Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades #2) by E.L. James

Fifty Shades Darker - E.L. James

This book suffers even more than the first from lack of rewriting. Being the middle part of the epic-length fanfic, it's one huge filler, full of with cheap and cliched plot points. Literally nothing happens in the first half, and then a couple of cliched subplots are crammed in the last part in order to create enough of a cliffhanger to make people read the third part even though there is nothing more to say storywise.


I actually expected this book to be dedicated to reconcilation, ending in them making amends and maybe a grand wedding proposal. Instead, they make up in a couple of days, and marriage proposal follows soon. And then there is a series of soap-operaish cliched subplots to fill the space.

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What is the problem? James didn't bother to rewrite. She really just replaced the names. I actually found and read fanfic in question and yeah, it's the same. You need no further proof than the way this book was written. See, fanfics are often written and published chapter-by-chapter. Which means that the pacing is set to fit this form. Chapters are often episodes that end in cliffhangers rather than a rounded unit of the story. This is necessary in order to keep readers. Sometimes, if the feedback is very positive, the author will stretch the story as much as they can, adding new subplots, in order to get more reviews and praise. So main plot can get a bit muddled, if not completely lost eventually. Rather than a rounded-up form that presents one plot thoroughly that a novel is supposed to be, chaptered fanfics are sometimes not unlike a popular TV series, with producers occasionally deciding to change the original concept based on viewer's feedback. Not all, mind you, but a significant number of them. And Master of the Universe, which is rougly 90% of Fifty Shades trilogy word for word, is one of them.



The only thing about this book that I liked is that "Mrs. Robinson" wasn't excused. But only the essence of it. The way it was executed was, like the rest of plot points, cliched. (And yes, that word will be appearing a lot in this review and likely the next as well.)


However, this poses another problem: BDSM is definitely demonised. Some lite play is allowed, but nothing really "bad". Which means that this book is falsely marketed. As of this installment, these series should not be acknowledged as BDSM erotica. Go and find the real deal, if you are interested. Don't get me wrong - there is nothing wrong with lite. Just that the tone implies it's "good" while hardcore is "bad".


My basic knowledge of psychology balked at the psychoanalysis failure, but I'll leave the in-depth analysis to someone more capable - I don't want to add my own errors on the top of the mess James made of it. Let me just sum up the main problems:

Christian Grey chooses submissives that resemble his biological mother, whom he calls nothing but "crack whore", and lives out his rage against her passivity by causing them pain. And his good psychiatrist says it's okay, sadism isn't a disorder any more. As far as I know, that counts only for sexual sadism, and that's sadism with the purpose of obtaining sexual pleasure, NOT "CURING" DEEP-SEATED CHILDHOOD TRAUMAS, GOD-DAMN IT. THAT'S SUPPOSED TO BE YOUR JOB, DOCTOR.

Said traumas are...not really revealed. He has some cigarette burns, as far as we know. These, for some reason, cause him not to abide touch anywhere except certain parts. Of course, no sort of therapy seems to have been applied, even though he was adopted very young and there was more than enough time to heal at least some of it. Luckily, there is Ana to cure him of it by the power of Tru Wuv. Move over, shrinks, Inner Goddess will fix it all, as soon as she touches up her "harlot-red" lipstick!

I wonder what the author thinks of Scientology.

(show spoiler)



And then there was the moustache-twirling cardbord-cutout villain.

And with a name as innocuous as "Jack Hyde", I never saw it coming. I was shocked. Shocked, I tell you.

(show spoiler)



Summary: This book was worse than Fifty Shades of Grey. Still not as bad as City of Bones, though.