Review: Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James

Posted June 14, 2012 by Carmel in / 4 Comments

Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James

Title: Fifty Shades Darker
Series: Fifty Shades #2
Author: E.L. James
Publisher: Vintage
Format: eBook, 395 pages
Published: April 2012
ISBN #: 9780345803573 / 0345803574
Genre: Erotica
My Copy: bought
Rating:Paw RatingPaw RatingPaw RatingPaw Rating
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Daunted by the singular sexual 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.

This second installment is quite possibly my least favorite book of the trilogy. I expected heat and instead received a staggering amount of character development. Not exactly a bad thing, just not what I bargained for from an erotica novel. I’ve now read the entire series so I can safely say that the first book was sizzling, the second was more vanilla and the third was somewhere in between. Fifty Shades Darker focuses on romance rather than sex and sheds some light on the enigma that is Christian Grey.

This novel dives right into the after effects of Anastasia and Christian’s break-up. While faced with the very real possibility that he might lose the best thing that’s ever happened to him; Grey has no choice but to open up to Ana. We learn about what was done to him as a child, why he doesn’t like to be touched and why he prefers submissive women; among other things. Each revelation is more shocking than the previous one and will leave your heart in pieces. This poor man has been a victim his entire life and the only way that he was able to gain some semblance of control was by becoming a tycoon in his professional life and a dominant in his personal one. But appearances can be deceiving; on the outside he’s the definition of strength but on the inside… he’s as fragile, scared, little boy.

Christian eliminates nearly all of his domineering tendencies from his relationship with Anastasia. For the first time in his life he’s actually worried about hurting someone. This is the vanilla aspect of the story that I was referring to earlier. In Fifty Shades of Grey this couple’s romp sessions were off the charts hot but in this installment they pretty much stick to missionary. I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy the more intimate chapters but they simply didn’t measure up to those found in the first book. Like their relationship, their sex-capades are evolving. What I did find interesting was the fact that Anastasia initiates some non-vanilla foreplay more than once. Their roles have been reversed! Ana starts to explore her darker desires while Grey shuts his down. I expect them to finally reach their happy middle in the conclusion of this trilogy.

The writing is consistent with the first book so if you didn’t enjoy James’ choppy style the first time around chances are it’ll be more of the same. Fifty Shades Darker has a little bit more sustenance in the plot department. The story no longer solely revolves around the two main characters. There’s a bit of intrigue and the side characters receive more attention in this installment as well which made for a nice, well-rounded story. This book falls more into the romance genre than the erotica one in my opinion.

An enjoyable sequel but markedly different from book 1. It almost felt like two separate stories; the differences between Fifty Shades of Grey and Fifty Shades Darker are just so enormous. I enjoyed the characters way more than the sex this time around which struck me as odd considering the whole trilogy is considered BDSM. Fifty Shades Darker is about compromise and going the extra mile for the one you love.

Books in this series:
Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
My Review
Fifty Shades Darker

Fifty Shades Freed

Recommendation: Perfect for those looking for something a bit more on the wild side of fiction. Be prepared to be as shocked as you are turned-on!
Like this, like that: This is the first BDSM series I’ve ever read.

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About the Blogger
I review Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance books with a focus all things werewolf. Based out of Ottawa, Canada

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Owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. Avid book reader, snowboard bunny, video gamer and Supernatural fan. I love all things paranormal, werewolves especially. Oh, and I’m Canadian, eh!

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4 responses to “Review: Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James

  1. Again, I totally agree with your review, but I think I enjoyed it a little more than you did, the part that you mention about reversing roles broke my heart, I felt so bad for Christian, and it made me understood how broken he really was.
    Great review!!!

  2. Interesting. I really liked book 2. I felt they were more like a couple here and growing. I loved the ball and the bidding war.

    I was so glad that I had book 2 as soon as I finished book 1 as well.