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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

50 Shades Darker by E.L James


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My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

After taking so long to get through Fifty Shades of Grey, I must admit, I was hesitant to begin this book so soon after finishing the other. However, I felt it was important to do just that while the characters were still fresh in my mind. Honestly, I must say I was thoroughly impressed while reading Fifty Shades Darker the whole.

It was a clear (and definite) step up from the original "Fifty Shades of Grey" story. This installment seemed to flow well, and at a steady pace (although, once again I believe there were far too many sex scenes that did nothing as far as adding to the plot). Fifty Shades Darker also gave us a much deeper insight into Christian Grey, even explaining (to an extent), why he was the way that he was. However, I did find the sudden change in his sexual “tastes” and "desires" to be shocking to say the least. It was romantic that he would try for "more" of a "vanilla" relationship with Ana, but for someone so steeped in that lifestyle for that long, the sudden change did seem a bit uncharacteristic. I would have expected him to "slip up" more often than he did.

One thing I did notice about the sex scenes in this installment; they seem to come in more as a page filler than anything else, And at times, they did border closely on pornographic rather than erotic. It seemed as though one minute Ana and Christian were talking, learning something knew about each other, and possibly on the brink of a revelation when suddenly BOOM! It went straight to sex. It read less like two people in a relationship, and more like Ms.James was suddenly unsure of the direction she intended to go with the scene, or felt she was about to reveal too much too soon, so she fell back on sex.

There was also a lot more interaction with the other “minor” characters, and I thought that the introduction of some of Christian’s “ghosts” was a nice touch (although what he was thinking taking Ana to that salon for a haircut is beyond me)! They kept the story fresh and interesting while adding another piece to the puzzle that is Christian Grey. The way he worried about Ana and her safety while worrying at the same time about Lelia and her state of mind, proved that deep down he did care on some level for his former "subs", that they were more than just a playmate to him.

The final meeting between Ana and Leila was gripping and kept me glued to the story. I had a hard time putting the book down for anything, I was so caught up in the characters and what was going to happen next.

I am very much looking forward to reading (and reviewing) the final installment of this trilogy, and I hope it continues to exceed my expectations.

My final thoughts on Fifty Shades Darker:

NEGATIVE POINTS:

- The sudden 180 change in Christian’s sexual tastes. It seemed too sudden and too complete a change. I understand he "loved" Ana and "wanted more", but it was still too much, too soon. I don't understand how he could suddenly make that complete 180.

- Again, the sexual dialog. Too many “Oh!” and “Ah!” and “F*ck yeah!”. It was overkill, and distracted from the overall plot. It seemed as though the scenes were all the same as far as dialog and actions. Also, it seemed that these scenes were used when the plot direction was unsure, or there was a need to up the word count.

- Going with the above, the scenes did not seem "erotic" in nature, but more "pornographic" in nature. With just a few minor changes, it would have been better.

- Too many unnecessary scenes (mostly of a sexual nature), and the word structure/flow in places left something to be desired.

POSITIVE POINTS:

+ The “ghosts” of Christian’s past coming back to haunt him. They gave you another look at who he was and (to an extent) why he did the things he did.

+ Fast paced story-telling.

+ Finally learning why Christian cannot bear to be touched

+ More interaction with “minor” characters. It kept the plot fresh and interesting. In fact, some of the interactions were down right page turning!

+ Ana’s backbone when standing up for herself (especially when dealing with Christian's "Mrs.Robinson"). My “inner goddess” applauded at the way Ana handled herself during the party.

This second installment has definitely left me looking forward to the third, and final book in the series. I still have some questions that I sincerely hope are answered in "Fifty Shades Darker", if they are it will be a trilogy worth reading (perhaps more than once).

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