The power of hype

So, last week I told everyone that if a book doesn’t entertain you, and you don’t like it, you should just put it aside and read something else. But have I always followed my own advice? Have I fuck. This is week seven of my 26-week book challenge, and this week I’m discussing what is in my opinion the most overrated book I have ever read.

Now, I keep saying that some of these questions are really hard to answer; obviously in some cases so hard that I’ve refused to try and do so. However, this week, for once, is actually a really easy question, even if the answer is a trilogy, because by far the most ridiculously overrated book on the planet is E L James’ Fifty Shades of Grey.

Yes, I have actually read the full trilogy. Why? I’m still asking myself that question. It certainly wasn’t because I enjoyed reading it.

Let’s start with Anastasia. I do not believe I have ever come across a ditzier, more clueless, more annoying heroine in my entire reading career. The problem isn’t that she’s not perfect – flawed protagonists are much more interesting than perfect ones. The problem is that she’s just not believable. This is a student in her early twenties, and not only is she still a virgin, but she’s never even masturbated in her entire life? Yeah right. But even if that were believable, and we assume that she’s never even so much as mildly lusted after a boy, we then have to believe that she instantly gets the total hots for Christian Grey? Just because he’s, well, hot?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for overwhelming hotness and instant attraction between your main characters, but it simply doesn’t make sense if up until now your heroine has been more virginal than a nun in solitary confinement. Please, authors, feel free to try and put anything past me, but make me believe it! Make me believe that she’ll happily jump into bed with him and let him ‘rip through her virginity’ after only knowing him for a few days? Weeks? I can’t even remember.

Then we have Christian. Oh dear. Many people have said it far more eloquently, but the guy is a dick. ‘You’re driving this car. You’re running this company. You’ll wear this, eat that, fuck me just like this. Oh, I’m so broken, wah wah wah.’

The ‘plot’ itself? Meh. Very little really happens, but it happens in a really annoying way. The inane e-mail conversations, the inane conversations in general, the constant, constant, constant blathering about her subconsciousness and her inner goddess, the overuse of ‘oh my’, ‘crap’, any conjugation of the verb ‘to murmur’, oh, I could go on forever.

And yet I still read all three damn books!

I’ve already said that I don’t really know why, and that’s true up to a point. However, I can probably pinpoint a few factors that contributed to this act of masochism on my part.

1) I bought all three. It was basically a choice of spend three quid on book one or four quid on all three, so I went for the latter. At this point I’d heard a lot of bad things already, so it was probably rather foolish of me, but there’s always this innate sense of ‘hey, I got a bargain there!’

2) This is what the title of this post refers to: there had been so much hype about this trilogy that I felt I had to form my own opinion of it. I find it really annoying when people say they hate something when they’ve never read/eaten/watched it, so even though I’d heard really really bad things, I felt that I couldn’t possibly offer my own opinion unless it was an informed opinion. And yes, I know, that still doesn’t explain why I didn’t just stop after five chapters.

3) Throughout all three books I kept thinking ‘maybe it’ll get better at some point’. Again, why I still thought this midway through book three is a total mystery.

4) This is probably the most plausible explanation: it was so bad that I kept reading out of sheer fascination. Think along the lines of constantly finding something worse than what you read before, and thinking ‘oh wow, this can’t possibly get any worse, can it? Let’s read on and find out!’ And then, inevitably, it did get worse.

Ultimately, all I can say is good on EL James that she’s managed to become a multibillionaire with such a godawful piece of shit, but sweet fucking Christ on a bicycle it pisses me off as well. My books are much, much better than her three pieces of drivel, but because I haven’t got the entire Twilight fanbase dogging my heels I’m getting nowhere. I really need me some hype. Maybe I should claim my books started off as Game of Thrones fanfic?

Do please let me know whether you agree or whether I have now permanently alienated you. I always love to see comments!


4 thoughts on “The power of hype

  1. tktrian

    I tried to read the 50 Shades of Crap but didn’t get past the first 10 pages. Felt like there was nothing I could learn and all I’d get was an ulcer. James probably sold her soul to the devil, but on the other hand, hype is a weird thing. We seem to love utter crap almost as much as we love quality stuff. Maybe you’ll have to start writing embarrassing, cringeworthy smut? Suppose that’s life, some people get a bigger share of gummy bears than others. For what it’s worth, we sort of advertised your novels on one writing forum when one member complained about the lack of good Romance…
    – K

    1. Erica Dakin Post author

      There’s no way I’ll ever write embarrassing, cringeworthy smut! I have my pride! Maybe I should start writing elf/dragon porn, to cash in on the dinosaur porn that seems to be all the rage now…

      And I have to ask – how did you ‘sort of’ advertise them? Isn’t advertising like the Force: do or do not, there is no ‘sort of’? 😉

  2. tktrian

    Yeah, that dinosaur porn… What gives? It’s just so frustrating that some lucky sod manages to make a big buck with something so disturbing while many erotica authors who write real novels with real characters with no lizard-fucking in the mix get far less attention and money.

    Haha yeah, you aren’t allowed to advertise on that forum (, but you can recommend novels, yet in a way it felt like advertising ’cause we know you 😮 It was a thread about why so many contemporary romance novels are so bad and badly written (not just 50 Shades, the OP ranted about a bunch of supposedly highly rated stuff), and I wrote there that if the OP likes fantasy, she should check out Erica Dakin’s half-elf romances ’cause she writes well, the women are not stupid dolls, and it’s not boring, namby-pamby stuff either — which is true!

    1. Erica Dakin Post author

      Ahh, I see! Well, thank you for the plug, I appreciate it. =)

      And I should have said in my post that if anyone wants to read well-written erotica, which includes bondage, they should read Kit Rocha’s Beyond series. Awesome.


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