I've avoided reading FSOG - largely on the premise that I'm not a huge fan of BDSM books, plus I tend not to go for hyped books either, plus I'm perverse - tell me to do something and I won't - so I gave these three a miss. But I wondered how I could call myself a writer of erotic romance if I hadn't read THE books of the decade in this genre, so reader - I read them. One after the other over four nights.
I'd heard they were badly written, boring etc etc and also heard they were riveting, fantastic etc etc. I'm not sure what I expected to find but the books weren't as I'd anticipated.
For a start - they're not really BDSM books. My issue about women subjugating themselves for a guy's pleasure, enduring pain for a guy's pleasure and yes - their own - wasn't true of this book. It's very light on the BDSM - in one way, Christian has no idea what he's doing and certainly no real understanding of WHY he's doing it. When he said he was a sadist - I was almost yelling at him - no, you idiot, you're not - luckily Ana told him the same a few pages later.
What these books are about are a very damaged young man and how the love of an innocent woman pulls him back to dry land. I can see now why FSOG was linked so much with my book Strangers - Charlie Storm is another damaged young man who is helped by the love of a woman. The difference being that Kate, my heroine, is as damaged as Charlie and their journey to enlightenment is somewhat different.
Yes, there was a lot of sex in FSOG but not the extremely steamy graphic sex of many erotic romances. But it was all pervasive. Christian and Ana could barely keep their hands off one another and as a consequence, not much happens. The characters ARE the plot, whereas in Strangers - there is a plot. Yes, I know FSOG has a villain but that element felt very weak to me.
So did I like the books? Do I think they deserve their success?
I'm probably going to damn with faint praise. I didn't dislike them - is the best I can do. I certainly didn't hate them, nor did I love them. I'd have liked a different POV, to hear equally from Christian, more happening, more motivation, deeper characterization, more fun, more bounce to the prose but that's just me. It worked for millions so who am I to say it doesn't deserve it. Yes, I expect there are lots of other better written books out there but that's life. FSOG fit a gap in the market, entertained millions of woman and best of all for me, encouraged them to try others in the genre. Of course I think Strangers is