Fifty Shades Darker – A Review

**SPOILER ALERT**

This is my official review of the sequel to Fifty Shades of GreyFifty Shades Darker by E. L. James in this post.  If you haven’t read the novels yet,  I highly recommend doing so first(it should take you a day) and come back to read my review after.

Trust me, they ARE both that good =)

*             *             *             *             *            *

Operation Liquidate Lover Boy

In a dark, underground lair a meeting is being held; a coup is being plotted and it all centers around the take-down of the world’s most dangerous man.  He wields more power with a few spoken words and strokes of his pen.  He builds up and tears down with the tilt of his head, the peak of an eyebrow.  And just when reinforcements have been collected and defense strategies have been implemented, he changes the game and all advancements have been lost.  Yes, he must be stopped.

Around a rickety, makeshift table sit the #2, 3, and 4 to his #1.  They huddle around a muted beam of artificial light that throws shade on their vexed and exasperated faces.  First to speak is the elder in the group.

“Welcome, Gentlemen.  I feared this day would come, but not so soon and not in such an illusive form.  How can we combat what we cannot catch?” questioned Rhett.

“If I knew, we wouldn’t be here, would we?  It seems as if the game has been elevated, Gentlemen.  It’s not enough to just be “Out of My League” handsome, and making a living on a dream of something more doesn’t cut it any longer.   It costs alotta dough to be a Panty Dropper these days,” observed Jack.

“There’s only one solution.  We have to take him out.  He’s an anthology of all our charming chick magnetizing attributes. Like the Allied Powers, Bill Gates, and a basket of Teacup Piglets and Basset Hounds had a baby.  There’s no competing with that,” declares Matthew McConnaughey’s Shirtless Abs.

“And if there’s no competing with him, then we’ll have to take him out.  We’ve worked too long, and have been the fictional character that women compare their men to for decades for this up-and-comer to end our streak now,” complained Jack.

“Hee hee.  Up and comer.  I get it,” snorted McConaughey Abs.

“Enough of that.  Be serious.  I’ve been competing against unobtainable men a lot longer than either one of you.  But I’ll tell you, that damn Ashley Wilkes has nothing on Christian Grey,” said Rhett.  “We may be down, but we cannot be out.  We shall rise again.”

“Hee hee.  Rise again.  That’s what she said,” and with that Matthew’s Abs were slapped into silence.

As the conversation continues into the wee hours of the night, a plan is hatched by the down, but not out trio.

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Ok, ok.  Now that I’ve had my fun with creative writing, let’s get back to why we’re all here: a review of Fifty Shades Darker  by E.L. James.  There’s no secret, women LOVE these novels.  I’ve also analyzed in my labs the various reasons why we may fantasize about having Christian Grey in not only our beds, but our kitchens, driving us to work, and checking up on us throughout the day via Blackberry emails.   The same tactics that enticed its readers to stay up well beyond a reasonable hour were present in the second book, but somehow Christian and Ana’s love intensified my joy and total fixation with their story.

I cannot begin to tell you how far my heart fell when  Fifty Shades of Grey  ends with the breakup of Christian and Anastasia.  I was fully prepared to stay in a mental pair of baggy sweatpants and listen to Adele along with Ana.  Who knew that the sun would come out and I’d be in a sundress in less than two chapters?!?!  I’m not complaining at all; Ms. James gave the audience what we wanted: HOT, EXPLORATORY LUVIN’!

This segment of the ying and yang relationship between Christian and Ana seems to focus more around their insecurities while trying to figure out who they are in the other’s world.  In book #1, Christian is more in control because he gets to make the rules.  When he realizes that the game has to change in order to keep this unexpected breath of vanilla-scented air in his life, he is willing to do so.  Ana is less than convinced in his dedication to her and her ability to keep him without satisfying his savage carnal needs.

Self esteem issues are peppered throughout this novel, and they seem to be more centered on Christian and his murky past.

I believe that  Ana shows her assertive side more in the second book, and I loved the scene in which she fends off her sleazy boss’ advances when he tries to take advantage of his position.  If only she could find this courage when it comes to going head-to-head with Christian.  But we must walk before we run, right Ana?

And while some people are quick to point fingers as how absurd, at times, the self deprecating dialogue is, I can relate.  Let us not forget what it was like to be a 21 year old/first-timer-in-love.  I cringe at some of the goopy drama that I got myself into.  Of course, my issues with my first boyfriend were about spending more time with me rather than with the guys from the basketball team and not if I wanted handcuffs and the “butt drawer” involved in my spankings.

But my point is that I never trusted that I was enough to keep my boyfriend interested.  I thought I wasn’t skinny enough, not clever enough, not pretty enough to make him ward off all the other female attention he received.  Most of these insecurities, and Christian and Ana’s are intensified by their own demons and not the love in their lives.  No matter how many times Christian declares his undying love, the doubt never quite leaves; the same goes for Ana.  This doubt is manifested in the internal, and ultimately outward back-and-forth that the couple goes through.

The thing that makes this novel even better than the first is that the couple explores even more about themselves WITH the other, and this might be even more hot than the sex scenes, which is good because the author decided to take the classy route and only hint at a their bedroom play.  As the title Fifty Shades Darker gives some insight, the audience sighs a collective sympathetic sigh in reaction to our beloved Christian’s tortured past.  This information helps the audience, and Ana, understand why Christian made the choices that he did in the past and his need for control.   I believe that the biggest example off is growth is that he not only opens himself up to “more,” but to living with and ultimately proposing marriage to Ana.

I can’t give this book an untainted review; I did have a few issues that center around Ana and her nagging.  There’s a fine line between standing up for yourself and persistently finding fault with things that are out of your control.  I would put my foot down about Christian remaining friends with his former age-inappropriate libido liberator as well, but enough digging around in the past.  I can’t tell you how many times I yelled at my Kindle as I was reading through these scenes.

The other issue that I had was Ana’s hot and cold approach to being liberated in the bedroom.  It seemed as if she would be afraid of Christian hurting her, yet she didn’t want to hold back to the point that it would cause him to leave her.

First, she’s all:

but then she’s all:

You can’t have it both ways, Honey.  But with Christian Grey, you take it EVERY way you can get it, if you know what I mean =)

Final assessment: I loved this book more than the first installment of Fifty and all his shades.  I believe that the growth that we see in the individuals, more on Christian’s part, helps solidify their relationship into something that they can both live with.  The new plot developments, including a delicious masquerade ball, and the classic elements of Christian Grey from Fifty Shades of Grey made this sequential novel a must-read.  Vanilla may be bland, and even though variety may be the spice of life, I believe that Christian and Ana’s love made this reader feel like one hot tamale!

5 thoughts on “Fifty Shades Darker – A Review

  1. Very well put Amanda. My thoughts mirror yours exactly. I am pleasantly suprised how invested I am in the characters and while I am just starting the 3rd book – I am almost sad that this is it. Love their “love” story and I too just want to rest my head on Christians chest and get lost in his scent…….oh but wait….I digress…back to my assesment of the book….lol!!

    • HA! Stephanie you’re too funny! I don’t know if I like the idea of Christian having chest hair. In my mind’s eye, he’s just all abs =) As Wendy Williams would say, “I love their love.”

  2. Pingback: My Love for John Green | Fancy Oatmeal

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