Saturday, May 5, 2012
"Fifty Shades Darker" Book Review
My review of "Fifty Shades of Grey" has proven to be very popular, so I figured I'd continue with reviews for the other books in the series.
"Daunted by the singular tastes and dark secrets of the beautiful, tormented young entrepreneur Christian Grey, Anastasia Steele has broken off their relationship to start a new career with a Seattle publishing house. But desire for Christian still dominates her every waking thought, and when he proposes a new arrangement, Anastasia cannot resist. They rekindle their searing sensual affair, and Anastasia learns more about the harrowing past of her damaged, driven and demanding Fifty Shades. While Christian wrestles with his inner demons, Anastasia must confront the anger and envy of the women who came before her, and make the most important decision of her life." (Amazon's Description)
**You should only read this if you've already read "Fifty Shades of Grey" or if you're not opposed to some spoilers (not really bad spoilers, but some).
"Fifty Shades of Grey" ends with Ana leaving Christian. She's determined, after letting Christian whip her with a belt, that she is so not cut out for this lifestyle. Though she was once curious (uncomfortably so) about the lifestyle and even liked some of their "scenes", was willing to try, and in love with Christian - the pain and humiliation, as well as the realization that Christian really enjoyed hurting her - was all too much for her to take.
"Fifty Shades Darker" begins just days after the big break-up. As any girl can tell you, those first few days are hell and I feel like E.L. James does a really good job of conveying that hell. Ana doesn't have the option to completely fall apart as she has started her new job at Seattle Independent Publishing and needs to prove herself to her new boss. Christian is never really gone from her life though, sending her flowers to honor her first day, and eventually emailing her as well.
Since we already know that there is a third book, and it also follows Ana and Christian (and Amazon's description gave it away), I'm not really giving anything more away by saying that obviously Ana and Christian work it out and get back together.
After Ana left Christian, he did some serious soul-searching and determined that he wanted Ana in his life, even if she couldn't be his sub. Ana knows that she will never be able to be his submissive, but she enjoys the "kinky fuckery" part of their relationship. It seems as though they've found a happy medium. Or have they?
There is still a ton of sex in this book (and HOT sex at that), but there is also a much needed secondary story line. In addition to the continuing development of Ana and Christian's relationship, there is now a big mystery happening. Ana and Christian have a ton of drama to deal with as well. It's almost like these kids can't catch a break and relax. Everything seems to happen in one week - every day is another huge drama. I swear, they have more drama in the span of a week or two than I have in an entire year!
There's a psycho ex-sub of Christians (who we were briefly introduced to in FSoG), Ana's touchy-feel-y boss at SIP, and we finally meet Mrs. Robinson. Of course drama surrounds all these characters. We also continue to deal with Christian's controlling tendencies, jealousy, and issues stemming from his childhood, as well as Ana's insecurities and self-doubt. Then you throw in some really big life-changing decisions Ana needs to make and a serious accident. As Ana would say, Jeez!
I kept thinking that there was too much going on in these characters lives to be realistic. All the drama, all the sex, plus full-time jobs - I mean really, how on Earth is Christian able to run his incredibly successful empire? How do they fit it all in? Is it because they don't watch TV? And how is Ana so well-read when I think she's only shown reading a book once or twice? They have such fun, flirty email exchanges at work, so how do they actually get any work done?
The other thing I felt was a bit unrealistic is the super-quick progression of Ana and Christian's relationship. I don't know anybody in this day and age whose relationship would progress like Ana and Christian's does in the span of a couple months. Even if they're so completely in love, I feel like any man in a similar place in life (being a young, hot, billionaire businessman) would be a little more cautious inviting a women to share in his life. It does make for enjoyable fantasy reading, though. Like a modern-day Cinderella fairy tale.
In the first book, I was annoyed that James would use the same descriptive words repeatedly, and though she doesn't use those exact same words in this book, she is still a bit repetitive. I was also still looking up definitions, but I like that. I like learning new words. Also, I felt like there weren't as many British words used, so that was better this time around.
I was, again, left wanting more at the end of FSD. Some dramas were resolved, some weren't, and the mystery is definitely on-going. I wanted to read the third book immediately to know how everything would turn out. So I did. :) Like I said in my FSoG review, I didn't get much else accomplished when reading these books. I was also left wanting more information about some of the secondary characters. Specifically about Christian's sister, Mia, and Taylor. I felt like they had backgrounds and potential story lines I'd be interested in reading.
I know some people didn't want to read the second and third books because the sex in the first book made them uncomfortable. I want to ease your mind - the sex in FSD is quite a bit easier to take. There's not as much of a BDSM element or undertone. It's really just kinky sex. Hot kinky sex. Hopefully that will help some people out and they'll continue reading. It's well worth it!