I previously extolled the virtues of 50 Shades of Grey, and after taking a break for a few days from Ana and Christian’s tortured romance, I girded my loins and cracked open the second book of the trilogy, 50 Shades Darker.
For those of you who have found this blog by Googling “butt plug” or “fisting,” half of you will enjoy your lucky day, because one of those is kinda sorta featured in this book. As it is, the only fisting we ever see – ever come close to seeing – is that of Ana’s or Christian’s hands in the others’ hair. And that happens a lot. Not as often as Ana or Christian gasping, or Christian setting his lips in a hard line, or Ana biting her lip, or Ana coming undone, or Christian frowning. In fact, Christian’s frowning is such a “thing” that, when Ana frowns, another character observes that she’s turning into Christian.
It’s just … WHERE THE HELL WAS THE EDITOR?
But I digress.
To dig too deeply into the spectacle that is 50 Shades of Grey is to approach Sisyphean frustration. Trust me, because I know of what I speak. I spent an inordinate amount of time wondering how it was that Christian Grey was 27 and a billionaire as I read the first book. I don’t think we are meant to really ponder this stuff. I think we’re supposed to strap on our dildos and have at it, as it were.
Okay, so. When we last left Christian and Ana, she had walked out on him, horrified at the depravity entailed in his life of BDSM. (Go ahead and Google THAT, people. I had to, so you might as well.) As with its muse, Twilight, we see our heroine descend into despair, but unlike Bella’s months on end, Ana really only suffers for five days. Christian gets in touch with her, and it’s game on, kids. Christian is prepared to let go of his need for dominance in his playroom, because all he really wants – all he really needs – is Ana. She has admitted that she loves him, but it takes Christian a little longer.
Now, before you start thinking that this is the end of the Red Room of Pain, let me tell you that it is not. Don’t worry –
Edward Christian keeps the room, and Ana remains inexplicably drawn to it. So those butt plugs come in handy (no pun intended), although – SPOILER – Christian does point out that for the anally virgin, a finger is a better start. So Ana has something to look forward to, so to speak.
Back to the plot, such as it is. It turns out that one of Christian’s former subs remains fixated on him, so she enters the story to muck up Christian and Ana’s relationship. Also causing trouble is Ana’s boss at the publishing house. He wants her, which pisses off Christian, who reacts as only Christian can. Meanwhile, Christian and Ana’s romance progresses in fits and starts. She loves him, he really cares about her, can he say the “L” word, can they get past his need for control, why does he love her, why does she love him, can he overcome his tortured childhood, blah blah blah.
What you really want to know about are the sex scenes, right? RIGHT? I’m pretty sure you butt plug searching people aren’t here to learn about the dialogue.
In this book, they rock the headboard in an elevator, on a boat, in Christian’s childhood room, in the shower (again – evidently they enjoy that spot), Ana’s apartment bedroom, Christian’s apartment bedroom, and – YESS! – the Red Room of Pain. Oh, and on top of a piano and a pool table. There may be more. Did the desk happen in this book, or the previous one? I think they wind up on Christian’s desk in this one, too.
During one of the many times Ana challenges Christian, they are in the library, competing in a billiards game.
“You know, Anastasia, I could stand here and watch you leaning and stretching across this billiard table all day,” he says appreciatively.
I flush. [SHE FLUSHES A LOT. That’s another thing that is repetitive, and so again, I ask, WHERE THE HELL IS THE EDITOR? Oh – those are “shouty caps,” according to Ana. Back to the program.] Thank heavens I am wearing my jeans. He smirks. [HE SMIRKS A LOT. So does she. Sometimes they smirk, bite lips and eye roll, all at the same time.] He’s trying to put me off my game, the bastard. He pulls his cream sweater over his head, tosses it onto the back of a chair, and grins at me, as he saunters over to take his first shot.
He bends low over the table. My mouth goes dry. Oh, I see what he means. Christian in tight jeans and white T-shirt, bending, like that … is something to behold. I quite lose my train of thought. He sinks four solids rapidly, then fouls by sinking the white.
Foreplay, Christian styles.
And now, for the butt plug searchers:
“What’s this?” I hold up the silver bullet thing.
“Always hungry for information, Miss Steele. That’s a butt plug,” he says gently.
“Bought for you.”
What? For me?
He nods slowly, his face now serious and wary.
I frown. [AGAIN – she always frowns. Or he frowns. They frown a LOT.] “You buy new, er … toys … for each submissive?”
“Some things. Yes.”
So there you go. They come up again, so buy a copy and knock yourself out.
Is 50 Shades Darker good? Hell to the no, it is not good. But is it entertaining? Yes. Is it hot? Yes. Is it worth reading? Yes. If you can get past all of the awful writing, it’s very enjoyable. I admit that I read it cover to cover, and I look forward to 50 Shades Freed. Do not, however, mistake an enjoyable read for something well written, because this is NOT well written. It’s like literary crack. You know it’s bad for you, and you feel dirty and low for enjoying it, but you can’t stop.
Yes, FOUR. Don’t judge me.
Published by Vintage and available on Amazon.com.