Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James

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 her anger and envy of the women who came before her and make the most important decision of her life.

Where to Buy

A strong follow-up entry in the series to a somewhat weak first book. I found this one to be much more enjoyable and engaging to read, right from the start, than I did the previous book. While I think there are several situations throughout that were handled/resolved a bit too quickly and easily, still the majority of the book felt very realistic and it's easy to picture Christian and Ana as a real couple that are trying to work through their various issues and find a way to be together and both be content.

Ana seems to have grown up even more in this one, or maybe we're just seeing the real Ana emerge once more now that she's past the first giddy blush of her infatuation with Christian. The range of emotions that she goes through in this book is entirely in keeping with what you'd expect from someone in her position, in particular the growing sense of hysteria as she's bombarded over and over with various highly emotional situations without ever really getting a break to step back and process it all and regroup. It's heartening to see that she doesn't go into anything blindly. she's fully aware that Happily Ever After doesn't just happen, and that it's going to take a lot of work and compromise on both their parts to make things work, especially to make things work in a way that will let them have a more peaceful and secure relationship without the constant arguments and emotional explosions.

Christian is much improved in this book in my opinion, and finally I can see why so many seem to be so enamored of him. He's still more than a bit selfish, and still has a tendency to try to be overprotective and controlling, but you can see that he's genuinely making an effort to meet Ana halfway now and no longer is expecting her to be the one to do all the changing. It's difficult for him of course, and there are many setbacks along the way, but he does steadily make progress in confronting and overcoming his demons once he decides that keeping Ana is worth any amount of sacrifice on his part. It's really rather heartwarming to see the progress that he makes and to see how far he comes along the road to recovery finally instead of just doing what he can to cope.

I liked the story in this one and felt that the path Ana and Christian took to make things work between then was fully believable. Ana does well at sticking to her guns as far as her non-negotiable relationship points go, but she has enough maturity and insight to realize that bailing isn't the answer when things seem to be at an impasse between them, but rather trying to understand Christian's point of view and to talk things out is the way to go. She isn't afraid to tell him either when she needs him to just back off for a little bit to give her some breathing room even though that seems to be when he tries to cling the hardest since he can't quite accept it when she assures him that she isn't going to leave him again.

A good, solid book, and much better than it's predecessor I thought. I am a bit concerned that things are going to start getting a bit repetitive in the next volume since this one seemed to wrap up most of the major issues between them, but I'll have to wait and see on that I suppose. I'm liking this enough to hope that part 3 won't end up being a letdown. A solid 4 stars to this one, and a book that I'd recommend to most fans of romance, though you really do need to read book one first to understand what's going on with these two in this one.

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