Upon opening the second book of the 50 Shades trilogy, I asked myself, “Why am I putting myself through this shit again?” But I knew why. I was desperate to find that abuse everyone talked about. When you argue about the poor quality of the first book with fans of the trilogy, they immediately declare that you just won’t understand until you read the second and third books, because apparently that is where the “real” chemistry start. And thus, needing to be able to properly debate this whole thing, I set out to wade through the shallow waters of 50 Shades Darker.
We left off in the first book, Anastsia had just fled from Christian’s scary “50 shades of fucked up”. She had decided to let him really lay into her, and after her mild ass beating, she immediately closed up, rejected his after care, and decided that he was a monster and she could not possibly give him everything he needed. Commence scene where she goes home, throws herself on her bed dramatically, and cries. Poor Christian, finally gets the woman he apparently cares for to consent to a little rough handling, and she deserts just like his crack whore mother when she killed herself in front of 4 year old Christian and he was left with her dead body for 4 days.
But, let us jump right into the second book. Ana has begun her job at a publishing house in Seattle. Things seem to be going great, and she’s oblivious to her sleazeball boss’s firtations. Go figure. She receives flowers from everyone’s favorite billionaire 3 days after she stormed out on him, with a card congratulating her on her first day of work. 3 days laterm she gets an email from Mr. Grey, remembering that her friend’s art gallery opening is the next day and she had previously invited him to attend it with her. And of course, since she has no car at this point in time, he ofers to pick her up and take her still. And she, of course, agrees.
When Ana and Christian are reunited, we discover that she has not eaten since last Friday, the night she left him. And this has been a recurring theme with Ana. It seems anytime food is places in front of her, she becomes so sexually distracted that she loses her appetite. Or else, the distraction is her fear of Christian’s past and his deviant sexual appetites. This girl practically never eats. But thankfully, her habits seem to get better throughout the second book. I’ve never met someone who has forgotten to eat or completely lose their appetite as easily as Miss Steele. But, despite all that has transpired between them in the past week, the two slip easily back into their roles; Christian asserting his dominance and Ana acting like a rebellious teenager. They go to the art gallery, they go out to eat. End chapter one. So much excitement.
Chatper two we have negotiations that set the scene for the rest of the book, basically. Christian doesn’t want to lose her again, so he agrees to a vanilla relationship. We learn that Miss Steele doesn’t like pain, but she does like it a little bit. She doesn’t want to be punished (though she would benefit from it greatly), but she does want to be spanked a little. So, the Domly Dom who has never had a normal relationship is now in a normal relationship with a girl who is technically in her early 20s, but has the mentality of a preteen and doesn’t know better than to not send personal emails to you boyfriend through your work email. And even after she is warned that her work emails are monitored, she continues to send things that she definitely shouldn’t. Rebel without a cause, or ignorant teenager? Not that she’s entirely at fault. Christian could’ve stopped emailing her back. Dumb lovestruck socially inept billionaire.
The carrying on between Christian and Ana remains similar to what it was in the first book, but E.L James seems to be trying to turn the tables. Where in the first book Christian was portrayed as this strong character and Ana was unsure and insecure, the second book finds their roles switched. Ana seems to be thriving under this new relationship with Christian. No longer afraid of punishment, she’s become mouthy and more bratty than ever. And Christian, completely out of his element, is suddenly opening up and making himself vulnerable for this woman that he loves. Character develpoment? Or fantasy dreams of the lonely and sexually unfulfilled? Personally I think it’s the latter, but the author will probably argue with me, and arguing with children is tedious and hardly ever gets you anywhere, so I’m going to save myself the headache.
Obviously, now that we know that Christian is not going to dominate little Ana, the threat of abuse is gone from the storyline. So, what are we given to keep us reading once we realize this? We’re given Christian’s past. From the pedophilic Mrs. Robinson to a mentally unwell ex-sub, the drama never stops. The first book was about the contract. Will she or won’t she agree to become his submissive? The second book was definitely all about Christian’s past and battling his demons and putting them to rest. And it’s all rather hilarious, which is really the only redeeming quality of these book is the humor I find in how outrageous this all is.
And what is the icing on the cake of the Chrsitian Grey drama? All those times he told Ana that she wouldn’t want to be with him if she knew why he did the things he did, what was that all about? Well, my friends, I’ll tell you. Mr. Grey chooses his submissives, the women he brings into his house to beat and tie up and fuck… based on how much they look like his mother. Yes, folks, all his pretty brunette submissives remind him of mommy. Which kind of explains why all the women who work for him are blondes. BAM! Secret revealed, we can all go home. Drive safely!
But with all of this past drama squared away and imminent wedding bells, why do we need a third book? Is it just so the author can write out her dream wedding to the kinky billionare man of her dreams? Oh no, E.L. James has one more trick up her sleeve for us. Because after the sleazeball boss I mentioned earlier tries to blackmail Ana with those emails I also previously mentioned, Christian (who, by the way, bought the fucking publishing company Ana works for) has the sleazeball boss fired after Ana kicks him the balls and then Christian’s body guard has a go at him. And at the end of the book, we discover that the reason Christian’s helicopter malfunctioned (yeah, that’s right, I’m not giving you all the details. You want them, you have to suffer through the whole book like I did… Or maybe just ask me… I’ll probably tell you anyway) is because the sleazeball ex boss wants his revenge.
So, will I pick up the third book?… Probably. I’ve made it this far, I feel like I need to finish this out so that when I debate with fans I can be like “I READ THE DAMN BOOKS, I KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT WHEN I SAY THIS IS ALL RUBBISH!” But, in terms of fucked up shit and good soap opera drama, the second book really brought it harder than the first book with all that transpires with Christian’s exes. Does Anastasia’s attitude and unrealistic insatiable sexual prowess for a recently deflowered virgin still piss me off because it makes ZERO sense for her to be able to have rough sex all of the days multiple times a day and never seem to become sore? Yes. I’m still searching for decent fictional books with bdsm storylines, but maybe I should stop looking in the erotica for young adults section, because I really feel like that is where this trilogy belongs.