Review: Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James

Posted August 15th, 2012 in book review / 15 comments

Fifty Shades Darker

Book #2 of the Fifty Shades Trilogy

by E.L. James

Publisher: The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House (Sept. 2011)
Genre: Erotica, Romance, Contemporary
Format: Paperback (383 pages)
Source: Personal Bookshelf (Bought)
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository
Rating: ★★★★½ (4.5 stars)

Daunted by the singular 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. ~ Add on Goodreads

At a Glance
I truly feel that if you didn’t like the first book, you might just like this one. Fifty Shades Darker is less BDSM and more romance with some kink. We see Christian in a whole new light and Ana has really grown into her own.

The Good
Here’s the Story…
So, at the end of Fifty Shades of Grey, Ana finally leaves Christian. And you can’t really blame her. She is just not ready for the kind of relationship he needs. But only days apart, both of them find they can’t live without the other. Now Christian is a whole new man. As long as he has Ana by his side, he doesn’t need the whole Dom and Sub deal. And though Ana loves the new Christian, she can’t help but feel like she will never be able to fulfill Christian’s every need. But now the tables have turned. Ana starts craving those nights of erotic play. But Christian doesn’t want to risk losing her again. So what does a girl have to do to get a spanking around here? Answer: stir the beast. And that’s exactly what Ana does. But even with the kink back on, Ana still worries about Christian’s exes. What if one day Christian realizes he wants his old life back and runs back to one of his subs, or ever Mrs. Robinson? With the added stress of a new job and a new boss that is a little too friendly, Ana is just waiting for the next ball to drop.

Though I feel Ana capitulated a little too fast when it came to getting back with Christian, I am happy she did. Christian has changed for the better, but I will get back to him later. Let’s talk Ana. Ana’s life is starting to really take off. She is starting a new dream job at a publishing company, she lives in a nice house with her best friend, and she has a rich boyfriend. Suffice it to say, I want her life. She has also really come into her own sexually. Ana realizes that she likes the erotic side of sex. She is more often than not the instigator of her and Christian’s kinky sex. I was happy to see this more open minded Ana. She is also hard at work trying to figure out what happened to her poor Fifty Shades that made him turn to the life he did. Why must he dominate, why must he have all the control? And when the truth is revealed, Ana only loves Christian more, faults and all.

Fifty Shades…
Christian really opens up this time around. We get to see all sides of him: playful, mischievous, shy, sweet, romantic, and loving. He doesn’t hold anything back. He has lost Ana once, he is not going to let that happen again. And though he has trouble saying the words, Christian does all he can to show Ana he loves her. They actually start dating, doing things couples do, well, what insanely rich couples do. There are a few scenes that had a very The Thomas Crown Affair feel (the one with Pierce Brosnan. Mmmmm…Pierce Brosnan). Christian also becomes rawer and vulnerable in this book. He is needier, never wanting to be away from Ana. His self-abhorrence is also more evident. He slowly reveals more about his past and you can’t help but feel for him. Pretty much everything comes to the surface and Ana sticks by his side every step of the way.

If you loved the controlling, dominate, darker Christian, don’t worry, he is still all of those things…but in a softer more vulnerable way. I liked this boyish version of Christian. I think he was always meant to be more carefree and loving but life had changed him. I see the real Christian poking through in Fifty Shades Darker.

From Lust to Love…
This book has a different feel from the first book. Fifty Shades of Grey was about domination, sexual awakening, and lust. Fifty Shades Darker is about a couple who are trying to work on a mostly healthy, but highly sexual relationship. We get to witness an adorable couple having fun, having fights, and working on their issues. Like I said before, Ana’s easy capitulation into getting back with Christian scared me, but I am so happy she did. He really has changed. It’s nice to watch a man do anything to stay with his woman, to do anything for her love.

I am happy to report there is more of a plot this time around. We learn more about that damn Mrs. Robinson as she inserts herself into Christian’s life once again. As you can imagine, Ana does not like this. But Mrs. Robinson is Christian’s only friend, so Ana is reluctant to ruin that for him. Then there is the crazy ex-sub that is jealous of Ana’s relationship with Christian. And last is Ana’s boss who might be more sinister than he appears. I liked these added elements to the story. It gave the book better plot flow.

The Bad
I have to say, Ana was very immature in the first half of Fifty Shades Darker. And her “Inner Goddess” got a lot more annoying.

The constant smirking was a little overdone. We get it, Christian is a smirker because he’s so mysterious and playful. I got over it about 1/3 way into the book.

The obsession Ana and Christian have for one another can be a little unnerving sometimes. To love someone is one thing, to not be able to function without them is another.

