I hadn't originally planned it so, but as with another recently widely popular book trilogy (Hunger Games), I began in the middle. Had the gossip and media hype over E.L. James and her runaway erotica bestseller '50 Shades of Grey' left more to the imagination I might have done different. I seriously felt compelled to get far ahead enough to dodge all of the public giveaway that put me off from reading book one.
Having just completed '50 Shades Darker' and '50 Shades Freed', I stand by my choice. This is because James does a fine job with backstory, recalling just enough elements of the first installment to illustrate how characters and storyline evolve. She does it in a way that doesn't overload the page with filler spots that detract from the present story just in case a reader like myself or one with a sub-par memory detects a gap in the midst of all that red hot lovin' between Ms. Steele and Mr. Grey. In the span of two books containing over 1,000 pages (more than half of which you can quantify in sex) Ana and Christian despite steep odds and missteps--i.e., philandering bosses, gun-toting exes, control-issues to name a few--do manage to cultivate a genuine love for one another. What makes Ana and Christian's story as the future Mr. and Mrs. Grey so intriguing is that they just have rather carnal ways of getting there, and holding it together.
Have to say, erotic literature goes back centuries, but ones with a stylish plot and characters with actual depth like this is fun summer reading. Take out or minimize the X-rated parts, and it's just another contemporary romance novel, and I've read my share of those. This is even better, Ms. James, you read my mind!
I'll save for now '50 Shades of Grey' for a gray day of my own, but for now I'm good to return to my usual, the novels that dole out the racy in modest fashion. Makes for a better entrance...