Skip to main content
PBS logo

Book Reviews of Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, Bk 2)

Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, Bk 2)
Fifty Shades Darker - Fifty Shades, Bk 2
Author: E. L. James
ISBN-13: 9780099579922
ISBN-10: 0099579928
Publication Date: 4/1/2012
Pages: 384
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.

3.5 stars, based on 14 ratings
Publisher: Random House
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

41 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

flyinggems avatar reviewed Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, Bk 2) on + 433 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 9
This is the second book in the Fifty Shades Trilogy.

Fifty Shades Trilogy
1. Fifty Shades of Grey
2. Fifty Shades of Darker
3. Fifty Shades of Freed

I found that the first book flowed right into the second book and that you really want to have both 1 & 2 in your possession. Book 2 leaves a tidier ending so that you are Ok if you do not have book 3.

So you know all about Ana and Christian. Can it work between them? He is so Fifty Shades. Can she open her mind to what he wants and Can he tame his sexual needs? Ana would like to start her real world job and life. Can she make it through a day without some drama interrupting? Will Ana be able to forget about his past?

I found this book better than the first. Maybe because she is less weak in this book. There is so much drama surrounded by sex in this book. Now writing this review I cannot remember all the main events, there were so many of them. I am learning lots of closed door activities.
reviewed Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, Bk 2) on + 29 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
I loved the first book and was glad I had the second one to start right away b/c the first one leaves you hanging! This book does the same but not quite in the same way. Most people either love this series or hate it. I don't think I'd heard anyone say it was just ok, lol. Regardless, this second book is about these characters finding love. I really enjoyed it. The sex isn't anything that shocked me, not that I'm into BDSM. But I understand that each character has different needs and together they work to find that balance. I plan on reading it again...
reviewed Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, Bk 2) on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
LOVED the second book! I agree that the first leaves you hanging and you can't wait for more!! I have heard that some are offended by the sexual nature of the books, but that's what you find on the surface. The book is really about love and that both persons in arelationship have to make significant sacrifices to make it work. True to life. Absolutely addicting!
reviewed Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, Bk 2) on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I do actually like this book. It's very engaging and dramatic. However, I find Ana's "innocence" somewhat unbelievable. I don't practice BDSM but I do know about it and what it entails. I can believe she was a virgin up until she met Christian, it's the rest of her innocence I can't quite believe. And the sex got rather vanilla in this book compared to the first book. I was a little conflicted about this. The first book was a lot more intense with the sexual tension and the second book is more like geez...again?! However, I didn't quite feel so dirty reading the second book or grimace too much at Ana and her slight stupidity about life and love. But other than that I actually very much enjoyed this book more for the drama than really anything else. I also liked that Ana was a lot stronger in this one instead of the whimpering little girl that she was in the first book. Can't wait to read the third book.
reviewed Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, Bk 2) on + 503 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Fun quick read although not as good as the first book. Slow in places, a little redundant and surprisingly... boring. But the ending was so satisfying it made the rest of the book worthwhile. James starts retreading the same stuff over and over again with many (many) love scenes that neither progress the story nor introduce an untried kink factor. Although she does introduce a fabulous phrase "kinky fuckery". Overall worth reading but not quite the same thrill as the first book, either with the Twilight comparisons or the barrier-crossing sex ideas (for the uninitiated chick porn reader).
smith-jones avatar reviewed Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, Bk 2) on + 47 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I enjoyed the first book more. I got bored with most of the story here. Too much repetition, and shallow dialogues. Once the novelty of the first book wore off, I expected Fifty Shades Darker to be bolder and kinkier. I think the boldest it got was when Christian was exploring Ana inside the elevator full of people.

My favorite part, Grace smacking perv Elena across the face, go mama bear, you were late to protect your boy but at least you saw the molester at her true game.

