Definitely different - know a lot of people like it, a lot hate it. I ended up really enjoying it, but I'm an oddball with this stuff so that doesn't surprise me. I find it amusing today to find out it was Twilight inspired. I'm not a fan of the Twilight series at all, so this makes me chuckle.
The plot is completely character-focused: Ana is a young, innocent girl who meets a young, sexually advanced man. They end up together, sort-of, going back and forth with plenty of doubt, uncertainty, experimentation, angst, and love. The build-up is a little slow to keep it realistic and reading foreplay interesting, and once sex is there fun experimentation comes into play.
Some have said it's basically a porn book. Honestly it doesn't seem to me to hold more sex than a lot of romances (especially historical) and paranormal romances out there. I do appreciate the author making a build-up to it, too. Over a hundred pages pass before any sex happens, and emotions play a large part of the story, not just lust.
BDSM is present of course, it's Fifty shades of Grey after all! Despite the fun set-up of the "Red Room", things stay moderately light in their experimentation. It's not so out there it's hardcore D/s or BDSM lifestyle at all. Much of the sex is vanilla in nature to build up for the character.
I enjoyed Ana's character for the most part, but she started seriously lacking toward the end. Over-analyze much? She wouldn't drop a lot of things and keeps overdoing things in her head. She seems Christian as someone who is broken and needs fixing, while he sees himself as that way for a reason and not wanting to change, although he is trying to compromise.
Personally I found Christian erotic as hell sometimes, scary other times. I was irritated sometimes when he said "baby", that just seems out of character and place. He was way too controlling and stalker mode with other scenes. Really dug her roommate and the other characters involved. The e-mails were a lot of fun!
The ending was depressing, and I'm glad there's more to come. I'd hate for it to end here with this bitter resolution. I'm hoping for a happy-ever-after myself, although I would be irritated if the happy-ever-after meant Ana is right with some of her thinking.
The book is fascinating and I couldn't stop reading it, but there's some flaws. The thinking of Ana is off sometimes I think, she over-complicates and over-analyzes, sometimes a few lines are cheesy, and some of the sex is a bit unrealistic with chemistry, but since it's a romance book technically, this kind of can be expected. Looking forward to reading the second to see what happens.
“Sometimes I wonder if there's something wrong with me. Perhaps I've spent too long in the company of my literary romantic heroes, and consequently my ideals and expectations are far too high.” - Anastasia
“I want you sore, baby,” he murmurs, and he continues his sweet, leisurely torment, backward, forward. “Every time you move tomorrow, I want you to be reminded that I’ve been here. Only me. You are mine.” - Christian