So first of all, let me start by saying-Yes, I am a little late getting to this party. BUT, I just had to see what all the hype was about. And personally I felt it didn't live up to all the hype about how X-rated it was supposed to be. Yes there was very descriptive sex. . . yes there was bondage, dominance, sadism, and masochism (BDSM), but it wasn't so very x-rated. I felt it was in line with the other BDSM erotica that is out in print.
I feel that Miss James did an excellent job developing Anastasia and Christian's story. This is a story with many facets. I personally do not know if the BDSM is realistic, but I feel Miss James did a good job of making it feel real. Her writing and descriptions of the sex and bondage never made me feel dirty. She did a very good job of portraying the sexual relationship between Anastasia and Christian as consenting and not rape-like.
I was very impressed with how she developed Christian and Anastasia. Anastasia started out as a college girl unable to find a guy who could excite her sexually. In her naivete', she thought it was because she hadn't come across Mr. Right. After meeting Christian and becoming involved with him, he introduces her to his sexual world. She finds herself aroused by Christian's secret world of sex in a way that no other man was able to achieve. As she finds herself falling deeper and deeper for Christian, she starts to wonder about this sexual world of his. She tries to leave, but finds she can't. She is in love with him. But is she willing to stay in this deviant world of sex because that is what Christian needs or is it really what she needs?
And Christian, a strong, confident, ruthless business man. On their first visit he is arrogant and aloof, but very intrigued by Anastasia. He asks her out and introduces her to his erotic world of sex unknowing that she is a virgin. After their first encounter, much to his utter dismay, he finds out that Anastasia was a virgin. He is angry with himself for introducing her to his messed up sexual interests during her first sexual encounter. Being very intrigued by her, Christian tries very hard to be "vanilla" with her. But when she pushes him to expand her knowledge of his sexual world, he is all but helpless to deny her.
I enjoyed the way Miss James developed each character. As you read, you can picture how each character is evolving gradually. Anastasia becomes more worldly, yet is unable to discuss all she is feeling and experiencing with anyone other than Christian because of their agreement. Without any past experiences to compare their relationship to, she finds herself in a constant struggle with herself trying to decide if all is well.
And Christian is used to being a man listened to and obeyed by everyone. He is used to his sex life including women who already know about his dark erotic world. But in Anastasia, he finds himself in a whole new area romantically-meaning that he actually cares for Anastasia and finds that she is so much more than a mere sex partner. Christian evolves from being a hard, ruthless, cold man to a confident, yet confused man who finds himself willing to compromise instead of controlling everything related to Anastasia. The reader watches as Christian starts to soften and open up. Could he be in love or is she just such an anomaly to him that it is taking longer for him to work her out of his system?
This isn't really a story about sex. It is a story about 2 people falling in love and willing to compromise as well as do whatever it takes to make the person they love happy. It is not a happily ever after story, but a realistic story of how 2 people have to work to make their relationship last. The sex is just part of what needs to be worked out to make the relationship survive.
I recommend this book to readers of erotica that are not afraid to look past the BDSM, to see the actual "meat" of the story. Although, I will be very intrigued to see how they are able to keep the movie true to the story without altering what is an important part of Christian and Anastasia's story.