I'll continue with book 3 because I want to read what Jack will do.
thirstyvampire82 avatar reviewed Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, Bk 2) on + 8 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Well, after reading the first one and giving it a 5 star rating, I had high hopes for the second book in the series. Only to have them demolished. I tried to finish it but couldn't I got about half way through. I really only wanted to learn more of his childhood trauma and childhood. However, I couldn't get past the sex every fifth page! It got redundant. I made it to page 200-something. I hope you enjoy it more than I did.
nmsusieq avatar reviewed Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, Bk 2) on + 10 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This series is not as good as I thought it would be. Book 1 is good, book 2 is okay, book 3 got boring. So much repetition.
reviewed Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, Bk 2) on
Helpful Score: 1
Ugh. Just dumb. I had found myself entertained by the characters in the first book despite the horrible writing but this was worse. Not in writing, I think the first one takes the cake on that, but the story was just ridiculous.
reviewed Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, Bk 2) on + 19 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
My favorite of the Fifty Shades trilogy. Ana and Christian are past the initial phase of their relationship and really getting to know each other in and out of the playroom. Ana and Christian are both strong willed and it makes for some great plot. Lots of excitement outside the bedroom (and other play areas) too. E.L. James is a magnificent writer. Do yourself a favor and read these books.
reviewed Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, Bk 2) on + 412 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Why am I subjecting myself to such cheesy, poor writing????
reviewed Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, Bk 2) on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I'm not sure why I even began to read this book after my extreme disappointment with the first in the series. The writing is poor, the story line is almost as dismal as the first in the series, and the ending...well obviously the author did not originally intend to produce a trilogy.

Readers surely are not purchasing the books in this series for their literary or artistic value. If you are considering this book to satisfy a craving for erotic fiction, you will be well served to look elsewhere. The sex scenes are so redundant that you will likely find yourself skimming or skipping your way through.

Finally, I must comment on the poor, awkward use of language. I hope to avoid exposure to "smirk" for quite some time after the overuse and repetition found in this woefully inadequate tale.
daredevilgirl013 avatar reviewed Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, Bk 2) on + 746 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I really do like this second book in the series. I wouldn't say "loved" because it just lacks that getting to know this world detail the first one did. Ana stuck more to what she knew and the kinky stuff kinda went out the window for 75% of the book and we stuck with more "vanilla" things. Also I'm a little confused by some events that happened, because the person that did them wouldn't have known about it until later..much later (trying to not reveal a spoiler) so I'm hoping the third book will shed some light and answers to that. Otherwise still a good book. Still plenty of sex, glad I can read it on the ipad and not in public lol.
reviewed Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, Bk 2) on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This book picks up where Fifty Shades of Grey stops.I enjoyed the first book, but was disappointed in this book. I had hoped for a deeper plot. I am reading the last book in this series and you do need to read the second book to understand what and why things are happening in the last book. It explains a lot of what was missing in Fifty Shades Darker.
mindyislosingit avatar reviewed Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, Bk 2) on + 19 more book reviews
As with the first and the third books in this series, the second book is so very good. I am actually reading all three for a second time. Can't get enough Christian and Ana. What a great love story it turns out to be and the HOT sex is pretty great too.
jude3gr avatar reviewed Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, Bk 2) on + 10 more book reviews
This second book began to feel monotonous in reading because the author's choice of words was often repetitive.
thestephanieloves avatar reviewed Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, Bk 2) on + 241 more book reviews
I wasn't a fan of the first book, but am so glad I gave the second a chance. In Fifty Shades Darker, Christian (our fantasy man, the sex god, the physically flawless human being with athletic ability, musical prowess, an amazing family, a scattering of houses all across the nation, some helicopters and private jetsand of course, pilot licenses for both vehiclesAND a gajillion dollars) agrees to vanilla, agrees to sacrificing himself for Anastasia as much as it pains him, because that is the depth of his love for her. The emotions in this installment of the Fifty Shades series are mind-blowing and the implications of what Christian is giving up just to keep Ana around, devastating. I found this book so much more enjoyable than the first, and actuallydare I say it.... liked it.

Mr. Grey's dangerous past and lingering associations haunt his current relationship with Ana, indicating their love may be geting more dangerousdarkerthan ever. As he becomes more and more dependent on her in a way he's never felt with anyone else, he realizes he must exorcise the demons of his past in order to achieve a fulfilling, worthy future with the lovely (okay, not so lovely) Miss Steele... even if it damn near kills him.

This book is richer in both content and in emotional resonance. It consumed me, and once I really got into it, I couldn't put it down! Things actually happen, things other than the same love scene over and over again. Well, maybe that's a bit of a stretch. The BDSM is once again a huge letdown, but you heard me complain enough about that in my first review, so I'll restrain myself on that matter. The sex scenes are still repetitivein fact, they're identical, just with different locations (table, bed, helicopter) and different occasions (birthday, Monday, Tuesday...). So, sadly no improvement whatsoever there.

But where I did see improvement, was in the two main characters and the relationship between them. There's actually growth among them; the previously boring, innocent Ana finds a way to surprise even herself, while mercurial (quote, unquote) Christian learns to trust, as much as it hurts him. The exquisite unraveling of Christian's agonizing childhood and the psychoanalysis on how it's made him they way he is today... this... THIS will break your heart. Ana only wants to kiss those scars that are so deeply embedded into Christian's flesh but even she may not have that power. The way he gives himself to her so wholly because of how much he loves her, is what made me cave.

