Fifty Shades of Grey, from Christian’s perspective.
Anastasia "Ana" Steele stumbles into billionaire Christian Grey's office and clambers her way into his heart despite his need for domination and her need for self-preservation. As James promised her readers, this book tells the now well-known story from Christian's point of view, which means that large swathes of the original novel featuring contact between Ana and Christian—conversations, emails, and the infamous "binding contract between the Dominant and the Submissive"—are essentially copied and pasted into this one, with Ana's first-person narration taken out and replaced by Christian's. What's surprising is how distant and hazy Ana feels, considering how Christian jumped off the pages of the original and how James made us feel connected to his struggles as seen from Ana's perspective. Christian is tortured and enigmatic, which was one of the strengths of Fifty Shades, but his narration lacks subtlety and insight. He continually simplifies his attraction to Ana, referring to her as hot or sexy and saying he wants to dominate her, without any indication that he appreciates the way she's resisting his domineering instincts—or maybe he does appreciate it but still wants to dominate her, which would make it feel even more like a bad high school relationship in which the senior tells the freshman "I really like you, but you're not what I'm looking for, so please change." Christian comes across less as damaged hero than self-centered juvenile bordering on icky creep, which definitely erodes his sexy mystique. James' storytelling here is tedious, repetitive, and sometimes even cringe-worthy. This new take on a familiar story would have been more powerful if Christian had shown the self-awareness and ability to change we saw through Ana's eyes in the original.
Die-hard fans might argue this gives us something new, but it doesn’t—and it's boring.