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on September 22, 2011
In this second book of the Fifty Shades Trilogy, the romance continues between Christian and Ana from Ana's point of view... and what a busy POV it is!

I have enjoyed this story since it was on the author's website, so it's no surprise I loved this book! The edits have indeed improved the story. "Darker" opens up with the couple apart, but soon Christian and Ana are re-negotiating their relationship.

As in the first book of this trilogy, some aspects of the writing are sophomoric, mainly in relation to periphery characters, but don't let that deter you (!) because there is brilliance here too. The relationship between Ana and Christian is just so good. Their frank and open communication is fantastic and their story is not only totally engaging, but downright addicting! Christian (aka, Fifty) is one of the most memorable, delicious characters I have ever read. His voice is unique and clear and mesmerizing, yet he is revealed entirely through Ana's experiences and perception of him (quite a talent, Ms. James!). For both Christian and Ana, everything they think they know about their lives gets tilted at odd angles and makes their growing relationship feel like a thrill ride. All the usual suspects return to keep the "action" going (with at least 3 different mini-plots), and, of course, there is the continuing fallout from Christian's severe childhood (and possible adolescent) trauma. Issues of independence, trust, acceptance, submission and, most importantly, unconditional love are all in play. Despite the intensity and conflict the tone remains witty and playful and romantic.

Readers complain about Ana a bit and, I must say, she took me out of my comfort zone at times. I think she's bolder than I would be in her constant questioning of Christian. But I tend not to like confrontation, so it's likely just me. But those who hate misunderstandings will appreciate that no stone goes unturned between these two '. It is refreshing to read about people who are completely guileless with one another. Ana can also come across a bit schizophrenic when her thinking swings from "I want this", to "I don't want this" to "do I want this"? However, this tension feels true to life. Her choices were not easy (too many shades of grey!). Overall, I really like Ana and I certainly enjoyed having a front row seat to her busy inner world. Those (very popular) inner characters may have been overused in this second book, but they are fabulous nonetheless.

Something interesting to note: The original story was published one chapter at a time for the subscriber's reading pleasure, so each chapter of this book feels like "a full experience". This format created highly eventful and revealing chapters for the books and the overall story feels "episodic" not unlike the structure of "Outlander" which I found unique and very readable.

I also noted Ms. James fleshed out several scenes with additional action and dialogue in this book during editing, which was great for me as an original reader. I thought she did a splendid job filling in some gaps and deepening the story. The author also summed up the day's events from time to time in this version. I didn't mind it, but it dragged the action down for me a bit. New readers will likely benefit from the summaries as I remember needing to summarize in my own head previously. The only quibble with this format is the repetition (Christian sets his "mouth in a hard line" about 10 times throughout the book; Ana wonders if it "will it always be like this" about 3 or 4 different things and she reminds us many times that she wants to know more about Christian), but it didn't pull me out of the story at all. In fanfiction, it doesn't feel repetitious when it takes 2 years to tell the story.

The sensuality is once again hot, hot, hot. It doesn't feel gratuitous to me, but there is a lot of it. The sexual experiences between Christian and Ana and their growing intimacy are central to the story in FSD and are gloriously full of the darkest and lightest shades of grey.

I can name a hundred heart-soaring, heart-rending and breathtaking moments in this book. There are many favorite scenes that I am already looking forward to re-reading (Portland to Seattle, anyone?). I am a fan, what can I say? Although British-isms still abound, there are typos, and a couple of the mini-plots are duds, I don't care. It's imperfect, but it's so very unique in its style, its structure and its content. I adore it and highly recommend it!
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on November 9, 2011
I really wish I could manually add a 6th star to Amazon for this book. I never would have believed it was possible but Fifty Shades Darker is even better than Fifty Shades of Grey. Hard to believe, but true. Reading this book reminded me of a quote that I love by Alan Cohen, "Scared and sacred are spelled with the same letters. Awful proceeds from the same root word as awesome. Terrify and terrific. Every negative experience holds the seed of transformation." Reading Fifty Shades Darker is like witnessing metamorphosis in action.

What I love the most about this book is the way the events and characters change and develop. I love that Christian Grey transforms from utterly immovable to flexible. Every negative emotion he feels eventually becomes something positive, or at least something he can learn and grow from. He learns the delicate balance between give and take. He learns to open his heart and to accept love--and he learns to give it as well. Everything cold becomes warm, and everything hot--well that's about the only thing that stays the same, still hot.

These two characters are so contradictory and conflicting, and yet complement each other so well. Each trial, every obstacle, every hardship the two experiences are overcome and ultimately strengthen the relationship. This is truly one of the most amazing love stories I've read.

I would like to add one more thing regarding a popular misconception about this book. I've read a lot of comments from readers saying it is too far out of their comfort zone because of the BDSM elements. I would like to address this because I don't think readers should shy away from it for that reason. EL James has a way of writing that brings out the heat in a love scene (I literally get butterflies sometimes while reading) but in my opinion she does it in a very tasteful way. I've read other BDSM novels and I think these books should really be classified as mild erotica, which contain some MILD elements of BDSM.