Now, as much as I was engrossed in the stirring conflict of emotions, this book is far, far from perfect. I fell a little in love with Christian through his weak, needy portrayal, but I can't say this very confidently, because there are bigger, better things that made me want to puke on him, instead. Even Anastasia recognizes he has more money than he has sense; throughout the entire book, he is terrifyingly bipolar, a control freak, and demonstrates multiple personalitiesin other words, pretty freakin' scary. He suffocates Ana in affection and "compassion" to compensate for his behavior, but what the eff? You can't swear at a girl, and then buy her a car and stick your tongue in her love hole (my new PG word for snatch) to make it up to her! It doesn't work that way, Mr. Grey, you ass! But alas, apparently it does work that waythe horrendous result of both James's unbelievable portrayal of a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship, and of Ana's idiocy.

Brace yourself for a fangirly (or anti-fangirly) rant: ANA EFFIN' STEELE, the incriminating reason why Anaïs Nin is tossing around in her grave at night! I'll give you this: I do respect her a bit more after reading Fifty Shades Darker. Not when she returns to Christian obviously, but because she has her moments where she just plain kicks ass: hater ass, Christian ass, filthy perverted boss assall sorts of good ass! She actually stands up for herself (for once!); I was proud of her for her assertiveness. But aside from her glittering moments, I wanted to spank the crap out of her. I don't know if James has deliberately created the most dislikable female character on the planet, but she's done a great job at it. Also, I noticed Ana orgasms pretty much at the slightest breeze. Christian looks at her love hole and she orgasms. Christian says her name and she orgasms. Christian touches her shoulder and she orgasms. Ana is a dumbass and I don't know what Christian sees in her; it pained ME to have to read this whole book from her perspective.

Oh, and they've known each other for a good five weeks and they're saying vows? What the actual eff, this was probably my biggest problem with their relationship. No one can commit or develop proper feelings that quickly, especially if they're doe-eyed and virginal like Anastasia, or fifty shades of effed up like Christian. Sigh... James fails in the realistic factor again. (But then again, Christian buys Ana multiple designer cars, a bunch of houses, ancient wine, antiques, and is solving world hunger and is a doting boyfriend. We never guaranteed this book would be realistic).

I also find it ver strange they call each other by their last names: Mr. Grey this, Miss Steele thatare they from the 19th century? Well, Ana could be, given her lack of any sort of worldly experience (i.e. relationships, sexuality, email).

Okay, my rant's over, I promise. So. Aside from the outraged ramble you've read above, this book had many redeeming qualities that made me enjoy it. As flawed as the main relationship is, you can tell Christian really does love Ana; it's just that he keeps pulling her into unbearable situations, forcing her to face things she shouldn't have to. Ana is smart enough (just barely) to realize this, but not strong enough to resist itwhich keeps her from leaving the toxic, all-consuming relationship. They are both enshrouded by doubt that they are wrong for each other and that they don't deserve each other... and they're absolutely right, except that they have one thing in common: unbridled love. And this is what will keep them together.

Fifty Shades Darker ends breathlessly and on a lingering note. I SO want to read Book 3. Let's keep our fingers crossed it doesn't disappoint!

Pros: Much much MUCH better than the first one // Deep emotions // Character development (it took 1000+ pages, but James still did it!) // Darker, more alluring, and more thrilling // There's actually a plot // Suspenseful because of life-or-death situation both Ana and Christian are thrown in // Romance is actually palatable

Cons: Placid sex scenes // Awkward big words thrown in elementary writing // Stiff dialogue // Exasperating narrator... Ana is a moron in every which way // Sorry, but Christian Grey is still a weird prick // Unrealistic. Duh.

Love: "What I feel for you frightens me."

Verdict: I know we've got some Fifty Shades of Grey haters out there; I know this because I was one of them. Hear me out though: Fifty Shades Darker was so much better... I actually loved it! Eventful and engrossing, there's actually a developed plot, and visible character dynamism in this one. Even if you were discouraged by the first book, I think you should give the sequel a chance, because I'm so, so glad that I did. James has made so much improvement, I can't emphasize enough. The raw, heartbreaking emotions actually allowed me to overlook the stiff dialogue, unsuccessful eroticism, and awkward diction/imagery/writing style (or lack thereof); so even if the predecessor wasn't worth finishing, I guarantee this one definitely is.

8 out of 10 hearts (4 stars): An engaging read; highly recommended.

