Since the beginning of time, similar things have always been compared to each other: Pepsi or Coke? Lemon or Lime? Boxers or Briefs? And books are no exception!
Throwdown Thursdays: On the first Thursday of every month I play the ultimate game of “Would You Rather” with books that are inevitably compared to each other. After 3 rounds, I pick my winner. Feel free to join in by commenting, making your own response (just link back) or vote in my poll! Here is this month’s match:
Crossfire Series by Sylvia Day | Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy by E L James
Round 1: The Hero
Mysterious, Tortured Millionaire vs Mysterious, Tortured Millionaire
Both Gideon Cross and Christian Grey are top dogs in the business world but who wins the hearts of readers?
I’m not a fan of alpha males so I really don’t care for either Gideon or Christian. Their constant need to “own” their respective love interests nauseates me. I’m all for confident characters but these guys are extreme.
I never warmed up to Gideon Cross. I never got his appeal and his intensity was just WAYyyy to high for my tastes. He actually scares me in his intensity and it makes me question the relationship he shares with Eva.
Christian on the other hand, I grew to like. While his intensity was strong in the first book, I really felt like he made some significant progress as the series progressed. Given his past, I understood why he acted the way he did (for certain things). I just felt like he took things down a notch instead of amping up like Gideon did
Winner: Christan Grey. While Christian is intense, he never took things to the extremes that Gideon did.
Crossfire: 0 | Fifty Shades of Grey: 1
Round 2: The Heroine
Experienced, Flawed Woman vs Inexperience, Flawless Woman
Who compliments their male counterpart the best? Eva, equally damaged woman or, Ana, the naive student fresh from collage?
What I initially liked about Eva is that she wasn’t a naive virgin. Not that there is anything wrong with that, it just seemed so cliche in Fifty Shades. Eva has a dark past and I liked that it made her think more about starting something with Gideon. She was also very independent in the first book but that quickly changed as the series progressed. She got wayyy to dependent on Gideon and it became nauseating to read. She quickly fell from a favourite contemporary heroine to one of my least.
Ana on the other hand I always liked. Sure, she was naive and her attributes are so cliche they serve as the definition of contemporary romance tropes BUT, I felt like she really grew as a character (well, as much as she could in a contemporary erotica romance). I appreciated her ability to stop when certain things were going to fast and that she wanted to be an independent woman and not get everything handled for her. I guess I just
Winner: Ana. I just found her to be more consistent in her character delivery.
Crossfire: 0 | Fifty Shades of Grey: 2
Round 3: The plot/Romance
Learning to Love vs Learning BDSM
Two people trying to love each other despite the many obstacles in their way and their own personal demons.
The Crossfire series is definitely more of an erotic romance than anything else though it has its suspenseful and dramatic moments. The best part is that these elements are present from the first book whereas Fifty Shades doesn’t really start until the second. And these books really have a darker element to them as things escalate. Unfortunately, I think this series suffers from over popularity, resulting in the series being 5 books long instead of the 3 or 4 books it was supposed to be. I really feel like the plot lines are being stretched thin and the characters are suffering from it. I haven’t enjoyed the last two books very much (I actually haven’t finished the latest one yet).
As for their romance, I find it to be extremely unhealthy in the later books. It’s a shame because I really saw why they would work together earlier on and I liked them together. However, their dependencies on each other and the extremes they go to later on makes me very uncomfortable. It gives me the heebee-jeebees and it’s really turning me off of this series.
It was the opposite with Ana and Christian in Fifty Shades of Grey. I started being a little creeped out by Christian’s intensity to be with Ana after only briefly meeting but as the series progressed, I was really rooting for them. I felt like their relationship evolved to be more than just BDSM experimentation and Ioved that (no pun intended). Is it a completely healthy one? No, but it could have been a lot worse.
It’s also no secret that the first book of the Fifty Shades Trilogy is basically just sex scene upon sex scene (I think all but two are not described). I’m not a BDSM fan so I really didn’t enjoy exploring this side of sexuality. I definitely liked the later books that focused more on uncovering Christian’s past and other dramatic events and those are the highlights of the series to me.
Winner: Crossfire. While I really don’t like the direction the series has moved, I feel like the earlier books were more fine-tuned when it came to balancing the sexy-times with the more dramatic elements.
Crossfire: 1 | Fifty Shades of Grey: 2
Ultimate Winner: Fifty Shades of Grey
Final Comments: Love it or hate it, Fifty Shades of Grey has done a lot for the contemporary erotic romance genre. Other authors have taken the basis of the trilogy and upped the ante with better writing, more dramatics and hotter romance. So it might not be the greatest novel ever, but, I still enjoyed reading it and appreciate that it never tried to be more than it was (well, the movie tried but that’s a whole other review 😉 )
What are your thoughts: which one would you rather read? Leave a comment below!