Jan 17 2012 11:49am

Fresh Meat: E.L. James’s Fifty Shades Freed (January 19, 2012)

Fifty Shades Freed by E. L. James

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.

E.L. James's Fifty Shades Trilogy: ‹ previous | index | next ›
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1. Synde
Agreed!! I was thoroughly disappointed with this one..
Pamela Webb-Elliott
2. Spaz
Great FM on a tricky read, Jess. I started Fifty cuz you tasked me with it, and I loved it. Loved Darker too, despite the attacks from other people who didn't seem to want to let me enjoy it. But sadly, I have to say this book was just not good. You handled it well :)
Jessica Turner
3. TheSpinecracker
Synde: Can't win 'em all.

Spaz: Working through personality issues is not romantic lol
Amanda Calton
4. mandeejt
I think this was great. This was th emost talked about FF ever. It was amazingly written. BDSM stuff is not my thing but i thought this story was just great. dont worry FIFTY will always have his edge!
Donna Watson
5. Sookie65
Has this actually been realeased for general consumption? Can't find it on Amazon in the UK :( x
Heather Waters
6. HeatherWaters
@Donna Watson -- The only ordering info I've seen at this point has been on the publisher's page. But the publication date isn't until tomorrow--maybe retailers will get copies soon? Good luck!
Donna Watson
7. Sookie65
Redline...thank you :) Finally found it last night on amazon and was able to download it to my Kindle ...yayyyyy ;) x
Kristin O
8. krismas29
It really is on Amazon even though it is not yet showing up in the search engine .. at least for me. I followed a link I found by looking at the Twitter feed posted on the author's website. Talk about convoluted.

I still can't wait to start Freed, even with the mediocre reviews. Gonna do a whole re-read of the series this weekend!
9. Sarah C.
I saw good and bad reviews for this series and decided to try it anyway. I loved the first 2 books and would probably have loved the last one if Ana wasn't written as such a pushover. Although this story includes BDSM i dont feel like that was THE story and i feel like Ana should have grown as the story went on and got some type of backbone in the last book. Not to give too much away but when Ana needed Mr.Grey for support he totally let her down yet she is always there for his "breakdowns" and she basically just pushed his reaction under the rug! She should have made him suffer a lot more. If I could change anything about the book it would be from that part going forward. I also look forward to hopefully the books from Christian's POV. Thank u E.L. James for sharing that tidbit at the end of the book.
Cheryl King
10. leeking
I loved the entire trilogy. I loved how it ended. I would honestly pay for every single book written from Christian's POV. I do not read BDSM - ever- but a group that I'm on was just going crazy over this series. I felt so guilty when I downloaded the first book, but it turned out that the BDSM angle was nothing like what I expected. I read the first book in one sitting and immediately downloaded the 2nd. Then I had to wait for the third and thought I'd go crazy! LOL To me, the 50 Shades Trilogy is one of the best love stories I've ever read. To see Ana's love help mend the broken child who never believed he was worthy of being loved ; to see the absolute, unconditional love that Christian has for Ana when she sees herself has average and nothing special. They are two very real, very imperfect people, who fall perfectly in love. I am really looking forward to more from this author!
11. Tammy45
The first two books I read in four days and will not receive the last one until 4/16/12. I'm going out of my mind. These were the best books I have read in a very long time. I can't wait to pass them around to my friends. These books had me thinking about the people even when I wasn't reading the book. I also have looked up some of the music that is discussed in the books and it was perfect. God I hope somebody makes a movie out of this trilogy.
12. Azha
If it's the dark, damaged hero aspect of the Fifty Shades series you like, try JR Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood. The series isn't all BDSM, but certain character stories explore it. Very gritty, well-built UF world. The sex is borderline erotic.
13. missaykay093
Meet fifty shades... towards the end of fifty shades freed, it was so different from Christians point of view. Here I was thinking control freak, gentlemen with issues but turned out to be a jerk..
These books are amazing :)
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