As I was reading Fifty Shades Freed, the last book in E. L. James’ bestselling Fifty Shades trilogy, I wondered what on earth I would want to talk about in this book review. The first two books were pretty hot, entertaining and over-dramatic (in a fun way). This book was…eh. But, I’m not going to tell anyone not to read. Especially if you’re like me, and you’ve read the other two books, your borderline OCD will compel you to read this last one and finish off the series.
(If you haven’t read the first two books, I’d suggest to stop reading this review unless you want spoilers.)
Freed starts out with Christian and Anastasia on their honeymoon and jumps between their sex-filled romp through Europe and Anastasia’s flashbacks to fill in the gaps between where Darker left off and this book begins. I guess E. L. James was trying to mix things up, but really I found this jumping back and forth to be unnecessary and just annoying.
To be honest -and I usually have good retention -I can’t even really remember anything that happened between those first fifty pages or so of the honeymoon and when the book finally starts to pick up -around page 300. Most of the middle is filled with them Mr. and Mrs.-Greying each other. Anastasia also reveals some jealousy and animosity toward the blond bombshell Gia Matteo, the architect working on their new home. One nice touch by James is the emergence of Anastasia’s “inner bitch” when she warns Gia that Christian isn’t interested in her. I suppose this is James trying to show Ana becoming a stronger woman – but is an envy-driven confrontation really a show of strong character? I’m not convinced. I was really hoping that Ana would have more sit-downs with Christian’s shrink, Dr. Flynn, but James seems to have totally abandoned this relationship in Freed.
One scene I devoured was a sexy dance between Ana and Christian when they go to a nightclub with Elliot, Kate, Mia and Ethan. It wasn’t anywhere near as explicit as their other sexual encounters, but it was a very sensual moment between husband and wife. In Freed, Ana does start to own her appeal, her sexuality, which I think makes her a more even match for Christian.
As I said, the book starts to pick up eventually with the reappearances of a few old enemies, including a brief one by the woman that seduced Christian when he was fifteen, Elena Lincoln. There are also some tense moments when Ana has to pretend she’s leaving Christian in order to save someone very close to them. (I couldn’t decide if she was being brave or stupid.) I hope I’m being sufficiently vague -if you are going to read the book, I don’t want to totally spoil it for you. There are a few surprises James has up her sleeves for her characters. Although Christian and Ana once again have many ups and downs in this book, Freed does have a happily-ever-after ending, so don’t fret.
I was also disappointed with the lack of Jose, Ana’s photographer friend who still harbors feelings for her. Although he makes a few appearances in Freed, I find it strange that James seems to abandon him and their friendship.
I have to say, my favorite part of the book was actually after the epilogue, where they included a few extras: first, a chapter from a very young Christian’s POV during his first Christmas with the Greys; second, the scenes from the first book where Christian and Ana first meet and when he “runs into her” at Clayton’s Hardware Store, written from Christian’s POV. Although the rewritten scenes are somewhat over the top, it’s entertaining to learn how Christian was assessing Ana during their first interactions. In fact, I wouldn’t mind reading Fifty Shades of Grey entirely from Christian’s POV, but I have no idea if James intends to write such a book.
In any case, I hope she doesn’t have any completely new material with Christian and Ana. I think she has explored these two far enough for my taste. What would come next, anyway…Fifty Shades and Baby?