The Cinderella subplot and spanking continue in Fifty Shades Darker; however, Christian Grey's sadist side has considerably softened since the melodramatic ending of the first book.
While E.L. James initially deprives the audience of the racier sex scenes familiar with Fifty Shades of Grey, the readers are presented with an opportunity to delve deeper into Grey's dark past and learn the truth of his "crack-whore-mother", the "pedophile" Mrs. Robinson, and a list of his former "submissives". Throughout the blast from the past scenarios are raunchy, explicit sex scenes peppered with soft, sweet, "vanilla" loving. While the Twilight-y romance continues in Fifty Shades Darker, James proves she hasn't last her touch for describing sexual instances in shocking detail.
Grey adorns Ana with profligate gifts such as expensive Cartier earrings and an iPad filled with her favorite 19th-century romantic literature. Grey accustoms Ana to his lifestyle as he accompanies her to masquerade fundraising parties, sailing trips, and a dinner complete with the force-feeding of aphrodisiac oysters.
Astonishment and surprise will engulf readers as they are exposed to instances in which borderline role-reversal between the "dominant" and "submissive" transpire. Although Ana finds herself barking sexual orders, still present is the tiresomely prude girl we fell in love with from book one, only now she is more comfortable playing bad.
E.L. James merges depth and kink in Fifty Shades Darker, an intriguingly perfect combination. In light of the lingering drama, James also provides the audience with some breathing room for giggles. This most often presents itself during Ana's and Grey's comical and provocative e-mail swapping.
As Ana gains independence (somewhat) from Grey as she is promoted to publisher, room is opened up for danger from an outside party, and the plot for the third installment of the series is set up.
Despite the Twilight-y romance continuance, Fifty Shades Darker gets two thumbs up! Again, if you can handle graphic depictions of sexual fetishes and the rollercoaster story, this is a must-read.