Fifty Shades Freed by EL James

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Fifty Shades Freed by EL James
Buy Fifty Shades Freed from Amazon.co.uk

Buy Fifty Shades Freed from Amazon.com

Genre: General Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Zoe Page
Reviewed by Zoe Page
Summary: About to start their married life together, Ana and Christian face many challenges that even his playroom cannot resolve in this only-ok conclusion to an otherwise stand-out series.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 592 Date: April 2012
Publisher: Arrow
ISBN: 978-0099579946

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When the first book in a trilogy is outstandingly awesome, and the second is pretty darn excellent, to read the final instalment is a no-brainer really. And, I suspect that is why this book is selling so well, because while it’s a mildly interesting reading, in my mind it didn’t come close to the first two offerings in terms of intriguing characters, a suspense filled plot or general kinky-fuckery.

Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey are now married. The man who fretted she would leave him, combusted internally at the sight of other men in her midst and generally liked to treat her as a possession, constantly calling her ‘my Ana’, can rest easy for she is now well and truly his. She is not the naïve girl she once was, and nor is she his submissive: she is his wife, his partner, his more or less equal. In her new role as Mrs Christian Grey Ana has a lot to contend with both at home and at work, and she’s barely back from the honeymoon before there's trouble brewing. Trouble that even a round in the playroom won't sort out.

Having thrashed my way through the previous books I thought I knew what I was getting myself in for with this one, and so was quite surprised with what appeared. The style in this is quite different especially at the start. I found the jumping around quite irritating and amateurish in places, and it took me much longer to get into this book than the earlier titles. It would have been simpler just to tell the story as it happened, skipping out weeks in between if needed, rather than to do what it did and go back and forth all over the place with dubious links in between about lying on sun loungers and letting one's mind drift back to...

The sex scenes also seemed much wordier than before, and more heavy than they were hot, though it may just have been that after the first 1000 pages in the ongoing saga, I already knew what to expect so didn’t need the warm up. It’s something I said in my review of Fifty Shades Darker but it stands here too: these books are reading like an extension of the original story, not stories in their own right. Unfortunately, there’s a reason books these days don’t tend to go on for 1500+ pages and that’s because the reader loses interest no matter how hard you try. And splitting an adventure down into 3 tomes doesn't really cut it.

While some of the trademark Grey standard remained in this one – Ana comes back from the honeymoon with the throbbing wrists of someone who has been bound up and left like that – there wasn’t as much as previously and the space left by this was filled up with a story that was like the Curate’s egg…good in parts. I don’t know how I expected marriage to change the couple but I expected it would have some impact, good or bad, on the way they worked in the bedroom and in the boardroom. And yet, it seemed as if nothing had changed.

I enjoyed the family dynamics, the revelations about Christian’s past and their trips out of town but I thought more time and effort could have been devoted to the developing threat against the couple. Some of the twists were a bit dubious. The link between the assailant and the Greys seemed contrived and needn’t have been (surely wanting to bring down the richest man on the west coast simply because he was the richest man on the west coast would have been enough?) And, I thought it was rather disappointing to know exactly whodunit thanks to some throwaway remarks at the end of book 2. It almost felt like the characters were playing catch up while the reader was sitting there willing them to put 2 and 2 together to get 4, because it was no harder than that.

I didn’t dislike the book - I would even say I found it enjoyable - but compared to the first two I found myself a little disappointed too, almost as if the premise had gone on a bit long. People will read it because they know the characters and want another instalment and that is fine, but it’s recommended only for this group, and not for anyone who thinks the best way to start a trilogy is with the final part because without the set up from books 1 and 2 you’ll be a little lost at what’s going on, and more importantly you might not really care.

The series will stay with me forever, but this final book on its own is far from memorable. The massive redeeming factor was the final few pages where we switched from Ana’s head to Christian’s, which I adored, and in spite of what I’ve said, if another book comes out told from Christian’s point of view, I would simply have to have it.

Thanks go to the publishers for supplying this book.

These books have been getting massive hype recently, but they're not the only new ones on the market. If you need more inspiration, our Newest General Fiction Reviews page is a good place to start.

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