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Romantic, liberating and totally addictive, the Fifty Shades trilogy will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you for ever ... 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...
After reading and absolutely loving the first novel of this trilogy, Fifty Shades of Grey, I was over the moon to receive a parcel containing the second and last books, the second of which was this one, Fifty Shades Darker. It apparently kicked off where the first book ended, with Ana having left Christian because she though she couldn't be what Christian wanted i.e. a submissive. Despite this, I was desperately hoping for a happy ending in this book for the both of them, and I wondered if author E L James would make Ana and Christian have a proper relationship this time, one he could settle down into, and so I eagerly began, hoping for something that would be as fantastic to read as it's predecessor, yet a great story in its own right too, and I really wasn't disappointed! I'll start by saying that this review might contain spoilers about the nature of the story, but I don't think its anything you won't guess from reading the blurb of this book, or even that of the final book, Fifty Shades Freed. So please click away now if you don't want to find out anymore!
Ana and Christian split at the end of the end of the last book, but after a short period of separation at the start of this book, they realise that they can't live without each other, and without mentioning the L-word, they decide they want to be a couple again. However, Ana knows she still can't be the complete submissive that Christian wants, although she's still open to some visits to his playroom, but under her rules. Christian is just happy to have Ana back again, wanting her to live with him and be his 100%. He knows she cant' be his submissive, and is determined to try and live a life without the BDSM relationship he thinks that he wants. Will the pair be able to come to a compromise, and make themselves happy, without sacrificing something that each of them really needs? Can Christian really let go of his past and move forward with Ana?
This book is far less about the sexual side of the relationship between Ana and Christian than the previous book, although there are still a lot of sexual scenes within. However, I felt that these took more of a backseat to the real love story at the heart of this, and how the relationship between the pair is developing. It isn't until Ana leaves that Christian realises how strongly he feels about her, and this sends him into a spiral of desperately wanting her back, willing to do anything to prove to her he can change and be the man she needs and wants. I found the Christian in this book to be loving, caring and very insecure, and you can't help but love him as you read about him. We also find out a lot more about his past and childhood, and why he is how he is, and it's quite emotional in parts, and I felt so sorry for Christian and what he'd been through. I was glad Ana made breakthroughs with him, because it's clear straight away he's a great person inside, he just doesn't know how to believe it himself.
There's a bit of a spanner in the works for the couple however, when one of Christian's previous submissives shows up again, threatening Ana, and Christian doesn't know how to protect her fully. Why is this girl after Ana, and what is going to happen if Christian and his security crew don't catch her in time? It's an exciting little plot line thrown in to stir things up for the pair again when they finally get back together, and it shows us another side of Christian, how protective and cautious he can be, and I wanted to give Ana a bit of a slap occasionally when she went against the safe rules Christian put up for her - those really aren't the times to disobey a Dom! I really liked this story, and found it picked up the pace of the book really well, and I was hooked! As per the first book, there are quite a few sexual scenes, but it was more about seeing how the sexual side of their relationship grew and how Christian could adjust rather than just running through BDSM scenario's as they were doing a bit in Fifty Shades of Grey. Again, they were well written, and there's something just so likeable about Christian, even when he's in "Dom" mode, James has really created a fabulous character with him!
The end of the book leads nicely onto the start of the next, and although I had an idea what was going to happen, I was so pleased when events in this book happened as they did. I loved that Christian loved Ana so much he was wiling to make such a change, and it goes to show if you love someone enough, you will be what they need you to be to keep them in your life. The love story just grows further in this book, and as I was reading, I forgot the world around me and totally immersed myself in the land of Ana and dreamy Christian Grey. Yes, it's partly an erotic novel, but again it's just a wonderful love story, and for anyone who dreams of a happily ever after, I urge you to pick up the Fifty Shades trilogy because these are books you won't forget in a hurry. I actually thought this book was even better than the first, delving into the life of Christian was great, and seeing the man behind the Dominant facade was fantastic. I loved every page, and started the next novel immediately, make sure you try it! I think every girl dreams of being loved like Christian loves and adores Ana... and until then, I'll settle for reading about them :) Just brilliant!
ISBN: 978-0099579922. Published by Arrow on 26th April 2012. Pages: 544. RRP: £6.99. Also available as an eBook.
Thank you to the publishers for sending me a copy to review for http://chicklitchloe.blogspot.com