Fifty Shades of Just Okay…

I read the Fifty Shades trilogy over the weekend, and I wasn’t blown away. Full disclosure: I didn’t expect to be. Most of what I’d already heard from other authors wasn’t particularly flattering. To be fair, I didn’t hate the books, and I did read all three.

Here are my thoughts:

– Not surprisingly, the BDSM didn’t impress me. There were several reasons for this, from annoying things like capitalizing submissive to much larger stuff I don’t want to get into lest I give away spoilers. I’m one of those authors who thinks writers of BDSM have a responsibility about how it’s portrayed. Already there are so many misconceptions about BDSM and I fear Fifty Shades will not help that cause.

– Both the hero and the heroine needed slapping at times. Re: Ana- I think my dislike of her might stem from my dislike of Bella in Twilight. I remember thinking to myself, “WHY do all these guys fall in love with such a vapid creature?” and I found myself thinking that about Ana as well. Considering Fifty Shades is (or is thinly disguised) Twilight fanfic, it’s not surprising I’d have the same reaction.

Re: Christian- mercurial (what Ana calls him continually) doesn’t even begin to describe him. Holy cow – how could you deal with a person like that? If I was his employee he’d better be paying me a freaking LOT of money to put up with his crap. I know some rich people are really like that, but eesh.

And the way the two of them fight? Holy hell, as Ana would say. It sounds miserable. Why would you want to be with someone you can never predict (Christian) or you can’t trust to use common sense (Ana)?

– The writing itself left much to be desired. I joked on Twitter about Christian’s eyes blazing. If I was able to do a search without taking a ton of time I’d love to see how many times in the first book alone that man’s eyes blazed. It bordered on ridiculous and I wondered if it was some sort of private joke between the author and her editor. If not, her editor should be fired immediately. There’s no excuse for that. The rest of us use a thesaurus, why couldn’t she?

Also, both of them “breathe” dialogue. You can’t breathe dialogue. Try it – it’s impossible.

This might seem like nitpicky stuff, and I’m sure many regular readers don’t pick up on the stuff writers do, but those “rookie” mistakes very much diluted my enjoyment of the story.

– The storyline didn’t wow me. That could also be because I’ve read the Twilight series, but there was only one time the author genuinely surprised me. It’s near the end of the third book and I won’t spoil the actual incident. Other than that, after a while I thought to myself, “Fight because you don’t communicate, stomp off, come back, have sex! Repeat!” And it shouldn’t be like that.

Those are the four major areas I had trouble with in the Fifty Shades trilogy. Please do feel free to argue with me. As I said, I didn’t hate the books, but I really hope people who read Fifty Shades then discover the rest of us. There are some truly awesome storytellers out there!

To find out more about my books, check out my website at

About Cassandra Carr

Cassandra Carr is a multi-award winning erotic romance writer with Ellora's Cave, Siren Publishing, Sybarite Seductions, Decadent Publishing, and Loose Id. She lives in Western New York with her husband, Inspiration, and her daughter, Too Cute for Words. When not writing she enjoys watching hockey and hanging out online. Cassandra is the co-founder of two successful group blogs, Romancing the Jock and Dirty Birdies, and participates in several others as a contributor. Recently she was re-elected president of Western New York Romance Writers.
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Cara Bristol says:

I have Fifty Shades on my TBR list and am looking forward to reading/analyzing it. It’s hugely popular, and has expanded beyond the fans of Twilight. Why? What is it giving readers that makes them want to read it?

Jess says:

Yeah I didn’t make it past book 1. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good either.. Not as vile as some people say but certainly not as amazing as others claim either..

I MIGHT wiki it one day just to get the spoilers for the end of the series, but really, that would only be because I was really bored and had nothing better to do ๐Ÿ˜›

Mรดnica Vidal says:

Great post. I’ve read the 50 Shades trilogy and thought I don’t find them the best books ever written, I also don’t hate them as many ppl do. I think they are fun and entertaining if much. yes, Ana pisses me off more often than not, mostly because I think she is too young and too childish to deal with Christian. Many times reading the books I was like “Oh Ana, grow the fuck up!’ and yes, Christian pissed me off too.He’s stubborn and to call him control freak is to say the least. I am pretty sure if I was Anna, I’d have slapped him a lot.

