Fifty Shades is a series of erotic novels written by E.L James. The Fifty Shades series initially went unnoticed by most readers. However, when the books finally began to draw attention, that interest exploded into a level of popularity that has since catapulted the Fifty Shades series to the top of many bestseller lists. The Fifty Shades of Grey series is a trilogy of novels, however, a fourth book in the series, Grey, tells the series from the viewpoint of Christian Grey, the male lead of the series.
Order of Fifty Shades Series
|1||Fifty Shades of Grey||2011|
|2||Fifty Shades Darker||2011|
|3||Fifty Shades Freed||2012|
The Fifty Shades books explore the relationship between a college graduate by the names of Anastasia Steele, and Christian Grey, a business magnate. When Ana and Christian meet in Fifty Shades of Grey, the first book in the series, Ana is a fairly innocent girl largely inexperienced in matters of love and sex.
In meeting and falling for Christian, though, Ana is quickly dragged into the world of BDSM, with their relationship taking several twists and turns as Ana initially goes with the flow of Christian’s eccentric sexual tastes and then attempts to flee from a world that is not only stranger than she expected but which only seems to grow darker the more time she spends indulging Christian.
The books were an expected success even for E.L. James who began jotting the story down as fanfiction for the Twilight Saga. This was back in 2009. The fanfiction tale, which took a far more sexual approach to the Twilight story, quickly garnered interest.
By 2013, James’ Fifty Shades novels were selling copies in the millions and climbing to the top of almost every bestseller list in the United States. The books, which James described as a manifestation of her midlife crisis, have been bashed by literary critics on numerous occasions.
That has done little to inhibit the popularity of the books, which are very explicit in their description of sex and which seem to appeal to a female audience.
The first book in the Fifty Shades series, Fifty Shades of Grey, was released in 2011. This was the first foray into published fiction for the author, EL James, and it set a new demand around the world for erotic fiction thanks to the success of Fifty Shades of Grey, and the following titles. Fifty Shades of Grey introduces the character of Anastasia Steele, who, at the start of the story, is getting ready to finish her degree at college. As a favour to an ill friend, she goes to interview business tycoon Christian Grey, and from there on out, a series of events unfold which sees Anastasia exploring her sexuality with Christian. She enters into a BDSM relationship, and the core theme of the book, as well as the series, is of the slave/master relationship, and the exploration of sexuality through the eyes of someone naïve to the scene. Fifty Shades of Grey sets the background for the remaining books in the series.
The second book in the Fifty Shades series, Fifty Shades Darker, was released in 2012. The story continues the relationship between Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey, with Anastasia now living in Seattle, working for a publisher who continuously comes on to her. It explores how Christian was introduced into the BDSM style with one of his early lovers playing a major part in the story. Fifty Shades Darker also deals with a revenge theme throughout, and the storyline involves a few more strands than the first book in the series, Fifty Shades of Grey.
The third and final book in the Fifty Shades trilogy is Fifty Shades Freed, which was released in 2012. Again, the book revolves around the relationship between Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele. The BDSM relationship between the two continues, but a change in their relationship means that Anastasia must come to learn to adjust to the controlling nature of Christian. The book goes through the relationship struggles that confront the couple as they learn more and more about each other. It is not as dark as Fifty Shades Darker, but still retains some of the dark themes from the previous two books.
The fourth book released by EL James, Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey As Told By Christian, which was released in 2015, is not another book in the series, per se, as it does not advance the story from Fifty Shades Freed. Instead, the narrative tells the story of Fifty Shades of Grey from the viewpoint of Christian Grey, as opposed to that of Anastasia.
The Fifty Shades of Grey series has also been adapted into a series of films, starring Irish actor Jamie Dornan.
Fifty Shades Awards
E.L. James might be one of the most critically panned authors in the world, but that did not stop her from taking UK National Book Awards home in 2012, and in two separate categories.
James was also named Publishing Person of the Year by Publishers Weekly, a development that attracted the ire of many critics and writers.
Fifty Shades Books into Movies
The popularity of the Fifty Shades series was such that the first book was adapted for the Big Screen by Focus Pictures in 2015; and even though the movie was just as heavily panned as its book counterpart, critics were surprised by its amazing box office performance, with Fifty Shades of Grey making over five hundred million dollars World Wide.
The success of the movie, which starred Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as Ana and Christian, was such that follow up sequels were announced soon after, with Fifty Shades Darker finally coming out in 2017.
Best Fifty Shades Books
The Fifty Shades books might be despised by critics all over the world, but they are highly popular, with some of the best books in the series including the following:
Fifty Shades of Grey: Anastasia Steele was a fairly ordinary literature student. She didn’t think much of her opportunity to interview Christian Grey. Then she met the young entrepreneur and was immediately taken by his beauty and brilliance. Ana soon found that she was driven by desperation to get close him.
And she was shocked to learn that Christian was quite taken by her beauty and independent spirit. But Christian only wanted her on his own terms. Ana soon learns that there is more to Christian than meets the eye, and that he is not always in control of his demons.
The first book in the Fifty Shades series is pretty straight forward. It finds Ana struggling with her feelings for an enigmatic man and wondering how far she might be willing to go to acquire his affections. The book is definitely written for mature audiences and features a lot of sex.
Fifty Shades Darker: Anastasia Steele thought she had left her relationship with Christian Grey and his unique sexual proclivities in the past. But when Christian returns and proposes a new arrangement, Ana is powerless to stop him from drawing her back into his broken world.
The second Fifty Shades book finds Ana trying to move forward after she ended things with Christian. However, when Christian comes back, Ana cannot help but wonder whether he might have changed for the better following their encounter.
Other Book Series You May Like
The “Twilight” series chronicles the life of a young girl who garners the love of an ancient vampire and a brash werewolf, both of whom seem set on tearing each other apart for her sake.
The “Crossfire” series tells the story of young man and a young woman who struggle with the scars of the abuse they suffered as children even as they engage in a tumultuous and highly erotic relationship.
Fifty Shades FAQs
Q: What order should I read the Fifty shades series in?
A: You should read Fifty Shades of Grey, and then Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told By Christian, to get the story from both points of view. That should be followed by Fifty Shades Darker, and then Fifty Shades Freed.
Q: Who writes the Fifty Shades series?
A: The Fifty Shades series is written by English author EL James.