Grey: critic-proof Fifty Shades rewrite breaks UK sales record

Jun 24, 2015

Follow up to EL James's hit trilogy from Grey's perspective branded 'revolting', but fans don't care


Grey, the new Fifty Shades spin-off panned by critics last week, has become the fastest-selling adult title ever in the UK.

Fans ignored reviews deriding EL James's latest book as "revolting" and "creepy beyond belief", with more than 647,400 copies sold in the UK in the first three days.

This beat the previous UK record holder Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol, which sold 551,000 copies in five days in 2009.

In the US, 1.1 million copies of Grey were sold in four days, supporting EL James's claims that her fans had "asked… and asked… and asked… and asked" for a Fifty Shades rewrite from the perspective of sadistic billionaire Christian Grey.

In one particularly scathing review, the Daily Telegraph's Bryony Gordon said she found Grey "about as sexy as a misery memoir and as arousing as the diary of a sex offender". She summarised Grey as "a cut-price Mr Darcy in nipple clamps" and said Anastasia was written with the "personality of a blow-up doll".

The book nevertheless shot to the top of Amazon's bestseller lists in the US and the UK, beating other popular novels such as Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman and Paula Hawkins's The Girl on the Train.

"If you thought the Fifty Shades mania was wearing down, you were very much mistaken," says Emma Cueto at Bustle. In the US, the book has gone back to press for "second, third and fourth printings, and currently has about 2.1 million copies in print", says Cueto.

But she points out that it is not breaking records in America as it is in the UK. By comparison, JK Rowling's seventh Harry Potter book sold 8.3 million copies in the US within the first 24 hours.

"Given the obvious commercial success of Grey, will EL James be going on to retell the other two books in the Fifty Shades trilogy from Christian's perspective?" asks Cueto. "It's anyone's guess at this point, but if the response to this book is any indication, I imagine fans will be pleased if she does."

Grey: critics turned-off by 'creepy' Fifty Shades rewrite

24 June

The hotly-anticipated follow-up to the bestselling erotic Fifty Shades trilogy has been published, and the critics have not been kind to author EL James. The book, called Grey, has been described as "creepy", "revolting" and "Mr Darcy in nipple clamps".

James's new book retells the story of her original novel, Fifty Shades of Grey, about a sadomasochistic relationship between billionaire Christian Grey and literature student Anastasia Steele, but this time it is told from the perspective for Grey rather of Steele.

According to the author, "thousands of readers" had requested to hear Grey's version of events, reports the BBC, and the new book was published on 18 June, to coincide with the character's birthday.

But while fans might have been begging for more, the critics are turned off.

It is almost the same book, says Jenny Colgan in The Guardian. "We follow each scene in the same order", says Colgan, and it seems the "the dialogue has been cut and pasted in" from the original. 

But where the first book was a rather fun portrait of a woman's sexual fantasy, says Colgan. This one is reminiscent of those thrillers that open from the point of view of the heavy-breathing murderer stalking his prey. It's "creepy beyond belief", she adds.

According to Bryony Gordon in the Daily Telegraph, the result is "as sexy as a misery memoir" and "almost revolting". Grey seems like a desperate sexual predator, says Gordon, "a cut-price Mr Darcy in nipple clamps". 

We are supposed to pity him, says Gordon. But the only person she pitied was Anastasia, who is written in this book with the "personality of a blow-up doll".

Entertainment Weekly makes a list of "cringeworthy" lines featuring such gems as: "Her sharp intake of breath is music to my dick." There are plenty more memorable "WTF" lines, EW says.

"Are you hungry?'/ 'Not for food,' she teases. / Whoa. She might as well be addressing my groin."

And: "'How would you like your eggs?'" / " 'Thoroughly whisked and beaten,' I reply."

Or how about: "'Oh, I exercise control in all things, Miss Steele.' And I'd like to exercise it over you, right here, right now."

The Economist says it will come as no surprise that Christian Grey doesn't improve upon greater acquaintance. "He is still a mean, moneyed misogynist with recherche sexual tastes and an insatiable appetite for control."