The Snuggly
The sex is a lot more toned down. It’s still steamy, but we get more romance and less BDSM. Christian is a lot more receptive to having a “normal” relationship with Ana, so he doesn’t risk it by asking for more kink. It’s Ana, this time around, who initiates the kinky sex. I liked how Ana opened herself up to experimenting.

I loved this book as much as Fifty Shades of Grey. It definitely has a different feel, but overall Fifty Shades Darker was a great read. I am very happy over the progression in Ana and Christian’s relationship, and the new characters spiced things up nicely. Highly recommended.

“I don’t know whether to worship at your feet or spank the living sh*t out of you.” 

“No. No!” he says.
“I . . .”
He looks wildly around the room. For inspiration? For divine intervention? I don’t know.
“You can’t go. Ana, I love you!”
“I love you, too, Christian, it’s just—”
“No . . . no!” he says in desperation and puts both hands on his head. “Christian . . .”
“No,” he breathes, his eyes wide with panic, and suddenly he drops to his knees in front of me, head bowed, long-fingered hands spread out on his thighs. He takes a deep breath and doesn’t move. What?
“Christian, what are you doing?”
He continues to stare down, not looking at me.
“Christian! What are you doing?”
My voice is high-pitched. He doesn’t move.
“Christian, look at me!” I command in panic. His head sweeps up without hesitation, and he regards me passively with his cool gray gaze—he’s almost serene . . . expectant.
Holy F**k . . . Christian. The submissive.


There’s a joy in my helplessness, joy in my surrender to him, and to know that he can lose himself in me the way he wants to. I can do this. He takes me to these dark places, places I didn’t know existed, and together we fill them with blinding light. Oh yes…blazing, blinding light.

Fifty Shades Trilogy
Book #1: Fifty Shades of Grey
Book #2: Fifty Shades Darker
Book #3: Fifty Shades Freed


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15 Responses to “Review: Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James”

  1. Sarah Elizabeth

    I have both some love and hate about this book. It was so obvious that Christian and Ana were going to get right back together at the start of this book, but him saying that ‘he needs her more than the BDSM’ – isn’t that what so many women want without even knowing it? Wanting a man to want them more than anything else, to give up something even to be with them?
    Unfortunately I’m not sure this really happens in real life, and it doesn’t really happen with Christian – as soon as Ana says ‘spank me’ he’s up for it!
    I sort of thought that the lack of the BDSM in this book caused it to lose it’s originality a bit, which is why I didn’t like it as much as the first. I’m glad that you enjoyed it though! ☺

    • Jennifer L. Bielman

      I don’t think it happens in real life either, but that’s what makes it so much fun to read. I hate reality, reality sucks donkey feet. hehe.

      I do agree, the toned down BDSM made it a whole different book. I wasn’t reading it for the kinky sex, so I was okay with that, but I can see why it loses some points in originality.

      As always, great insights, Sarah!!!

  2. Cimmaron @ Talksupe

    This is my favorite book in the whole series. There were two scenes in this book that show just how broken Christian really is and actually made me cry. And I agree with you, we definitely saw various different sides of Fifty in this book. I was already gushing over him after book 1 but Darker is where I absolutely fell in love with the guy. Even with all his heavy baggage. Great review!

  3. Elisa

    You bookpusher you! I somehow have Darker, but haven’t read Grey yet…so, I guess I will be reading this eventually. *humph*
    Glad you are enjoying them though, and excellent review! 🙂

  4. Sarah (saz101)

    ADGHDFJADFHS. NO. I REFUSE TO CAVE… LHADHDA. Dammit, you making them actually sound GOOD. I seriously seriously need to give them another go… you know… and irgnore the writing >___<

    • Jennifer L. Bielman

      LOL, Don’t force yourself on my account silly willy. I do think you would enjoy it more if you sat and read the first 100 pages straight through. I think the story will draw you in.

    • Sarah (saz101)

      I’ve seen a few people say they really got into it around that point. But I remember flicking through going ‘BUT IT’S MEANT TO BE EROTICA? WHEN DOES THE SEX START? THERE’S HOW MANY PAGES ALREADY?’
      Then I went back to Lorelei James 😛

  5. Miss Vain's Paranormal Fantasy

    YAY!!!!! This was my favorite book in the trilogy!! So happy you’re finally reading these!!! 😉 Awesome review btw. When you told me you read these, I was sick and then I forgot to visit you!! I’m so happy you loved Christian as much as I do!!! Squuueeee!!!;) Now read Beautiful Disaster! 🙂 <3

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