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Darker: Fifty Shades Darker as Told by Christian (Fifty Shades of Grey) Paperback – November 28, 2017
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About the Author
After twenty-five years working in TV, E L James decided to pursue her childhood dream, and set out to write stories that readers would fall in love with. The result was the sensuous romance Fifty Shades of Grey and its two sequels, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, a trilogy that went on to sell more than 150 million copies worldwide in 52 languages. In 2015 she published the best seller Grey, the story of Fifty Shades of Grey from the perspective of Christian Grey.
In 2012, E L James was named one of Time magazine’s “Most Influential People in the World,” one of Barbara Walters’s “Ten Most Fascinating People of the Year,” and Publishers Weekly’s “Person of the Year.” She went on to work as a producer on the film adaptations of her trilogy for Universal Pictures; Fifty Shades of Grey, the film, broke box-office records all over the world in 2015. Its 2017 sequel, Fifty Shades Darker, proved equally popular with fans of Ana and Christian’s story, and the concluding film, Fifty Shades Freed, will be released in 2018.
E L James lives with her husband, the novelist and screenwriter Niall Leonard, their two sons, and their two dogs in West London, where she is working on new novels and movie projects.
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As I stated in "Grey", this is not the character from the 50 Shades books. The bite and charisma from that Christian's personality have been removed. The Christian she introduced in "Grey" is dull, with no qualities that set him apart from any other man his age. The first sign was the fact that she rewrote the chapter she gave us as a preview at the end of Freed. If you're interested, go to my review for "Grey." I gave examples from the original chapter at the end of Freed and how his character was radically changed in "Grey." The chapters showed two completely different men. Why she didn't start with the chapter she had already written, and build from there, I don't know. But, for some reason, the man she created in 50 Shades is not the man she wrote in the rest of her stories.
Good - the helicopter crash scene was better than I envisioned. And the scene where he fell to his knees in a submissive pose wasn't as painful to read as I feared.
I can happily state that in a few places -- very few, unfortunately -- this Christian seemed a little more like the original Fifty Shades Christian. I was pleasantly surprised when it happened. However, there were scenes that begged for Christian's POV, yet only the dialog was given without any insight from Christian's character.
It was absurd and disappointing when he was simply the dull Christian she created for his stories. A self-made billionaire, who also happens to be a Dom, sounds a bit ridiculous saying "whoa," or starting a sentence with "boy". As in, "boy, is she mad."
E.L. also has a problem writing people’s thoughts and conversations in a believable way. She tends to write in very proper English, but people don't talk that way. We're usually more relaxed in our thoughts and conversations.
The book is riddled with these, but I don’t want to bore you with example after example. So, I'll only report a couple of instances.
“Jesus H. Christ, she's not eaten since our last meal together!”
Most people wouldn't speak in such a stilted manner. Instead, they might say: "Jesus H. Christ, she hasn't eaten since our last meal together!"
“Slowly, I begin to relax, enjoying a serenity I've not felt since she left.”
This is much more natural - "Slowly, I begin to relax, enjoying a serenity I haven't felt since she left."
Then there's the occasional editor misses. Such as the time he "circuited her navel with his tongue." I'm almost positive he was supposed to be circling her navel with his tongue.
And the incessant "she's not going to leave. Surely.”
“That must mean she's not going to leave. Doesn't it?"
There was a point in the book when it seemed like there was some version of that almost every-other-sentence.
Except, when he finally admitted he loved her. Then it was the incessant “I-love-her” AND “does-that-means-she’s-not-going-to-leave?”
I’m sure E L James probably reads some of the 5 star reviews. She needs to read some of the more critical reviews.
To do the story in Christian's viewpoint doesn't mean you have to copy every single conversation word for word. You don't even have to document every meeting or conversation. Christian is a different person than Ana. He sees things through a different lens. He has different life experiences which makes his viewpoint different from hers on occasion.
Christian can love Ana and want to be with her without thinking she's the smartest, most beautiful woman in the world.
In the chapter at the end of Freed, E L James said Christian was successful because of his ability to read other people. Yet, she makes Christian seem like a fool much of the time in these stories. Okay, he can be in love, but he also needs to be realistic if the story is going to be realistic.
Ana is not perfect. Far from it. She's a moron on occasion. She can also be selfish and hateful. None of us are perfect. Ana isn't even close. And it's okay if Christian not only notices it, but worries about it sometimes. He actually does a couple of times in "Darker", so kudos for that.
They fight all the time. She pushes him when he asks her not to. She tries to touch him even when he’s begged her not to. He’s told her it's a hard limit, something she should understand and respect, but she acts like it doesn’t matter. Those things don’t apply to her somehow.