Source: Complimentary copy provided by Edenfantasys in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you!).
scoffman avatar reviewed Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, Bk 2) on + 23 more book reviews
Probably my favorie of the three
reviewed Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, Bk 2) on + 2 more book reviews
Book 2 is more of the content in book 1 - sex. BUT some mystery is thrown in and the book starts to take a turn which was needed. The mystery will continue into book 3 which will get you interest. Otherwise I don't think I would be reading book 3. Not much more you can say about the book except sex, sex, sex.
Pattakins avatar reviewed Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, Bk 2) on + 365 more book reviews
In the first installment of this horrible trilogy, we were left with Ana leaving Christian Grey because of the horrible caning he gave her. I was left thinking, So what did you expect from a Dom/submissive relationship?but happy that at least Ana got away from it all. Ah, but it was not to last. Poor Ana couldnt stand to stay away from Christian for more than 5 whole days. Nor he from her. Bleh!
This book was more of the same drivel as the first one. The only thing the two main characters have in common is sex, sex, and more sex. It gets so boring and tedious that once again, I found myself just skimming over those pages. Im sure prepubescent boys and girls might find them interesting though. Any rational adult knows that a true relationship has more than just sex in it, so we are left wondering just how they keep muddling along with all their eye-rolling, sighing, Oh-mes and Gosh-es. I became so tired of those phrases.Oh yes, I forgot the lip-biting (rolling eyes here).

In this book, the writer tries to explain how Christian got so screwed upWhy he needs to be a dominate and needs his submissiveswhy he is so insecure. However, it is not done in a believable way. Im sorry, but I just cant wrap my head around someone so screwed up and insecure becoming a bazillionare. This is because we are supposed to believe that in business he is NOT screwed upbut in every other aspect of his life, he is. Sorry, but that just doesnt fly unless you have come up with a good story line to support itwhich this book does not do. I also find it hard to believe that someone so powerful would fall head over heels with a women who is so innocent and not from his world. Nope, not buying it.

The writer does try to add a bit of intrigue and story line to this 2nd book , but very weakly, and one of the plots lines is over before its barely started.
So, save yourself some money and avoid this book like a bad rash. But then again, if you are curious about Butt Plugs, they are part of the story line. I wouldnt get my hopes up too high though
reviewed Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, Bk 2) on + 5 more book reviews
This book has so much stuff happening in it i think out off all three books this book is my favorite so much drama and action going on between the charterers. i got through this book in one day. i would recommend it to everyone.
tiffanyak avatar reviewed Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, Bk 2) on + 215 more book reviews
More of the same. If you liked the first one, you'll like this one. Otherwise, stay away. There really isn't anything new here. But, I really liked it for what it is, just as I did the first one, though I'm under no false impressions as to the writing quality or anything. They aren't well-written, and the "erotic" scenes are far from original and certainly nothing to get excited about. For some reason, I get into the story though, even though even that is a bit questionable, if anyone thinks that's what a relationship should be.
Jitterbug3 avatar reviewed Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, Bk 2) on + 198 more book reviews
This one picks up right where the first one left off, so there wasn't too much distance between them. I liked this one in that it moved a bit faster as far as the story. I will say that after awhile, the sex scenes get old and I found myself skimming through them--but I liked where this book ended up for both the main characters as well as his family.
reviewed Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, Bk 2) on + 329 more book reviews
The way this book ended makes me want to read the third book. oofda.
reviewed Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, Bk 2) on + 25 more book reviews
I'm sure I don't have to go through what the plot is about for PBS readers- so I'll spare you. However, I will say that I'm not entirely sure it was better than the first there was more action and I appreciated the shopping trips and the characters going out to dinner, etc. Anything as long as they didn't start having meaningless sex. I really really just got tired of reading about sex. I almost found myself half skipping the sex scenes. Some reviewers were right. It was meaningless and didn't move the story along, it was like she ( EL James) was just trying to fill up five hundred pages. Having said all that I did fall in love with Christian Grey. I guess the characters calling each other by last names is a British thing which we all know the author is from there- so that didn't annoy me. I will also say as a psychologist that she did get the psychosis correct when she analyzed Christian's mental state.
KellitaJ avatar reviewed Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, Bk 2) on + 550 more book reviews
Ho hum, not as much sexual tension as the first book, but I read it to see what happens, and it doesn't end there's a 3rd book.
reviewed Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, Bk 2) on + 3 more book reviews
A friend and I challenged each other to read these books and whoever read the most wins. That is the ONLY reason I suffered through this abomination (as well as the first and third books). As many have criticized before, the 'romance' isn't even a healthy relationship let alone a 'romance.'

