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grey Grey by E.L. James | Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Join me, she whispers, but she’s moving backward, getting fainter… disappearing before my eyes… vanishing… she’s gone. No! I shout. No! But I have no voice. I have nothing.

I went into Grey having no real expectations or hopes for the series because realistically, I’m not the biggest fan of the romance between Anastasia and Christian. I say that with the utmost respect to its fandom and the author; so please do not take my words as something of hatred.

I was curious enough to see where E.L. James went with this take on the series and it’s a rare thing for me to never finish a book series. Which is why I chose to read it and finish it in one final sweep. Curiosity fueled interest, s’all there is to it.

I was, admittedly, a bit unsure about stepping into the mind of Christian Grey, as he is perhaps one of my least favorite fictional characters ever and I’m not normally big on retellings of a story from another point of view. Let me put it this way, though: Christian is like a train wreck that I apparently couldn’t look away from at this point.

My expectations were low and perhaps this is what made reading Grey all the more bearable. Low expectations are hard to dash, plus the story is already familiar. How much worse could it get? This is perhaps the way I should have approached the series to begin with, because it made reading it simpler.

Onto the story. Shockingly, E.L. James didn’t make me want to strangle Christian Grey or throw my book in the trash more than a few times in this installment–her writing has improved ever so slightly and it didn’t drag on as much for me as it had in the past.

(It’s still not the greatest, but it has become far more polished than it once was.)

I don’t want to say that I loved Grey, because I certainly did not--sure it was a fun way to pass the time, but I also don’t want to say that I hated it. The good side to it is that Grey humanizes Christian in a way that the trilogy never completely succeeded in and while I still think that the main relationship is a horrible take on romance, it wasn’t as cringe worthy as before.

Maybe I’d grown used to it?

And while Christian is an increasingly frustrating character, his use of BABY drives me nuts in the same way that Ana’s “inner goddess” made me cringe, he comes across as a little less insufferable in this spin. I still can’t quite see his appeal, but I feel as though I’ve grown to understand him more in his narration, his dreams of the past, and such.

Fans will surely enjoy getting to see how his mind worked in the story that started it all–indeed, we get to see a great deal of emotion from him and have a solid idea of what makes him tick and how he came to be. In Fifty Shades we don’t always remember that he is human but in Grey, we know.

Grey paints an image of the elusive Christian and sheds light on his past with a former submissive, his relationship with Mrs. Robinson and nods at his childhood before he became a Grey. Suddenly, Christian Grey isn’t such a mystery to its audience and for some readers this is an excellent change of pace and a solid development.

Readers see him in a way they've never really seen him before.

From his first meeting with Anastasia, to the days leading up to the second book, we watch Christian stumble through his feelings, his dreams and his past, and slowly watch as he comes to grips with how much he has grown to care for Ana; it’s not always a pleasant experience and is very much so repetitive but those who love the trilogy will swoon over his narration readily.

Grey is pleasing for fans and something they’ve been longing for since its original release; but those who hate-read the series will simply be wasting their time in picking up a copy. If you didn’t like the trilogy, Grey isn’t going to sway your opinion or change your life.

It would be silly to expect it to.

Overall, it isn’t any worse than the original series and isn’t exactly better. Its biggest redeeming quality is that now readers will know a bit more about Christian and what was going through his minds during that first month of their story.

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