Sunday, June 28, 2015

Guest Review: Grey by EL James

   Hi everyone! I want to welcome my good friend Janne to PLR today. She has been kind enough to share her review of Grey by EL James with us. Janne and I have been friends for a couple of years now and she is always recommending some pretty awesome books. I also have to give her credit for sparking my interest in Audio books. I never gave them a second thought until she recomended some really great ones to me. While I do still prefer the print version I have found myself diving into Audible more and more frequently. As you will see when you read the following review, Janne listened to the audible version of Grey, narrated by Zachary Webber. And let me just second her opinion on his narrative voice. Please enjoy her review and if you would like to follow more of Janne's reviews you can find her on Goodreads >>> Click Here

 Grey by E.L. James
Audio by Zachary Webber

Photo Credit: Goodreads
 3 - 4.5 Stars (read on)

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

In Christian's own words, and through his thoughts, reflections, and dreams, E L James offers a fresh perspective on the love story that has enthralled millions of readers around the world.

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.

Will being with Ana dispel the horrors of his childhood that haunt Christian every night? Or will his dark sexual desires, his compulsion to control, and the self-loathing that fills his soul drive this girl away and destroy the fragile hope she offers him?

This book is intended for mature audiences.

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   Janne's Thoughts; OK folks, if you are one of the 4 people left on earth who has not read the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy or seen the movie; there will be spoilers in this review of Grey, EL James’ recent surprise release of the story from Christian’s Point of View. Whether you loved the books or hated them, you have to admit, they certainly have a following. And, I’m one of them. Sure it’s erotic and that’s where people get stuck and, often, upset. It’s the STORY of Christian and Anastasia that is the kick in the gut and so often overlooked. So when Ms. James announced the release of Grey, it was with great trepidation that I pre-ordered it. BUT, when it was then announced that Zachary Webber would be the narrator of the audio, the deal was sealed. I canceled my Kindle pre-order and signed on for the audio.
In my opinion, Zachary Webber is one of the best audio performers out there and I have said many a time that he could read the instructions on how to give an enema and make them sound awesome.
   It is not a surprise that Ms. James is not a writer of ‘seri-ass’ literature and, along those lines, Grey does not disappoint.  Grey alternates between very good and very ‘not so good’. I mean REALLY ‘not so good’. AND, though I did not see the movie, I kept seeing Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson as Christian and Anastasia instead of my own images. And frankly, I preferred my own images.

   The audio is unabridged, as most are, and lasts for 18 hours and 46 minutes. If any of you have read reviews I have written, you will know that I am a visceral reader and reviewer. You will not see quotes and descriptions of scenes. What you will get is the reaction of my heart, soul, gut and spirit. So, here you go…here are my ‘not so good’ comments on Grey:

At least 50%, if not more, of that time is a re-hashing of the first book (Fifty Shades of Grey) as told by Christian. There is nothing new except that instead of Ana’s ‘goddesses talking to her’, it’s Christian’s boy part leading him onward and upward. I kept thinking “come ON, get to some substance about Christian!”
There is little new information about who Christian really is other than some infrequent flashbacks of a brutal childhood. In fact, that’s how the book starts and it’s not that impressive;
The e-mail relationship that was so FUN in the first book (and second) is NOT so fun in Grey because it’s the same. It’s like a redundancy overload AND when it’s being read, gets mighty old.
One pet peeve in the first book and continued in Grey—when Anastasia went to Savannah GA to see her mother, it was in June which meant that the time was Eastern DAYLIGHT time and not Eastern Standard Time. I would have thought editors would catch this at least for Grey.
The ‘very good’ comments:
OK—this book cranks up with the ‘soaring’ adventure in Savannah.  There is the beginning of Christian’s desire to meet Ana’s request for ‘more’ as his thoughts become more and more focused on her and his growing enchantment with her. Sure, he’s still pretty focused on ‘having her’ but vanilla is not so bad;
Starting with the Leila issue, the book really picks up some steam and we start getting more glimpses of Christian’s psyche and his inner turmoil.
And, finally, with the epic scene where she challenges him to punish her and ultimately leaves him, we REALLY get going. Christian’s nightmares, consisting again of flashbacks of his wretched childhood, intensify and are detailed. This is good stuff because all we knew in the ‘Ana’ version was that he had them.

   Personal reflection on how this book could have been SO much better:
Christian Grey is an interesting, complex and substantive man.  It therefore stands to reason that a book from his point of view would absolutely go to town on WHO HE IS, HOW HE GOT TO BE WHO HE IS and HOW HE THINKS.  There is so much of him that could be explored:

Christian’s  early years and the impact/damage it did to him. We do get a bit more of that toward the end of Grey but this could have been developed much earlier in the book and more thoroughly;
Christians’ relationship with Elena which was barely touched on in Grey (how did she find him, how did she seduce him...hell, a snippet of how he lost HIS virginity and how she snared him into the BDSM lifestyle, how did HE act as a submissive and so on);
Christian’s emotional volatility was barely explored yet all through the first Fifty, he was all over the emotional map. In Grey, he comes across as uneven but not the emotional roller coaster we’ve come to know
Christian’s internal demons roared to life when Ana left him after telling him she was in love with him. Holy crap…that’s the core struggle he has and we needed to see that build from the moment Ana fell into his office and not at the end of the book. Why does he loathe himself so, why does he feel like he’s a monster, how did the relationship with Mrs. Robinson play into his psyche? There are some lovely moments with Dr. Flynn as Grey draws to a close and I am looking forward to the Grey’s POV from Fifty Shades Darker.   It’s obvious that Ms. James did a ton of research into flying/soaring, music, and the BDSM lifestyle to add credence to the book…so I’m imploring that the same effort will be focused on giving us complex Christian.
I guess I’m just asking for MORE.

My Many Many Thanks once again to Janne for sharing her review with us! You are wlcome back any time.


  1. Selena, thanks so much for posting this. As you and I 'chatted' all the way through my love/hate relationship with this book, it seemed more and more than Christian is a force to be reckoned with, to be explored, to be deciphered and ultimately redeemed was left out of this book to a huge extent. It was fun to put these ideas down and express both my disappointment and enthusiasm for the Christian Point of View.

    1. I should have edited--that second sentence should read...Christian AS a force to be reckoned with (yada yada). Sorry about that.