AUTHOR: E.L. JAMES
Details: no. 2 Fifty Shades
Warning: If you haven’t read the first Fifty Shades book but intend to do so, you probably shouldn’t read this review since it will contain references to and possible spoilers for that title.
So I wrote my review of Fifty Shades of Grey earlier this month and, even to my own ears, I sounded rather reluctant to admit that I had enjoyed the read. Not that I no longer stand over what I wrote in that review – I still don’t think these books will ever qualify for literary prizes for example – but I do think it is time to let go of the reluctance and just admit that I’m having great fun with this trilogy. It’s time to admit that I do like the stories and yes, I do get a kick out of the S.E.X.
I guess that when you find you’re bribing yourself – just one more book of the “must-read-now-pile” and then I can get to the sequel – it really is time to just pick up the book and read it. So I did.
After Ana fled away from Christian and his dark sexual needs, convinced that she couldn’t be what he needed her to be regardless of how deeply she had fallen for him, she spends a miserable few days getting used to her new job.
It isn’t long though before she and Christian meet up again to go to the opening of a photo show of Ana’s college friend Jose. Back in each others company it doesn’t take the pair long to realise that they can’t be apart from each other, and Christian has a proposition for Ana. In order to be with her he is willing to put his needs and past sexual practices aside and have a “normal” relationship. Although filled with doubts, Ana agrees, knowing that she is far more miserable without him than she could ever be with him.
And so the two set off on a path to discover if they can be happy together without the aid of the “playroom”. But, of course there are obstacles. On the personal front there is the ever present Mrs. Robinson who first introduced Christian to the BDSM scene, Ana’s fear that what she can offer Christian won’t be enough for him in the long run and Christian’s still obsessive need to control Ana’s life.
Outside forces seem to conspire against the pair too, with a blast from Christian’s past threatening both of them and Ana’s new boss turning out to be a bit of a, potentially very dangerous, creep. With the odds stacked against them, Ana and Christian have a real fight on their hands if they want to make a success of the relationship they both seem to want so desperately.
So, what can I say about this book.
To start with the obvious, there is still an awful lot of sex, mostly in rather graphic detail. This time around though, the intimacy is a lot more straightforward, if still rather adventurous.
As in the first book, the writing is nothing to write home about, but, on the other hand, not bad enough to annoy me. While there is a lot of repetition and Ana’s “inner goddess” continued to irritate me, I had great fun reading this book.
In fact, the most frustrating thing about reading the Fifty Shades books is that I can’t quite figure out why I’m enjoying them so much. However, I’ve decided that it really doesn’t matter why I like the books. I’ve also come to the conclusion that I should never have to apologize for enjoying something I read, so I won’t be analyzing that aspect of it any further.
What I did like is that James introduced some suspense-like elements into this book without actually trying to turn it into a thriller. When danger surfaces it is dealt with rather quickly, efficiently and, as far as I’m concerned, effectively.
I also liked the descriptions of Ana trying to understand Christian, his past and how that related to his compulsions as well as Christian’s attempts to get over his fears and obsessions and be what Ana needs him to be.
And I do like that she ended the book on a bit of a cliff-hanger, which of course means that it won’t be long before I will have to give in to temptation again and return for my third and final encounter with Ana and her Christian.