There is a well defined plot with well developed characters. The romance is both sweet (I love the emails between the characters) and steamy, and to me the sex scenes do not feel gratuitous. It really is just an amazing and beautiful love story, and I think the BDSM elements are an integral element the plot in this novel.
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on February 9, 2015
“What have you done to me, Ana?” he murmurs. “Whatever it is, don’t stop.”

I just recently re-read this book. With the FSOG movie just a few days away my friend and I decided to read that one again, but of course you can’t just stop there so we decided to keep going and re-read the entire trilogy. I remember when I originally read the series about 3 years ago Fifty Shades Darker was my favorite of the three and now reading it again I have to say that still holds true. This is the book where I really fell in love with Christian Grey and with this story. The first book really does a great job of setting things up but this is the book, for me, where things really happen and their relationship is taken to a whole other level. There are some huge breakthroughs and it’s really something to see how far both Christian and Ana come in terms of personal growth and also as a couple.

In FSOG you get a sense of Christian’s depravity and his issues but this book really cracks them open and deals with his demons head on and I loved it. Seeing him so vulnerable and unsure really brought him down to a human level and it was hard not to feel for him after his horrible childhood and the long term damage that caused him. I could feel his pain and Ana’s pain as she attempted to help him see that he was a good man and worthy of love. There were so many intense moments between them as Ana was able to get through so many of his walls, healing him with her love. We really get to see what a strong woman Ana is and how much she’s come into her own since meeting Christian. She challenged him at every turn in the first book, and while that doesn’t really stop in this book, she really begins to understand Christian on a deeper level and their connection was just wonderful!

In spite of all the dark issues this book explores there are a surprising number of light and fun scenes and we get to see our beloved Fifty acting carefree and playful. I love his boyish delights in the simple things, like the gifts Ana gives him. It’s so adorable and while it made me grin it also made me a little sad thinking of all he missed out on growing up because of the things that happened to him. But it was great seeing him get to experience some of those things now with Ana.

“You make me look at the world differently, Anastasia. You don’t want me for my money. You give me… hope,” he says softly.
“Hope for what?”
“More.”

There was also some suspense and drama in this book as the overall plot of the book starts to heat up. While I loved the focus on their relationship, it was nice to have a little more thrown in to up the overall ante! I do really hope that the 2nd and 3rd books are turned into films, this in in particular because I think that Jamie and Dakota would do wonders with the material in this book! In the meantime I’m off to relive the conclusion of their story in Fifty Shades Freed!

“You own me,” he whispers. “My fate is in your hands, Ana.”
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on February 25, 2015
This was my favorite book of the series! I could not put this book down. It kept you on the edge of your seat wanting more. I highly suggest reading the books before watching the movie and if you have seen the movie already read this book! It really helps fill in all of the questions!
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on April 27, 2015
For Christien and Anastasia, they are learning from each other what it means to trust someone completely. It seems there is always something that tests them at every turn. If it's not an ex-submissive who is misguided in thinking that she's in love with her Dom, (dominant), Christien, it's the editor that Anastasia works for that is trying to get Anastasia alone. He has no clue that he actually is working for Christien. Anastasia knows but can not say anything until the allotted period of four weeks from date of purchase, can be announced in public. With that said, he finds that Anastasia is one tough cookie that can take care of herself. And of course, there is Elena, Christien 's friend, who really is the one who introduces him to an alternate lifestyle. The lifestyle that he thinks will always be that way because of his younger years. He has so much to learn and so will Anastasia learn how to open herself to the man she truly loves.
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on April 15, 2016
EL James struck gold with the penning of the first FSOG. She continues Christian and Ana's story in this FSOGDarker! I had not read but a few pages of the first installment before the movie came out. I can now easily envision Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson as these two main characters. In this second part, so much changes for Christian & Ana! At the end of book one their prognosis of ever having any kind of relationship is extremely poor. As book two begins, there is light at the horizon! Christian proposes a new beginning. Starting over with a different goal in mind. This second book of three altogether is FULL of ups & downs between Ana & Christian. No spoilers here, so suffice to say, you won't regret diving in and watching what happens! Christian's 50 shades of grey might be getting a bit of Anastasia color!
Just as an aside, I would like to say that I recognize Ms. James has her detractors and critics. That's not unusual for someone so hugely popular. But, if you want to read a beautiful love story full of human frailty, please read on. I read books as an escape from real life! I don't read them with my red editor's pen at hand intending to correct every grammar error or factual inconsistency! I read to enjoy someone else's life for a change. Film character portrayals, or any other problems people might have with all that is 50 Shades related, can be set aside and just read the story as it was intended. I hope you find like I did that the love Ana & Christian have is to be applauded and encouraged! Much happiness to the Christian Grey family!
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on May 11, 2015
I don't know really how to review this one, although I am a sucker at a romantic ending, I felt like this story fell flat. It was good in parts, bad in others, but it ended well, and predictable I guess as romances go, but as it is an erotic novel, I must say I felt a bit surprised at some parts. I wasn't sure where the author was going to take me at first, but I ended up liking it. I'm not a big fan of his brooding. And I equally hate her cluelessness.
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on August 20, 2015
This review is LOOOOOOOOOOONG in the coming – As I read these back in 2012, and when I say read? Obsessed over is more like it. I started the first book and half way through bought the 2nd and 3rd. I was hooked – seriously hooked. There are very few books I can sit down and re-read over and over…..