However, as a book supposedly called 'erotic' and 'romance' it is anything but. As I said above, the relationship was not romantic to me in any way. He was over-controlling, abusive, possessive, obsessive and given a pass because of his abusive childhood. Ana, the girl (yes, very much a girl, not a woman at all) seemed on edge and fearful of him more often than not yet still found herself attracted to him which made zero sense. She also had no experience prior, not just sexual but dating or even flirting it seems, which again seemed totally unrealistic for a 22 year old about to graduate college. I could understand her still being a virgin, but, perhaps if she was in a Christian college or about to be a nun, to not even have masturbated?! That absolutely was the most ridiculous thing.

Now, as for the 'erotic' part, oh my god the sex scenes were boring as hell! Basically the same scene over and over and over... and this for a book about bondage? Yeah, no. I have not read many erotica books but this, to me, is not erotic. The author used a boilerplate for each scene and honestly, I question if the author ever actually had sex since this stuff is boring. Not only that, but to constantly say "he touched me... down there" uh, what? It sounds more like a child giving testimony at a molestation hearing.

Which, yes, constantly is not hyperbole. The repetition is maddening. Same descriptions, same dialogue, with barely any variations was incredible. For example, the blushing. Not occasionally but every other line she is blushing. Rarely she would shake it up and say she flushed or turned scarlet. The author needs a thesaurus. She also needs to learn description. Granted, you can go too far with the "purple prose" but overall, everything is bland and repetitive. Did I mention she was repetitive? Yes, she is quite repetitive. Hopefully repetition does not annoy you.

The book(s)are poorly written, annoying and quite boring. There is no romance, there is no erotica and it truly is bad fanfic. I expected the books to be bad when I started reading but they were even worse than my low expectations. Truly a black mark for 'traditional' publishing if this is what they decide makes good fiction, erotica and romance. The first, and last, time I ever hate read again. I'm not even sure these will be posted for trade as I'm contemplating using them for fire-starters. As a librarian, book burning is never a good thing, but these books make me think perhaps some do deserve such a fate.

The only good thing to come from reading these awful books -- I won the bet and now get a day at the spa!
reviewed Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, Bk 2) on + 289 more book reviews
A good trilogy middle expands on the first and psyches the audience up for the last part. Fifty shades darker didnt fulfill this function. Whereas I was intrigued by the relationship between Christian and Ana in volume one, most of the tension is either resolved or shoved out of the way by repetitious expressions of love. The couple seemed to mistake new relationship energy for true everlasting love. I read about half the book in a heady rush, but the second half dragged on, with the mediocre writing and mild sex scenes not helping. However, I do want to see how EL James brings this series to a close, so I will continue on to Fifty shades freed, albeit with lower expectations.
reviewed Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, Bk 2) on + 4 more book reviews
I lost interest half-way through. I expected something more.
reviewed Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, Bk 2) on
I loved this book!
nitindixit avatar reviewed Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, Bk 2) on + 10 more book reviews
Good book
general avatar reviewed Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, Bk 2) on + 20 more book reviews
couldn"t put it down
oldrockandroll avatar reviewed Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, Bk 2) on + 282 more book reviews
This book flowed over well from the first book. This remains a great series. You fall in love with the characters and want to know more. Ana is more independent than in the first book and more understanding of Christian. I will read this book again. A great read!
reviewed Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, Bk 2) on + 10 more book reviews
If you are reading the trilogy this is a must read. Book 2 is better than book one and has more of a story line.
reviewed Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, Bk 2) on + 79 more book reviews
I didn't really see what all the fuss was about.
reviewed Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, Bk 2) on + 129 more book reviews
The best book in the series so for. I really love the play between Christian and Ana. The suspense in this book was also great. Could not put it down. Can't wait four book 3.
reviewed Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, Bk 2) on + 13 more book reviews
It was okay. Just a continuation of the first book---
reviewed Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, Bk 2) on
Better than the movie!
reviewed Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, Bk 2) on + 11 more book reviews
great reading
richkaplanovitchsky avatar reviewed Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, Bk 2) on + 21 more book reviews
I suspect my review is a guy's perspective. This book sharply veered into serious "romance" territory and never got back to any place near "tantalizing sex" or "kinkiness." At least that's my experience when I put this book down halfway through, never to be picked up again. If you are into rapturous monologues like, "He loves me, yes he does. He doesn't love me, oh woe is me. Oh yes, he truly, truly loves me," then this book is for you and good riddance.
VCD3 avatar reviewed Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, Bk 2) on + 196 more book reviews
intense -