Instead of an instant repeat of every word and scene, it would be much more enjoyable, and give us much more insight if Christian was away from Ana from time to time. The activity doesn’t matter. What matters is what he’s thinking. He should certainly have memories of a conversation he had with Ana, or something they've shared, but I would like to see how he works out his emotions, thinks about where their relationship might be going. Having an honest look at what his life would be and how much he really wants to change.
Being constantly worried that she's going to leave is juvenile.
I would love to see him working through one of their fights and getting to witness the turmoil in his mind. How the things he suffered in his past affects what he's experiencing now. That's something Ana couldn't do in Fifty, Darker and Freed. Her past has nothing in common with Christian's. I want to know about Christian: his past life, his experiences, how something she says or does affects him now. I would love to see him become self-aware and grow emotionally. Not through regurgitated conversations. But, by his own thoughts and feelings.
As it was, too many times the conversation was simply repeated without any of Christian's thoughts brought to light.
I want Christian to wrestle with his abandonment issues and how they might have affected the way he coped with Ana leaving. If he had been more emotionally stable, would he have been as crushed as he was? I want him to question himself and think about those issues. Was it Ana leaving him that almost destroyed him, or the feelings he had as a small child when his mother died, abandoning him to the pimp and his hunger?
I would love to see Christian take these issues head on. There is no way he can have a healthy relationship with Ana, or any other woman, until he works through those issues. As it is, he and Ana are very co-dependent on each other. Their relationship was dysfunctional from the beginning, and nothing I saw was making it any better. I think Christian needs to admit this to himself. That doesn't mean he loves Ana any less, or doesn't want her back.
I know Dr. Flynn said Christian didn't have an adolescence (emotionally) when he was growing up. But, Christian did have adult relationships with women. Even if it was in a lifestyle Dr. Flynn and Ana can't understand or relate to. Yet, Dr. Flynn’s point is well taken. Christian didn't get his first fumbling kiss with a girl his age, his first date, the prom. Ana didn't either. It was established that she took care of Ray and only had one kiss from a guy when she was fifteen.
So, it's understandable why they're both so immature in their relationship. That explains the petty fights, the texts and the emails. But, Christian is also an intelligent man. Even if he doesn't know how to fix it, he would be intelligent enough to understand it was broken.
So here it is: more scenes without Ana, while still remembering certain things from events and conversations, becoming more self-aware and working out what he really wants for his future. Being truthful about both his and Ana's faults and the things they need to work on. Realizing that as much as he loves her and wants her to stay, he really wouldn't be destroyed if she didn’t. If he's never able to come to those conclusions on his own, Ana would forever have that hanging over his head. That's not a relationship built on equality and trust. A relationship like that can't survive.
It would take immense talent to link the story in Darker to Christian’s journey. But that’s what Christian’s viewpoint is supposed to be about. I’m just not sure E L has that talent. It wasn’t displayed in “Grey” or “Darker”.
I loved Grey, but Darker surpassed it. OMG, being in his head. It was painful seeing him as an angry man, who still had that frightened little boy within him, who couldn’t get close to anyone, who was so scared of being touched, he wouldn’t sleep with anyone, for fear they might touch him in their sleep, and his need to tie up women so they couldn’t put their hands on him during sex.
Watching him fall in love. Feeling so vulnerable and insecure because he’d never felt before, the way he feels for Ana. His fear of losing her. His self hatred and sadly not being able to see the good man he really was. I loved seeing him blossom under the gentle touch and love of Ana. I loved everything about this book. It was such an emotional read. I couldn’t get enough and hated it when I came to the end of this book. I can’t wait for the author to write Freed from his POV. Well, I hope she writes it. I can honestly say, that after having read the original trilogy 17 times, that the books from Christian’s POV are my favourites. I think for anyone who misjudged Christian and accused him of being a cold, arrogant man who was abusive towards women, they should really read the books from his POV. He is not cold or arrogant, or abusive. He is a man who had a horrific start to life, who learnt over the years to cope the only way he knew how. He unfortunately was introduced to sex by the wrong kind of person, but it taught him a way he could be in control, something so important to him. Something I understood because when you have no control as a child, you crave it as an adult.
Ana certainly turns Christian on his head. Everything that is familiar to him and helps him cope is gone, and yet, he takes to his new lifestyle so well. This is an incredible love story. It’s the love story between a damaged young man and the woman who comes into his life and loves him, flaws and all. Who slowly but surely shows him there is another way and who teaches him to love, and to start to at least like himself. I LOVED everything about Darker.