Left over from the first, I was highly anticipating digging into this one. The beginning was promising with the similar controversy from the original. These really are guilty pleasures - the writing is weak much of the time and the plot needs more oomph other moments, but they're just still fun.
Ana was less annoying in this one, as she wasn't as over-worried about every detail, micromanaging her worries. She also was more accepting of Christians issues and not wanting to run out the door every second. Christian was my more favorite of the two, but here HE starts changing some. He lets go of some of his expectations with Ana and is fine with it, but he also seems a different kind of clingy and emotional than before.
I'm not talking about the controlling issues, but more of an insecurity and neediness that Ana started responding to. I do prefer the more controlled Christian from the first book, but he's still a yummy character to read about here. He adopts a shy small used at times and it becomes increasingly clear unconditional acceptance is important to him.
There's a lot of revelation in the sequel, finally. We find what shames him so, why he thinks anyone would leave when they found out the truth, some of his dreams and what they mean, more about "Mrs Robinson". There's also further exploration of his relationship with his immediate family and Grace. I do like how James has written his family, convincing and interesting what they bring to the mix.
To me the first was better as it was more complex. Here we're greeted with more hot steamy scenes, but too much so. Much of the book takes place in the bedroom and this can grow old. Well, bedroom play as they do it about everywhere else too! (Piano, elevator, desk, bath, shower...) You do get to see sweeter, more romantic sides of Christian, which surprisingly works. The relationship has grown beyond lust to stronger emotional bonds.
The pacing was slower and less happened than the first one. In the original you had funny moments, Ana going out with friends, finishing up finals, going to work....here she goes to work as well but that's about it other than Christian. Her best friend is on vacation until almost the end, and I missed her witty banter. It's mainly relationship angst between Ana and Christian as the plot.
I do have to say I found the subplot with the boss....unrealistic. It just seemed a little too contrived for my tastes. Even with Christians controlling, I would have adamantly refused to take over the company, she didn't earn the place and I don't care how unrealistic stuff is, she's NOT qualified yet.
The first book instigated the relationship, the second they are together and compromising, revealing, growing...the third will likely be about more miniature things ironing themselves out. These books should never be read alone but are clearly a continuing series which MUST be read in order to make the most sense and emotional impact.
These books are NOT great literature. Much of the writing is lackluster. However, the romance part is naughty fun, Christian is an appeal for women such as myself who like the domineering, serious, possessive, playful, and intense men in books, and it's a guilty pleasure series that sucks you in and doesn't let you go until the last page has turned.
“This is me, Ana. All of me...and I'm all yours. What do I have to do to make you realize that? To make you see that I want you any way I can get you. That I love you.”
“You’re the only person I’d fly three thousand miles to see.”