50 Shades Darker by EL James – Pointless and Poorly-Written Smut

It is a generally accepted fact that a sequel will not live up to the expectations set by the original – the notion tends to hold true in both films and literature and has proven itself time and time again. That being said, 50 Shades of Grey could potentially be one of the most poorly written novels in the history of the English language. Nevertheless, it appears that EL James has completely surpassed the travesty that is her first novel with its aptly named follow-up, 50 Shades Darker.

The second novel picks up exactly where the original left off. Our pathetic heroine, the formerly virginal Anastasia Steel, has decided to reconcile with her boyfriend, the enigmatic, sex-crazed, mega bazillion-trillionaire, Christian Grey. Gleeful that Ana has, predictably, come running back, Christian decides to ease up on his S&M heavy lifestyle in order to keep Ana from ever leaving him again, as a world without Ana is “like a world without light.” Please excuse me for a moment while I vomit. From here, the plot meanders around aimlessly as the lovebirds encounter a plethora of soap opera-esque obstacles. Ana and Christian are threatened by a former girlfriend-turned-stalker, but the duo handle the drama by partaking in countless nothing fights punctuated by graphic and frequent carnal episodes. Then, Ana’s lecherous boss makes a move and sparks Christian’s intense jealousy, but the duo handle the drama by partaking in countless nothing fights punctuated by graphic and frequent carnal episodes. Then, Christian attempts to face his psychological issues head-on, and the duo handle the drama by…well, I’m sure you’ve picked up on the format by now.

Repetitive, formulaic, and painful to endure, 50 Shades Darker is nothing but pointless smut. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a good dose of smut, but there is absolutely no substance behind this sex-drenched novel. At least the original 50 had novelty and shock value on its side, but Darker honestly has nothing going for it. At one point in the novel, Christian’s helicopter goes missing and he is briefly believed by all to be dead – this is the best part of the entire book (perhaps of the entire series). But alas, in spite of this brief glimmer of hope, Christian resurfaces and the 20-30 page interludes of erotic enterprising resume immediately.

Again, I am not a prude – but seriously, there is no way that the human body can possibly handle sex benders of this duration and frequency. Christian is a heart attack waiting to happen. Moreover, Ana’s thoughts during these never-ending encounters are enough to inspire one to shove a pencil through his or her eyeball just to put an end to the suffering generated by James’ prose. For instance, “Desire explodes like the Fourth of July in my body” – gee, how poetic; it almost sounds Shakespearean in its beauty.

The best way to describe 50 Shades Darker is to imagine that, for some unknown reason, Nicholas Sparks decided to write a screenplay for a pornographic film. There are long passages expressing feelings of love and passion, climactic moments of danger and tragedy, and awkward plot points that serve no purpose other than creating an opportunity for extensive fuckery. 50 Shades Darker is almost amusing in its awfulness, but if you’re looking for something with substance, you actually might be better off going with a porno.

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