I received 50 Shades of Grey as a birthday present two years ago. It was the first erotic novel I ever read and I hated it. Much to the amusement of my friends who promptly gifted me with the sequel because they seemed to genuinely enjoy hearing me rage about part one.
Yes, my friends are like that. Thank you very much – I love you anyway.
So after hating part two of that series I thought I still just really didn’t like the genre. I bought part three (I see how that doesn’t make a lot of sense after I hated part one and two…bear with me…) but could never get myself to finish reading it so far.
(Because everybody seemed to enjoy it so much, I’m actually considering to do a series on 50 Shades of Fucked up. The only problem is that I’d have to re-read the damn books and it would probably be a very long series because I bet I can find something that’s wrong with it in every. damn. chapter. Still – let me know if you’re interested^^)
On to more cheerful things: turns out I don’t hate the genre. I read the Crossfire series recently and while I’ll readily admit that it’s not a great work of literature (and that’s ok – it doesn’t claim to be one), I still really enjoyed reading it.
So now instead of writing a formal review (who wants to read those anyway?), I decided to give you a list of reasons why Crossfire kicks 50 Shades’ butt:
- Eva is way more likeable, credible and endurable as a character than Anastasia. Case in point: I didn’t want to hit her with a chair on every page. Anastasia is basically Christian’s doormat whereas Eva stands up for herself on a regular basis and refuses to be controlled and pushed around by Gideon. It’s called having a personality. Eva:1 ; Anastasia: 0
- And not only does Eva have an actual personality – she’s not afraid to own it. She knows that she’s an attractive woman. A woman men would potentially want to have sex with. That’s very refreshing after enduring too many female characters who I’m sure are appealing to insecure teenagers *cough*
Bella Swan*cough* but who are apart from that just not very credible. Or likeable. I mean: do we really have to perpetuate an image that portrays female characters as those modest, self-denying creatures who can’t for the life of them like themselves? In my opinion, characters like Anastasia Steele send a message that is very wrong. I’d rather read about inspiring and empowering female characters like Eva who have a sense of self-worth.
- Where Eva has a (=one) personality, Anastasia seemed to have anywhere between zero and three. Did anyone else get confused about her Inner goddess and her Subconscious? What was that about? He Inner Goddess seemed to do a lot of foot tapping and raising her eyebrows whereas her Subconscious read Dickens and wore glasses? And…why does only the Subconscious have to wear glasses? Shouldn’t they at least share a body? And where does Anastasia come in? Is she her Inner Goddess? The Subconscious? Both? Does she sit between them feeling actively mediocre while the two of them are fighting about her sex life? So many questions, so little answers!
- I realise that I’m not to expect a very elaborate plot when picking up an erotic novel, but I still appreciate it if it looks like the author at least has the decency to make it seem like she tried. Day: 1; James: 0
- Ok, so the plot of an erotic novel will mostly be whatever happens between sex scenes and I’m not to expect that there’s a lot going on apart from sex – in bed, on the floor, in cars, wherever. I’m fine with that. But shouldn’t the sex scenes then at least be great? What’s the point of an erotic novel consisting of entirely exchangeable, very repetitive sex scenes? Christian touches Anastasia’s left boob, she shatters into a million pieces (maybe that explains her multiple personalities?). And yes, this is an accurate summary of their first sex scene together (and Anastasia’s first time for that matter). Does anyone else feel betrayed? And it doesn’t get any better after this. Sure, it varies. He touches her right boob, he does other things to her (consensual or not – I’m not even getting into that debate)…and then she shatters into a million pieces. It’s a miracle that there was enough left of her at the end of part one for them to be able to resume this torture in part two and three.
Language and Style
- Last but not least: Sylvia Day can write. Maybe it doesn’t seem important to some but I still feel like it is. E. L. James seems to copy and paste her way through her novels. It’s torture.
Did you read 50 Shades of Grey / Crossfire / both? – Any thoughts?