Better than Fifty Shades of Grey

** This post is at least R-rated and discussed adult subjects such as sex and sexual abuse.  It also contains spoilers for Fifty Shades of Grey and the Crossfire Series (Bared to You and Reflected in You).  Reader discretion advised.**

I didn’t review Bared to You/Reflected in You by Sylvia Day   (Crossfire series) because apparently many people already have.

I have written in other posts that Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James (and the subsequent books) were recommended to me by a friend.  I finally read it after libraries and bookstores in the South started banning it.  Nothing like a good, old-fashioned book ban to get my attention :).

I do have my complaints about the series, namely the BDSM, and also with the poor writing.  But overall I enjoyed the intense love story.

My main complaint with the BDSM is because I am a survivor of sexual abuse.  I had to skip over big sections of Fifty because it really got to me.  There are small elements of BDSM in Crossfire series, but they just discuss it (i.e. who is dominate, who is submissive) and there is nothing like the “red room of pain” as in Fifty.

The same friend who recommended Fifty sent me her physical copies of Bared to You and Reflected in You by Sylvia Day.  This friend doesn’t know my past. See my post on books I avoid.

In my opinion, this series is much better than Fifty.

Almost same premise, but much stronger characters.  Extremely well written.  More believable.  And it is entirely accurate in regards to survivors of sexual abuse.

Eva is a much stronger character than Ana.  She accepts what has happened to her.  She has moved on, she has bettered herself, she has taken on the responsibility of other people (her mother, and Cary).  She knows her triggers, she knows her boundaries, she knows when a situation isn’t good for her.  She has goals, she has determination to reach those goals. She is sexually aware.  She knows what she wants sexually and how to get it.  She is uninhibited.  She has dealt with her past and how it affects her sexual relationships.  Although she still has some nightmares and occasional issues, she knows how to deal with it.  My kind of girl.

Ana, on the other hand, is naive.  She is the same age as Eva, but she’s a virgin (not that its a bad thing, but if you are going to take on Christian Grey, you really shouldn’t be a virgin).  She really hasn’t had the life experience that Eva has had.  She has goals and is working to achieve them, but I’m not sure how she would have reacted to walking in on a friend’s orgy.

In the Crossfire trilogy, both partners are deeply “fucked up”.  Eva even asks their therapist if a couple such as she and Gideon can even survive, given what they have been through.  Both Eva and Gideon have to deal with each others baggage/issues/jealousy/rage.  In Fifty, Christian is the “fifty shades of fucked up” one, and Ana can’t comprehend, and goes along with his need to punish “little dark haired girls”.

But at least with Eva and Gideon, they can understand each other.  They understand the nightmares, the flashbacks, the self-esteem issues.  They understand the triggers, the fear, the anxiety. They can turn to each other, if they can first get over the jealousy.

In both series, there is the undeniable attraction and passion that each couple has for each other.  I don’t know if I’m a romantic or crazy or what, but I do believe in the “soulmates” thing, the “one person out there just for me” thing.  I’m certain I have that in my marriage (and this is my second marriage), and I know I didn’t have that before with any other relationship.  So when I read these books, I can relate to the “electricity” and the intense attraction that is described. And the incredible, mind-blowing sex.

And I can’t ignore the sex that is dripping of the pages of these books.  The sexual situations in the Crossfire series are plentiful.  If I were Eva, I’m not sure I could walk.  And I’m not sure that solving arguments with sex is a good idea.  But I do understand Gideon’s need to feel love through sex.  I think that’s a male thing.  Nothing in the Crossfire series made me uncomfortable.  I didn’t have to skip pages or passages.  Very well written.

The atypical parasomnia scares me.  It does exist.  Just ask any wife (or husband) of someone with PTSD.  Sleep is still a mystery to the medical field.  It is not surprising that Gideon would act out his revenge in his sleep.

Both series have an element of danger to them.  With Fifty its a former boss of Ana who was sexually harassing her.  With Crossfire its the former stepbrother and abuser of Eva.  I found Crossfire more believable in how it was presented and resolved.  In Fifty, I liked how Ana was the heroine, however.

Both series had me captivated.  I do feel that Crossfire is the stronger series, however, in terms of character development, writing, and plot.  But as Sylvia Day points out in her acknowledgements, E.L. James was the one who first made erotic romance novels mainstream.

I do thank Sylvia Day for writing about sexual abuse of both females and males.  This was the first book I have read that dealt with survivors and what they go through.  I truly identified with Eva’s past (the late teen years) as well as her self talk, both positive and negative.  I appreciate the way Sylvia Day highlighted how men are also subjected to sexual abuse, and the different ways they cope:  Cary by self-sabotage, Gideon through dreams and control.

I can’t wait for the third installment of the Crossfire series, set to be released in May.



4 Comments (+add yours?)

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  3. Stephanie
    Dec 05, 2012 @ 11:12:17

    Loved the Crossfire series. Can’t wait till May, when Entwined with You is released. I found the Crossfire series to be better than Fifty Shades in someway!


    • Mommabel
      Dec 05, 2012 @ 11:15:39

      Not that Fifty is a bad book. I went through Crossfire looking for comparisons. But the only thing in common seems to be the screwed up billionaire thing. Awesome books. Thanks for commenting!!


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