Yet, after I finished the entire trilogy in less than 2 days – I picked Book 1 up and immediately started re-reading it. Even though I’d finished it – the relationship between Ana and Christian completely laid out before me – beginning to end…. I wasn’t ready to live outside of their story yet. So I re-read and re-read and re-read them again, a total of 5 times each. Yes, my husband thought I was crazy as I sat outside in my reading nook at 1am “You’re reading it AGAIN?!” He’s ask exasperated – not understanding me at all. Sure, I like to read, I’d read an average of 20 books a year TOPS. I have them littered all over my house – I went to college, I was an English major and frankly, after I graduated? I didn’t want to pick up another book – ever. Try reading 10-15 books per class every term until you graduate…. not fun.

But there was something about this story that woke me up – made me remember WHY I enjoyed reading so much – because it can be for pleasure (pun intended.)

I’d never picked up a romance book in my whole life accept for the classics. I’d never read anything remotely smutty accept for VC Andrews in Jr. High, The Story of O and Anne Rice’s Claiming Sleeping Beauty when I was going through my sexuality studies. They didn’t do it for me – I was more into true-crime, serial killers – psychology.

But this? This series? Wow –

1) The writing is easy to read – there is depth to the characters that are played out in an interesting way that keeps you wondering what’s going to happen next.

2) Our heroine is relate-able to an extent. She doesn’t think much of herself, she’s your every girl next door type – so it’s easy to imagine yourself in her place.

3) Christian is our prince charming we’re meant to desire throughout our entire childhoods. Rich, Famous, Unattainable – and of course, needs saving.

This series has been dragged through the mud left and right by critics, and some of the reasons are valid. Yes, at times I want to throttle Anastasia – she can be ridiculously annoying. Her inner-goddess i.e. Jiminy Cricket following her about into a world of sexy, sexy sex and encouraging her all the way – got old. BUT then you can completely flip that criticism and say, well even with all that she STILL got our guy right?

It’s constantly pushed off as another fan-fiction rip off of Twilight – and this is the stance I always have on this issue.

I. Don’t. Care.

I read for pleasure – I read for fun – I do not get all wrapped up in the politics of where these stories come from to the point that I’d attack someone on Goodreads or any other forum. I think it’s over the top and a waste of time. Sure, there are similarities and guess what? There are similarities to every romance story that will date back to another story – because nothing is truly original. Someone could even argue that every love story is based on the bible. But everyone is entitled to their own opinions. I just choose to enjoy these books for what they are, and not try to make them be something they’re not.

They’re criticized for the relationship between Christian and Anastasia – it’s called abusive, and not a healthy representation of a BDSM relationship. Again, it’s fiction. It’s a story, not a How To book on BDMS, or relationships for that matter. It’s been said that our society who embraced this book are fools and lonely housewives, but there is something universal about this series – it woke people up. IT made woman who on average read maybe 5-10 books a year obsessed with reading. It opened up a whole new world of things for me. As soon i was done obsessing about it – i wanted more. I wanted something similar. I wanted the same rush I felt when i read the scenes between Christian and Anna – and the passion they shared. I wanted it all fresh and new –

I can’t even tell you the amount of people, friends I’ve met in the last 2 years that all have the same story – 50 shades started this for me. It made me excited to read again, it made me fall in love with stories – with the characters and made me DESPERATE for more.
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on February 24, 2015
I just love this series. Its a totally screwed up love story but its also real love. Its not all sex and bondage and everything people think. If they read it they would see what its really about. Its about a man who had a terrible child hood. He dealt with it in a messed up way. He meets someone who changes the way he sees the world, and mostly himself. Thats the part thats so intriguing about the story. Great read!
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on August 8, 2015
I am a recent 50 Shades fan. After watching the movie, without reading the first book, I felt that i was left with a cliff-hanger. Being that I couldn't leave it at that, I bought the second (and third) book to this series. I was weary at first, but quickly realized that it is not as many people describe.
50 Shades Darker, in my opinion, is very well written, despite a few strange terms, some repetition of words, and a minor typos I found throughout the book.
The plot develops quickly, but in a good way. The story strays from the BDSM spectra, and Christian and Ana's relationship flourishes. It brings up Christian's dark past with his childhood, his mother, his exes to where you begin to fully understand the character of Christian. It was enjoyable to see the soft side of "Fifty".
as most people claim, this series is very sexual. And, to an extent, I agree. In this second book, I found that their romance develops, feelings get strong, and that there is less kink to the sex scenes, and more romance and passion between the characters.
I found that each chapter left off at a suspenseful spot and I couldn't put it down! I read it through in less than three days.
I am a true romantic, from reading Nicholas Sparks, to a variety of other novels, I found this second book of the 50 Shades trilogy to be captivating, romantic, surprising, and dark all at the same time. Especially the ending (to which I will not spoil). It's definitely a read that I would recommend.
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