Fifty Shades Darker
Author: E L James
American release date: April 17, 2012
Format/Genre/Length: Novel/Romance/544 pages
Publisher/Industry Age Rating: Mature Audience
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★
Ana is taking life one day at a time, ever since she walked out on Christian Grey, three days ago, after the horrific episode with the belt, returning everything he ever gave her. She tries to focus on her new job with SIP, but it’s not easy. The apartment seems too empty, what with Kate in the Barbados. And she misses Christian more than she can say. Imagine her surprise when she receives an email at work… from Christian… asking her if she wants a ride to Jose’s exhibition the next day. Holy shit, she forgot all about it!
The idea of seeing Christian again is both torture and heaven. What else can she do but say yes? The next day at the office drags, and her boss, Jack, seems unusually attentive. When Christian arrives to pick her up, he takes an instant dislike to Jack. He notices immediately, to his displeasure, that Ana has lost weight, just in the few days they’ve been apart, and presses to know when she last ate. He flies them in Charlie Tango to the exhibition, and Jose is dismayed to see him there. Ana is surprised that so many people know who she is, but the reason becomes apparent when she sees the seven large photographs of herself that Jose has put on display. And which Christian promptly buys.
Leaving the exhibition, Christian takes Ana out to eat. It’s obvious how much they’ve missed one another and how much they want to be together. He has a proposition for her, of a different kind. He wants a relationship with her—a vanilla relationship without any kinky fuckery. As in forget the contract, start all over again. She protests that she likes some of that kinky fuckery, and he smiles.
Slowly but surely, Christian and Ana begin to mend their relationship. This is new territory for both of them. Christian tells her no more playroom—he couldn’t bear to lose her again. Since she’s been gone, the nightmares have come back. Ana thinks not everything in the playroom was bad. The biggest problem is that she didn’t use the safe word. Why? Because she forgot. But that isn’t good enough for Christian, and he won’t risk losing her again.
Ana had almost forgotten a creepy incident at work, involving a strange woman who bore an eerie resemblance to her that asked her what Ana has that she doesn’t until she learns that Christian has a loony ex on the loose by the name of Leila, and apparently that was her! What does Leila want with Ana? She’s not sure she wants to know.
When Ana insists she needs a haircut, Christian takes her to a chic salon called Esclava, and they wait for the hairdresser to be free. Suddenly a very pretty and stylish blonde appears and Christian goes to her and suddenly Ana just knows who she is—Mrs. Robinson herself! What the hell?
Crazy exes, dangerous and horny bosses, publishing wheeling and dealing, and layers of secret are not exactly conducive to Christian and Ana finding their way back to one another. Do they have what it takes? And are they each willing to put forth the effort that’s required to deal with one another?
Will love keep them together? Who’s determined to split them apart?
I liked Fifty Shades Darker every bit as much as Fifty Shades of Grey, perhaps even more so, because we know the characters better now, and have gotten closer to them. I can’t help but root for this young couple, and want them to be together. I think they are the perfect match, and their love is strong enough to conquer anything.
We learn a lot more about Christian and his background in this book, and why he is fifty shades of fucked-up. It’s amazing he’s as functional as he is. Interestingly, he has something in common with Dexter Morgan, but I won’t say what, that would be spoiling. We also learn more about just what he does, besides owning a beauty salon and a publishing company, he is seriously into helping developing nations, both in terms of food and technology, and is working on a mobile phone that does not require either electricity or battery—a solar powered mobile phone!
We get to see Mrs. Robinson too, and it’s not a pretty picture. I think that the term is used incorrectly, to be honest, as Ana sees her as a pedophile, and the original Mrs. Robinson, of The Graduate, was not that—Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) was in college when they began their affair, whereas in Fifty Shades, Christian was only 15. Be that as it may, it gets the point across. Christian tries to excuse what happened by saying that it saved him, but I have to believe you can save a teenager without having sex with him and teaching him the finer points of bdsm. Just my opinion, of course.
There’s a lot going on in this second volume of the trilogy and I loved it, and can’t wait to read more. This is ultimately a romance, not a bdsm book. The bdsm was more a part of the first book, but it wasn’t the focus, simply a means to an end. The bottom line is this is a romance about two people in love and should not be compared to other bdsm books. Haters, back off.