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Fifty Shades Darker - E L James
Member Name: Kahdeksantoista
Fifty Shades Darker - E L James
Date: 15/08/12, updated on 15/08/12 (48 review reads)
Advantages: Best out of the three.
Disadvantages: Repetitive sex scenes.
Well done to all of us - the reviewers and readers who didn't pull apart the first book right to the root of the binding! There may be some MINOR SPOILERS of the first book in this review, as the Fifty Shades series is a trilogy it is hard to tell you even a basic plot of this one without spoiling a little of the first.
Ana is the female main character and has just finished and graduated from college. She is an English student and has just got a job at a publishing company. She's fairly dainty, slender and has long brown hair. Until the beginning of the first book, she was a virgin.
Christian is a copper-headed self-made billionaire with a helicopter, private company jet, property all over the place and a look of indifference or 'darkness' permanently on his face. He has weird sexual preferences but he is soft at heart.
Fifty Shades Darker is the second book in the Fifty Shades Trilogy and it begins with a prologue. The prologue that explains everything we've wanted to know from the beginning of the first book - why Christian is the way he is. E L James has done a great job in the way that she drip feeds us enough information to keep us ticking over. I learnt this technique whilst studying creative writing and I was unaware of how often it is used in almost every genre - but more heavily used in mysteries. Ever read a book that holds off all information and dumps a conclusion on you (if you haven't been bored enough to shut the book and give up through lack of information)? No? That's because they don't get published. (Only self-published.)
Aforementioned prologue is a page long and is a flashback - a recurring nightmare flashback Christian has in his sleep. It explains a lot of his childhood.
The main story begins with Anastasia feeling sorry for herself and getting on with working life because she walked out on Christian at the end of the last book. She wasn't sure she was what he wanted and she wanted more than a formal dominant/submissive contract and everything to became too much. I must stress that Anastasia is not comfortable with the rich lifestyle. Some people claim that is part of her attraction to him and it most certainly isn't, and it is also stressed throughout the story. She's uncomfortable that she cannot shower gifts on Christian, she wants to pay for meals and he won't let her (rich male pride) and she doesn't want his connections to help her get a job. She has always worked and that's the way she likes it.
The story starts with her at work in the publishing company from which she got an offer. Ana is now the assistant to the editor, Jack Hyde. She's cried a lot over the monumental three days she's been without Christian and the fact Jack is coming on to her most certainly does not help. Christian sends her some flowers congratulating her on her first day which doesn't help the break-up, and her best friend Kate is in Barbados, so Ana is on her own. She's not eaten in three days and she manages some yoghurt when she receives an email at work from Christian. He's offering to take her to her friend's art show. Ana had forgotten about it and hasn't had time to buy a car (Christian sold her 'unsafe' Beetle and bought her a sports car that she left with him when she broke up with him). She accepts his offer and it all spirals from there...
Christian bugs her, demands to know why she's so thin and turns into himself again and pretends none of the last three days ever happened. Ana plays along for a bit because she's in love with him and misses him a lot. Patches of the book have emails exchanged between Christian and Ana and they are enjoyable to read. Ana comes out of her shell because Christian is at arm's length when corresponding through email. Eventually they reconcile but their relationship is not without its trouble. The woman who introduced a rebel teenage Christian to the submissive lifestyle is introduced. She keeps appearing throughout the story. The reader can tell Christian is not interested and this woman appears not to be, but this air of suspicious concern for Christian wafts around her and she claims to be the only one who knows what he needs. Ana tries to be civil, but Ana cannot shake the feeling she gets with her. It's not long before Ana is provoked and gives her what for. We've all had to suffer a person interfering like this (and possibly become one) and I couldn't help but feel triumphant when Ana stood up to her. There is a HUGE air of mystery in this book.
One day, in the beginning of the book, when Ana has finished work, a bedraggled young woman who looks surprisingly like Ana approaches Ana in the street. This encounter is brief and innocent and Ana thinks nothing of it, until Christian gets news about an ex submissive having a breakdown and Ana's car shows up with a lovely new paint job. Ana's mind even starts playing tricks on her when she surfaces from sleep - alone in bed -and senses a presence in the room - she even swears she saw a shadow, or did she? We all see things when we wake up abruptly. Christian has security follow her around, everywhere. She's not allowed to go anywhere alone, not even to the toilet. Christian also gets very protective of Ana because Jack is toeing the line. Ana believes Jack is a little inappropriate but thinks Christian is overreacting - that is, until Christian tells Ana to ask him what happened to his other assistants...
Ana is blissfully in love until the bedraggled woman shows up again in person, and this time Ana sees how this woman and Christian interacts. Ana becomes convinced having a submissive is what he needs to function mentally and that she cannot fulfill the role. This revelation results in a huge debate (not quite an argument) where Christian gets very stressed, turns into the opposite of himself and asks Ana a very surprising question. She doesn't know the answer to it and it takes Christian's near-death experience for Ana to realise that she cannot live without him and she would try anything to keep him. So they come to a negotiation.
As ever, there are sex scenes thrown all over the plot like hundreds and thousands and I found myself skipping them. It is pretty much the same sex scene on repeat. As I mentioned in my previous review, the female area is referred to as 'my sex' throughout the book and it really stops me taking the sex scenes seriously - the ones I forced myself into reading. A lot is pulled over from the first book: we are told on every page what Christian's demeanor does to Ana's 'insides', we are told how sexy he is on every page, she is not allowed to bite her lip because it turns him on yet she does it accidentally whenever she thinks and rolling her eyes makes Christian want to whip her, etc. You'll see:
'...his face darkened'
'...his mouth pressed into a hard line'
a lot in this book. The same as the first, but it is fantastic reading.
The book had a fantastic plot with characters you will fall in love with. They all go through experiences to which we can all relate and it is lovely to see a red-head (Christian) as the sexy main character instead of what is classed as typical handsomeness. Red-heads are gorgeous and there should be more red-headed main characters in books!
The trilogy in order:
Fifty Shades of Grey £3.78 book, £3.02 Kindle (if you buy it directly ON your Kindle I believe it is cheaper)
Fifty Shades Darker £3.86 book, £3.09 Kindle
Fifty Shades Freed £3.99 book, £3.19 Kindle.
The prices are correct on Amazon at time of writing. These books are also available in supermarkets at a discount price. You'll be hard pushed to pay full price!
Summary: Humour, mystery, romance and great characters. Unoriginal sex scenes, but worth reading.