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The Magic Continues... in Darker Shades!,
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This review is from: Fifty Shades Darker (Kindle Edition)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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Showing 1-10 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 2, 2011 3:27:50 PM PDT
Posted on Mar 11, 2012 9:58:12 AM PDT
A. Buckley says:
A friend made a post on facebook about finishing the series and said it was called a band aid for marriages. So now with you putting it so eloquently I'll have to try it out.
Posted on Apr 16, 2012 11:21:54 AM PDT
Christine C. says:
Great review! I completely agree with all your points. For me, none of the typos, repetition or writing style really take away from the compelling story. I fell in love with the characters and the series!
Posted on Apr 27, 2012 8:07:14 AM PDT
Red Mineral says:
YUK. "Erotic" for some, just lame to me. I did finish it, then promptly threw it away. My advice - skip it, no real story, not well written. Basically just not worth the money, or the read.
Posted on Apr 29, 2012 1:21:50 PM PDT
Edda Hernandez says:
I love your review and I read all three books and you could not be more right.
Posted on May 1, 2012 11:30:00 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 1, 2012 11:30:59 AM PDT
L. Magee says:
Loved your review! At least you give me hope that the second book will be much better than the first.
I'm almost finished with book 1, and I'm slowly beginning to like Christian a little more. At least, he is admitting that he wants "more" than just a Dom/sub relationship, now.
Christian is definitely not my idea of an Alpha/Dom type of guy. At times, he does seem a little wimpy, and well, just messed up.
Maybe, there's hope for him, after all!
Hope so, I do have two more books to finish.
Posted on May 18, 2012 7:31:52 AM PDT
I can't stop thinking about these books. I read all of them and loved them.
Posted on Jul 4, 2012 5:51:13 AM PDT
Theresa Lubke says:
These are such terrible books I find it difficult to see how anyone can use the term "brilliance" in a review. The relationship between Christian and Ana is superficial and filled with whining, being pissed off at each other and then sex. That's not a relationship. I've read teen novels with better writing, plots and character development. I won't be reading the third book. I'm sure it's more of the same.
Posted on Jul 4, 2012 10:44:05 AM PDT
I agree with your review. I thought the relationship between Christian and Ana (though absurd) was very realistic in how they dealt with each other.
This especially: "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."
SPOT ON! I am an overthinker like Ana, so that might be why I got her. It is definitely true to life! Yes, it is annoying - even to me sometimes! But it is very realistic.
Personally I felt the repetitiveness was again the editor's fault. Maybe it made since when it was published a chapter at a time, but it was the editor's job to get it together for the book. Some of it was cute, because it was their thing: the smirking, the lip biting. Even the frowning - Christian's not a guy used to not getting his way, so he frowns a lot because Ana never just does what he says. Made sense to me. And I'm a lip biter, maybe that's why it didn't get on my nerves so much. But the repetitiveness of words and structure was again the editor's fault as well.
My favorite scene was with the lipstick. OMG I think it might have saved the book! It was just so damn sweet!
No, it was nowhere near great literature. Or even literature. But I thought the characters were interesting and relateable. So throw in some hot (though tiresome after a while) sex, and you've got a decent read!
Posted on Aug 7, 2012 9:41:38 AM PDT
Andrea Carriker says:
the editing got BETTER?! really?