Fifty Shades Trilogy: Fifty Shades Darker – Book Review (EL James)

After the torture read that was Fifty Shades of Grey (my review), I braced myself for the second book. A sane person would have stopped reading but being the masochist that I am, I wanted to know if these books, which are still selling like hotcakes, actually had anything more to them than the sex scenes upon sex scenes which filled their pages, ultimately becoming useless and skippable.

The second book in the Fifty Shades trilogy, titled Fifty Shades Darker, doesn’t stray away much from its predecessor. But as the title suggests, it runs deeper into what the first book lacked: a tangible story.

Fifty Shades Darker picks up where Grey left off: Ana had left Christian after he beat her in one of his sexual escapades. She then starts to sink in to despair, as is typical for similar characters in other books (Yes, Twilight comes to mind). Luckily enough, that doesn’t last a whole book. A few pages later Ana encounters Christian and ends up in his arms again without much struggle. This time, however, their relationship won’t be the same. New boundaries need to be set and new rules need to be instilled. As the story progresses, Ana starts to become fearful about the prospect of Christian leaving her for someone else when he gets bored of her and the “vanilla” relationship they have. On the other hand, Christian finds in Ana a reason for living (the billions upon billions that he has are not enough) and is equally fearful about her leaving him.

As their “relationship” grows, one of Christian’s ex-subs who had never lost her fixation on him returns with a vengeance while Ana faces trouble at the publishing house she’s working at with her overly flirtatious boss.

That’s book two in a nutshell.

Is it better than book one? Only slightly. Fifty Shades Darker delves deeper and goes darker into what made Christian the sadist BDSM-loving person that he is but those insights into the character’s personality are so diluted by the overly abundant sex scenes that they eventually become irrelevant.

Ana is still as useless a character as she was in book one. Even the “improvement” to her relationship with Christian don’t rub off on her – no pun intended – to give her some spine. In fact, she even melts further into the man she’s in love with, becoming more and more useless with each passing page. She “flushes” at every turn of the page. Her infamous “oh my” is blurted out countless times. Her Macbook Pro is still called the “mean machine.” Everything about her is still the same – except much staler and when her being as stale as it can get in Fifty Shades of Grey, that’s saying something.

If you’re the person reading Fifty Shades for the sex scenes (I’m not judging), you won’t be disappointed. As I said, Fifty Shades Darker doesn’t run short on them. Among the places that get a taste of Ana and Christian’s undying libido there’s a pool table, an elevator, their corresponding apartments and a boat’s deck, just to name a few.

Fifty Shades Darker manages to go a few shades deeper than its predecessor but that’s nowhere near enough to turn this erotic “thing” a novel worth reading. The characters still use the same cues for sex. Whatever plot that takes place is as predictable as it can get and that’s without even going into the overly repetitive writing style which gets even worse on this.

Why did I read these? Yes, I read all three books a few months ago. Well, horrible as they are, they were still better than the medical school material I had to study.

3/10

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Fifty Shades Trilogy: Fifty Shades of Grey – Book Review (EL James)

The Fifty Shades trilogy, whose three books are currently are the top three sellers in the United States, is anything but tame. The first book, titled Fifty Shades of Grey, should have been titled Fifty Shades of Scarlet. That’s how your face will be while reading it – especially if there’s someone peaking at your copy.

Ana Steele is a soon-to-be college graduate in her early twenties who’s asked by her best friend, Kate, to go and interview a self-made young enigmatic billionaire named Christian Grey at the HQ of his company. Knowing nothing about him, the interview isn’t exactly top notch. But it works well enough for Christian to develop an interest in Ana, who reciprocates the feeling.

What Ana doesn’t know is that Christian Grey is controlling, seriously into BDSM, with a playroom in his huge Seattle apartment, and who wants Ana to be his submissive beyond anything he’s ever wanted before.

Fifty Shades of Grey is carnal. There’s nothing that happens in the 500-pages book apart from the two main characters having sex all the time. The sex scenes are also graphically detailed. Fifty Shades of Grey is porn on paper.

Ana Steele is so one-dimensional as a character that she can’t even remotely draw you in. For a self-proclaimed virgin who can’t wait to be deflowered by Christian, she sure develops an insatiable need for sex. Her character is so shallow that the few moments where she appears to be different are marred by what immediately follows: her relapsing into the girl/women who can’t but seek Christian’s approval. The words “oh my” are present at every sentence to signal her astonishment as she explores the boundaries of her body, reveling in the eroticism of it all. Her “inner-goddess” never gets enough. And it quickly becomes grating.

Christian’s need, on the other hand, is never fully explained. While he is the more interesting character, the potential complexity is barely touched, never delved in. He’s left to his rough exterior, barely ruffled. And if Ana’s needy for sex, she can barely keep up with Christian who never seems to get enough. It eventually becomes repetitive, not adding anything to the story but useless pages to increase the book’s spine.

Fifty Shades of Grey doesn’t manage to go five shades deep, it remains afloat, blowing you, no pun intended, with sex scene after another, after another and then some. It’s a shallow, useless read. It’s repetitive beyond imagination. The characters initiate intercourse using the same gestures: biting their lips, cocking their heads to the side… that you get to smell it coming, no pun intended – again, from a mile away. The success of this book baffles me. I am not a reader of erotic fiction and I don’t think I’ll ever be. But if an erotic book at least had a plot to support it, I can comprehend people going for it. Fifty Shades of Grey has nothing in it.

I pity the person who had to do the audiobook for this.

2/10