Dec 162012
 

Christian and Ana go back to Seattle. More newlywed stuff that gets pretty tired pretty fast. Christian continues to use mock threats of punishment against Ana, and it still is maddeningly unclear to Ana and to us whether he means it.

“You going to spank me?” I whisper, and suddenly there are butterflies in my stomach. Perhaps this is what I need . . . this is what I have been missing.
He gazes down at me, his eyes darkening.
“I don’t want to hurt you, but I’m more than happy to play.”
I glance nervously around the large room, but we are out of earshot.
“Only if you misbehave, Mrs. Grey.” He bends and murmurs in my ear.
How can he put so much sensual promise into six words?
“I’ll see what I can do.” I grin.

It’s becoming increasingly apparent that EL James wrote this serially with no particular plan. There are long stretches with nothing but details of the Grey family and its newest addition. (There’s a scene with Christian singing while playing the piano, which his family regards as akin to Tiny Tim walking again, and it’s supposedly thanks to Ana.) Even though there’s somebody gunning for Christian, it’s easy to forget that.

This isn’t to say that FSOG should read like a thriller, but it rather awkwardly mixes thriller elements (in which the stakes are life and death) with romance elements (in which the stakes are on the emotional level). At the moment, neither the thriller elements nor the romance elements are really working. The threats are too infrequent to create a sense of mounting tension, and as Christian and Ana are already married, there’s really nowhere to go without them breaking up again. (There’s a reason romance novels almost never have sequels.)

Much of this chapter is a set-piece car chase with Ana driving Christian’s car with him in the passenger seat. Their pursuer is a mysterious car with false license plates. Ana wonders how Christian’s security team could know that. Do they run the plates of every car that comes near their employer?

The scene doesn’t work terribly well as the chasing car is too abstract to be an engaging threat. It’s also unclear what the mystery car was doing as it follows Christian’s car from the Grey estate into Seattle; it’s not like where Christian lives is a secret. And if the car was chasing him, what was the driver going to do if they caught him? (I considered this was all some elaborate prank Christian and his goon squad cooked up to play on Ana.)

It turns out the driver of the mysterious car is a woman, not Jack Hyde, and not Leila nor Elena. (An actual plot twist!) Perhaps another one of Christian’s exes, who is a professional stunt driver too? We can only hope, though it is a bit late to introduce a completely new character.

As with any significant event in Ana and Christian’s life, this leads to sex, this time in Christian’s parked car while hiding from the mystery car, followed by “something rough” when they get back to Christian’s penthouse. Just another day in the life of Christian Grey.

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