But the one thing that bothered me the most in these books is the amount of sex they have. Hellooooo?! ok, I get, they are young, in love, horny characters but pls…4 times a day everyday? No, no, no! I get that books are not always real-life alike and that books are supposed to be “fantasy” but that is too much. Seriously! She doesn’t get sore, she is always ready and he’s an walking orgasm. I was rolling my eyes at them most of the time.

Well, my point is: the books are ok, some sex scenes are pretty hot and like I said they are entertaining. I just don’t get all the fuss about the books as I don’t get why so many ppl hate them. And to those who hate: you are only making it more famous by talking about them over and over. Just Saying…

Heather says:

The irritation I felt with this trilogy was (appropriately) threefold:

1) As you mentioned, the predictable, “Fight, stomp off, come back, have sex” grew so tiresome by the end of the second book.
2) Ana’s constant “OhmiGod Christian is goregous and mercurial and I LOVE THIS MERCURIAL MAN SO because he’s gorgeous and mercurial and did I mention he has great abs and he’s mercurial?” (Your use of ‘vapid’ to describe Ana is an understatement.) ๐Ÿ™‚
3) Edward… I mean, Christian… acting like, well, Edward – aka a stubborn, overbearing father, making her eat and dress, etc, the way he wants her to. The millionth time he asked her if she’d eaten, my eyes were permanently stuck in an ‘eyeroll’ position

For the three above reasons, I didn’t even bother with the third book. I was never interested in MoTU anyway, but I still wanted to check out why the hell everyone seems to like it so much. It makes me sick that a) something like this was published b) something like this is so widely liked and c) she got away with completely plagarizing Stephenie’s characters, and profiting off of them, no less.

Just so, so sad. But I’ll get off my soapbox now. ๐Ÿ™‚

I haven’t read the books either, and enjoyed reading your take on them. I guess the bottom line is that the trilogy has managed to get everyone talking about a genre that has been mostly hidden to date. Hopefully readers will find some of the other awesome books in the same genre along the way.

Great post!!! If anything, I hope it whet’s readers appetites for erotic romance and sends them your way, looking for more. My SIL told me yesterday that she wants to read them. I told her when she’s ready, I can give her a nice list of erotic romance authors who actually know how to write the genre. She’s never read any, so for her, it may be a decent beginner book.

S. J. Maylee says:

It was actually fun to read your take on them, thank you. I have not read them and I’m not sure if I will. Maybe I’ll just continue to read the authors of BDSM and erotic romance that I know and love. Anyways, I heard the editor from the first book was replaced and I’m curious->did you find any improvement in the editing in the 2nd and 3rd?

Cassandra Carr says:

I wasn’t really looking for improvement, but I will say Christian’s eyes seemed to blaze less often in the second and third books.

Angie M says:

Thanks for confirming what I already suspected about the 50 Shades trilogy. I’m not a Twilight fan & since I have been reading good erotic romance for years, I’m not interested in reading a book that is amateurish. My TBR pile is large enough that I have no need to add hype books to it! I hope these books lead new BDSM readers to better authors. I also hope that it encourages dialogue that is beneficial to the community. Hype usually doesn’t work that way but I can hope!

Cassandra Carr says:

That’s my hope too Angie!

Michelle V says:

That is pretty much what I have been hearing. I will probably read them eventually just to say that I read them for myself, but most readers who were already fans of erotic romance have not been impressed with the books. I think the books may be attracting mostly people that weren’t reading erotica before. The hype seems to be causing new interest in the erotic genres in general.

Michelle V

Cassandra Carr says:


That’s what I am hoping for as well. There are so many great erotic romance and BDSM books out there, I just hope these ladies continue to buy books and are able to discover them!