Daunted by the dark secrets of the tormented young entrepreneur Christian Grey, Ana Steele has broken off their relationship to start a new career with a US publishing house. But desire for Grey still dominates her every waking thought, and when he proposes a new arrangement, she cannot resist. Soon she is learning more about the harrowing past of her damaged, driven and demanding Fifty Shades than she ever thought possible. But while Grey wrestles with his inner demons, Ana must make the most important decision of her life. And it's a decision she can only make on her own ...
Fifty Shades Series:
Fifty Shades of Grey
Fifty Shades Darker
Fifty Shades Freed
Visit E.L. James' website for more information
If you read my review of Fifty Shades of Grey then you'll know that I had a bit of a weird love / hate relationship going on with it. There are a lot of things about these books that I don't like but I find them strangely compulsive reading and have definitely been obsessed with these characters since I started reading the books. I'm actually a bit scared to start the third book because I don't know what I'll do with myself when I've finished reading the series. Please be aware that this review will contain spoilers for the first book so please don't read any further if you haven't read Fifty Shades of Grey, this is a series that I have to recommend though so make sure you check it out!
Fifty Shades Darker picks up the story a couple of days after the ending of the first book, Ana has walked away from Christian because she can't handle his lifestyle choices and it has left her devastated. She misses him like crazy but doesn't think she can give him what he needs. Christian on the other hand isn't prepared to let her walk away, coming so close to losing her has scared him and he is determined to do whatever it takes to have her in his life - even face his inner demons.
I fell for Christian almost against my will when I was reading the first book, despite the fact that he is fifty shades of fucked-up he still has a vulnerable side that I think most women would find very hard to resist. This instalment sees some big changes in him and it just made me love him even more. The more you learn about his past the easier it is to see how Christian ended up the way he did, he had a horrific upbringing with his mother and even after being adopted into a loving family he never felt worthy. Then add in the abuse he suffered at the hands of the evil Mrs Robinson (if ever there was a character I wanted to bitch slap into next week it would be her!) so the only really surprising thing is that Christian has managed to make such a success of his business life. Despite his past you can tell that Christian really cares for Ana though, we really see him start to open his heart to her and I loved seeing the changes in him as he starts to overcome his background and become the fun loving man he should have always been.
I liked Ana much more in this book (although I still want to scream every time she mentions her inner goddess or subconscious!), she has started to grow up and I was impressed with how determined she was to have a relationship with Christian on equal terms. She couldn't deal with being a complete submissive and forced him to change his behaviour if he wanted to be with her. I liked the fact that there was so much give and take between them though and that they are both prepared to compromise. They don't know each other well so it takes time for them to set new boundaries but they are taking steps towards a relationship that will satisfy both of them.
Although there are a lot of erotic scenes in the story (lets just hope one of the companies Christian has invested in is Durex or he'll be bankrupt pretty quickly!) I think the main focus is definitely on the relationship and developing the characters. I missed the flirty email banter between them at the beginning of the book so was pleased when it made a reappearance later on - I did want to shout at Ana every time she emailed from her work computer though, stupid girl! I felt that the author had reached what would have been a pretty perfect stopping point for the series until she added the epilogue on at the end but I'm not going to complain about another instalment to a series that I have a new found addiction to! I can't wait to find out how things progress for the couple in Fifty Shades Freed - in fact I'm going to stop writing this review so I can go and read it now!
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Consider me a full blown member of the Christian Grey fan club!