Fifty Shades Freed (Fifty Shades #3)
E. L. James
The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House, January 19, 2012, $19.99
When unworldly student Ana Steele first encountered the driven, damaged young entrepreneur Christian Grey it sparked a sensual affair that changed both their lives.... Shocked, intrigued, and ultimately repelled by Christian’s singular sexual tastes, Ana demanded a deeper commitment; determined to keep her, Christian agreed.
Now, together, they have more – love, passion, intimacy, and a world of infinite possibilities. But Ana always knew that loving her Fifty Shades would not be easy, and being together poses challenges neither of them ever anticipated. Ana must somehow learn to share Christian’s opulent lifestyle without sacrificing her own integrity, identity or independence; Christian must somehow overcome his compulsion to control, and lay to rest the horrors that blighted his past and haunt his present....
One of the most interesting things about the Fifty trilogy is that the underlying plot and the overall drama come, almost single-handedly, from the breakdown and attempted rebuilding of one its main characters, the elusive Christian Grey. Sure, there is drama and even some suspense in E. L. James’s Fifty Shades Freed (the final book of the Fifty trilogy) that come in the form of a bad guy, and even a few major life changes for Ana, but watching the nature of Christian’s character unfold before my eyes has to be the most rewarding part of the book.
Christian Grey, aka Fifty, can never be labeled as ordinary or normal, and it’s a huge part of why I became so attached to E.L. James’s series. His character has a magnetism that draws you in... whether you want it to or not. His self-professed fucked-upery has an intense quality to it that you can’t turn away from. Voyeurism, party of 1 please! Any character who unabashedly refers to their mother as “the crack whore” or thinks they have to induce pain as a coping mechanism demands my attention, and ultimately has me dying to know why he is the character that he is.
Fifty Shades Freed gave me a lot of “why.”
In this final installment, Christian slowly—sometimes painfully so—reveals the roots of his emotional disconnect. And it’s what we’ve all been waiting for. Even though I may not agree with the delivery of the story or necessarily like where all the chips fall, I can’t deny that I finished with a better understanding of this perplexing character. And I love that Christian is man enough to allow the breakdown. James has always been very good at letting Christian’s actions show readers who he really is deep down, rather than telling them everything. The fact that he opens up, permitting such a huge vulnerability, will have readers continuing to swoon over his manliness.
I was a little sad that some of the original spark that Christian’s character possessed in the first book is lost during the emotional collapse that takes place in Freed, but I appreciate the realism of that. His journey doesn’t make him less domineering, so don’t be worried that he’s gone soft, but the subtle unease he exhibits throughout the final chapter makes for a different shade of grey.
For more on the Fifty Shades trilogy and its controversy, read Fifty Shades of Grey: H&H’s Reactions and E. L. James’s Fifty Shades of Grey Headed to Hollywood? Or Will the Law Intercede?
Jessica Turner reviews Urban Fantasy, Paranormal and Sci-Fi Romances on her site The Spinecracker and is a trained chef who lives in San Diego with her very Irish husband.