50 Shades Darker: Book 2
Updated: Jul 8
50 Shades Darker: Book 2
Author: E. L. James
The sequel to the first book, 50 Shades of Grey, definitely didn’t disappoint. Of course, when we left off of book 1, Christian and Ana had broken up because Christian finally showed Ana how far he can take it in the red room. As Christian erotically beat Ana, he enjoyed it, while Ana painfully lamented. In that moment, Ana realized (or thought, rather) that she could never give Christian what he wanted (give up herself into total submission), and vice versa.
Book 2 opens up with both Christian and Ana dealing with heartbreak post breakup, and both are equally having a hard time without each other. Christian has begun having dreams (which stopped when he was with Ana), which makes him relive his unfortunate childhood, while Ana has subsequently lost weight from lack of eating (which of course we know is a pet peeve for Christian). Christian eventually realizes that Ana is his lifeline and he will make all the required sacrifices for Ana in order to have her back in his life. That means no more red room, no more spanking, no more punishment, just plain vanilla. Christian wins Ana back, but Ana soon attempts to discern if vanilla is enough for her, as she has grown accustomed to their spontaneous dark/sweet lovemaking. Ana in turn decides that as Christian has made sacrifices for her, she will also do the same; that is incorporating some of Christian’s needs into their relationship (to be honest, the “kinky fuckery” was for Ana’s needs too).
Throughout book 2, Christian and Ana face many antagonists-Leila, Christian previous submissive; Jack Hyde, Ana’s boss; and Mrs. Robinson, Christian’s previous dominant. All these opposing forces try, but ultimately fail, to get in between Ana and Christian’s imperishable bond. In addition, the supporting cast of characters is excellent. It was good seeing more from Kate this time, since she was gone for what seemed like the entire first novel. I think it was a great idea to include Kate more by creating a relationship between her and Elliot (Christian’s brother), which also made her more easily accessible to Ana throughout the novel. Since the entire novel is based on Ana and Christian’s relationship, it was important to see more meaningful interactions with Ana and other characters.
Overall, E.L. James created a relatable protagonist in Ana, and it was great witnessing her personal growth from this meek and sort of awkward character in book 1 to more outspoken and confident in book 2. In addition, it was great seeing the progression of Christian and Ana's relationship beyond their sexual chemistry. Christian finally summed up the courage to reveal some frightening news about himself to Ana, and I was relieved when she was so accepting. Ana's presence allowed Christian to see past the darkness and more open to love (both giving and receiving). I think Christian and Ana’s relationship fits into the real world, in that once you’ve found “the one” you only see “the one.” In essence, it’s a beautiful story, sometimes dark, but nevertheless, still beautiful. I have to say, it was a pleasure accompanying both Christian and Ana in their physical and emotional journey, and I look forward to reading book 3: 50 Shades Free.
Spoiler alert: As Christian and Ana prepare to make their union official, it looks like they will continue to face some opposing forces in book 3, and once again, I’ll be here with the popcorn in hand.