Ana and Christian are married and trying to settle into married life. Both of them are struggling with what this union means. Ana is trying to adjust to Christian’s opulent lifestyle without sacrificing her own values (I didn’t realize she had them) and beliefs. Christian is trying to overcome his overwhelming desire to control every aspect of Ana’s life, from what she puts in her mouth (food-wise and, um, otherwise) to what she puts on her body. Both are having a hard time with coming to terms with the fact that marriage didn’t solve all their problems. There’s also some sort of conflict involving Ana’s lecherous old boss having it out for her, but it’s sort of beside the point and only serves to justify Christian’s creepy obsession with keeping tabs on Ana. Oh, and Ana gets knocked up. I don’t want to talk about.
As with my review of Fifty Shades Darker, I’m not sure what else there is to say about this third book. Whereas the first book had some novelty simply because it was such a train wreck, this one continues to disappoint and bore. There’s nothing new here, and I’m not sure what there is to say about that, either.
Christian continues to be an alarmingly abusive love interest. Ana continues to be unbelievably stupid and naive, despite everything she’s experienced since meeting Christian. Both characters continue to contradict themselves, telling one thing and demonstrating its complete opposite. Christian is probably the greatest example of a raging sociopath masquerading as a hero. I guess that’s noteworthy, but is that something to be proud of when it wasn’t intentional?
One can only assume that because James originally wrote this as one long fic, there wasn’t time to really become a better writer. If anything, her writing tics and cliches get worse in this third installment, as Ana and Christian have an annoying tendency to refer to one another as Mrs. and Mr. Grey. All of it is so nauseating and creepy and unappealing. Ugh. This book.
The problem is, there’s no story here. Like the other two books, James draws out a story that could have been told in 250 pages, tops. For almost the entire book, Ana and Christian manipulate one another. It gets to the point where the reader starts to wonder if either of these characters even knows how to speak to another human being. Apart from that, nearly nothing happens. They have an enormous amount of fairly boring sex. Ana still refers to her inner goddess and her subconscious, which sets my teeth on edge.
What else is there to say? There are the usual character inconsistencies, a couple of instances where James messes up and refers to a character by their original Twilight character’s name (those were the best moments, if we’re being honest), and more than one “down there” reference, which just makes me giggle. Seriously, that’s the best you can do?
There is, of course, a certain poetry in the title. With the completion of Fifty Shades Freed, I’m finally able to let go of this abominable series. I’m embarrassed that I read all three of the books, but I’m glad that I get to forget about them now, just as the rest of the world will. Eventually.
Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James. Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House: 2012. Borrowed copy.