But the the gravy train just rolls on with Grey, an "even more deeply unpleasant, insecure asshole than previously imagined", says the Economist. What's disappointing is that "the author and her publishers are so bereft of ambition".

"But will any of this matter a jot to the aforementioned fans?" the magazine adds. "Probably not."

New Fifty Shades stolen: will Grey novel join spate of leaks?

11 June

EL James's new Fifty Shades novel, Grey, is due to be published next week, but one reader, it seems, couldn't wait. A copy of the manuscript has been stolen and its publishers are now concerned about piracy and leaks.

The erotic new book retells the best-selling story of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele's unusual love life but this time from Christian's perspective rather than Anastasia's. It is due for publication on 18 June, and is already on top of Amazon's book charts. 

But this week the publisher, Penguin Random House, revealed that a copy had been stolen, and the Daily Mail reports that a police investigation is underway, amid fears the contents will be made public before the book comes out.

This is not the first time an early copy of a highly-anticipated work has been hijacked. There has been a spate of leaks of popular projects in recent years – here are some of the most high-profile.


The theft of Grey recalls the fate of one of the Twilight series books, which were the original inspiration for Fifty Shades, claims The Guardian. Back in 2008, author Stephenie Meyer penned a new version of the story, from the perspective of the vampire Edward Cullen rather than the human teenager Bella. But a partial draft of Midnight Sun was stolen and made available online. Meyer was so upset about the leak, she decided to stop writing the novel.

Harry Potter

In 2007, the final novel in JK Rowling's Harry Potter series was leaked online days before its release, despite massive security. All 759 pages of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows were leaked, and some bloggers angered fans by listing the characters who died in the book. The film version of the book also suffered a leak when a 36-minute clip of the movie was posted on file-sharing websites days before its release. And in 2003, a forklift truck driver also stole pages of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, concealing them in his lunchbox, before attempting to sell them to the Sun, the Guardian reported.

James Bond 

In November last year, an early draft of the script for the upcoming Bond film, Spectre, was stolen by hackers during the cyber attack on Sony Pictures. Along with the script, hackers snatched lengthy notes from Sony and MGM executives advising the writer to improve the script's ending which one called “a let down”, reports Gawker. The film, presumably with a better ending, is due out this November.


In 2009, an unfinished copy of X-Men Origins: Wolverine was leaked online a month before it was released in cinemas. The Daily Mail reported that props such as a green screen and special effects wires attached to actors were still visible in the leaked copy. Actor Hugh Jackman who played the leading role said the leak had left him "heartbroken". New Yorker, Gilberto Sanchez, 49, pleaded guilty to uploading the footage and was jailed for a year for the offence. 

Doctor Who

Even the Doctor has suffered a leak. In July 2014, five scripts for the eighth series of the sci-fi show were posted online - weeks before the episodes were due to be broadcast. Footage of the Doctor, Peter Capaldi, also appeared online, though in black and white and without special effects. The BBC said a leak from a US office was responsible.

Despite recent events, publishers say Grey will still be published on 18 June - Christian Grey's birthday - as planned.

EL James to release Fifty Shades from Grey's perspective

02 June

EL James, the author behind publishing sensation Fifty Shades of Grey, has revealed the release date for a new book written from the perspective of Christian Grey.

The novel – titled Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told By Christian – will be published on 18 June, the birthday of the fictional sadistic billionaire.

James, whose real name is Erika Leonard, says the new book came after readers "asked... and asked... and asked... and asked" for a story told from Grey's viewpoint.

The original trilogy – Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed – is written from the perspective of Anastasia Steele, a college graduate who submits to Grey's bondage-and-discipline fantasies.

"Christian is a complex character, and readers have always been fascinated by his desires and motivations and his troubled past," says James. "Also, as anyone who has ever been in a relationship knows, there are two sides to every story. It's been a great pleasure to return to my happy place: writing, being with Christian and Ana in their universe, and working with the fantastic team at Vintage."

The author's UK editor Selina Walker claims it is "what the fans have been waiting for" and is "just as addictive" as the original trilogy.

"Holy crap!" exclaims The Guardian. "Christian Grey, the enigmatic, dominating protagonist of EL James' Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, is about to tell the world his own story, from how he became a successful entrepreneur by the age of 27 to why he has a 'Red Room of Pain' on hand for his lover."

