. She has my attention and keeps it.  She is a good writer when she isn’t apologizing for being so dark.  I loved the dark, dangerous man Christian was in the 1st book.  I loved that Ana ran after asking to see how far he could go and she learned it was more than she was ever willing to go herself.  I loved seeing that strong woman coming into her own.  
The first book was about the sex and the darkness in our psyches.  It was about love and how screwed up it gets with our baggage.  It was hot, dark, compelling and oh so very edgy. I didn’t skip a page.  The second two books almost feel like a mea culpa to the audience for going overboard in book one.  I skipped a lot including the sex.  It was toned down and sanitized, even the sex.  I felt like Ms. James was saying,  “Sorry about the darkness and violence in the first one.  I will explain and clean it all up in the next ones.”  I didn’t want her to clean it up.  Why does it have to end with a pretty neat bow? Why can’t a happy ending be realizing this isn’t right for me and I will be stronger for this relationship in the next one. 
This is the second trilogy to let me down after the first installment. I felt similarly to the “Hunger Games” trilogy.  I was just let down after such a wonderful high.  Maybe the authors are releasing the next ones way too soon so they aren’t really developed enough.  Maybe they really just said it all in book one and the publisher pressured for more when they saw the first one sell so well.  All I know is I will be stronger for my next trilogy and stop at the first book.