The book's back cover asks the questions apparently troubling readers' minds: "Will being with Ana dispel the horrors of his childhood that haunt Christian every night? Or will his dark sexual desires, his compulsion to control, and the self-loathing that fills his soul drive this girl away and destroy the fragile hope she offers him?"

Fans won't have to wait long to find out, says the Wall Street Journal, with such a quick turnaround from announcement to publication "rare" in the publishing world.

The Daily Telegraph says the publication will "doubtless be a major moment for the book industry this summer", especially after the original trilogy "re-wrote the rule-book" about what fans wanted and how they read.

The original trilogy has sold more than 125 million copies across the world, while its film adaptation starring Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson set box office records when it was released in the US and UK earlier this year. The movie's sequel, Fifty Shades Darker, is set to be released in 2017, with James's husband Niall Leonard reportedly working on the script.

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No way Ryan Gosling will pull that off!  Ian Somerhalder is Christian Grey...period.

Are you kidding! Ryan is the perfect fifty shades of Christian Grey! He's an amazing actor!!!! Have you seen any of his films the last couple of years? (I think people are thinking of him in Notebook, and he's much more than that) He has every shade of Christian perfected as an actor. Then add in his sexy body and WOW you have the perfect actor for the role. Don't get me wrong, Ian is nice eye candy and I'm perfectly fine with him playing the role (I can see him in it), but I'm not sure he's experienced enough yet to handle all the shades.

I think Ian somerfield (damon from Vampire diaries) would play a good Christine OR Kullen dude from Twilight has a very good face for Fifty shades, Ryan i like BUT i dont picture him as fifty

Can’t wait but I think Alexander Skarsgard would be a much better Christian Grey and Kristen stewart would be better than Scarlett Johansson

Ryan Gosling is too old to be Christian Grey people!

alexander skaarsgard to play christian!!!!

Ryan doesn't have that crooked smile or smoldering eyes like Ian.  Ian demonstrates his mood swing acting talent in the Vampire Diaries. And Ian's body...That is spectacular!  Don't get me wrong, Ryan is hot.  But he just doesn't have it in the face to be Christian. I cannot picture him with a sadistic side. He looks too puppy dog cute....  

Ian Somerhalder IS Christian Grey. 

Nope Ryan Gosling shouldn't be Christian Grey. We need a new face and talent that has not been seen before to make this movie worth the money. That's my opinion. A fresh face will bring more to the table. I hope the director's make a good choice.

I couldnt agree more...those eyes!!!!!

There better be more books from Mr Greys story! I need to read more about it! cant get it out of my head!

I don't like the female selections for Anastasia....I was thinking Natalie Portman since she has great range. Too bad Brad Pitt is older. he would be a good prospect since he is beautiful but has the ability to play the many shades. Angelina would make a great Elena!

I hope she writes the books from christen,s point of view and very very soon it,s been nearly a week since i read the last three and i still cannot get them out of my head. I will be reading them again and again and again.

Ryan Gosling no way is he Fifty....I agree Skarsgard.its got to be someone with a bit of edginess to them-and please no Kristen Stewart

I hope that E. L. James decides to rewrite the trilogy in Chrsitian's perspective soon!! I just finished the last book Fifty Shades Freed and I am already sitting with anticipation for more. I think that Matt Bomer would be a perfect Christian in the movie!! Almost exactly what I pictured in my head when reading the trilogy!!!

Jessie Pavelka for Christian Grey and open auditions for Ana!! There needs to be a fresh new face with no ties to any other TV show or movie characters !! I'd love to play the part, i'm told by everyone I know that i'm the perfect Ana

Please rewrite in Christian's perspective!!!!! Also, Ian somelhandler FOR SIRE. His smoldering eyes are perfect. Plus he has mastered smirking too. Lol

Matt bomber = christian gray! Google him and you will see christian!! And I as well would love reading fifty shades in Christians perspective!!!

I agree, I don't picture RG reading the story.

I feel the same, Lucy Hale comes to mind as Ana.

RG is no way Fifty, I can appreciate KS as Ana, but not RG.