Fifty Shades Freed (Fifty Shades, Book 3)
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Well, dear readers, we’ve finally made it to the end. Our long Fabio Files nightmare is over, and I submit for your consideration my review of Fifty Shades Freed by E. L. James. The third and final installment of the wildly popular "mommy porn" series is aptly named, since both Christian and Ana grow a good deal in this book and are more or less “freed” from their respective psychological chains.

Don’t get me wrong; Christian is still condescending, and he treats Ana like a child. What probably feels like “concerned lover” to him comes across as “my lover is obviously an idiot and cannot be trusted to be alone for even five minutes lest she lose a limb” to the rest of us. But through some very interesting scenes with Ana and Christian’s psychiatrist, the duo begins to chip away at Christian’s issues, which causes Ana to understand him a little more and trust him not to run off with her own personal bogeyman, Mrs. Robinson.

Ana finally begins to embrace her sexuality and decides that she likes to “play” in Christian’s “red room of pain,” as she calls his special room for BDSM activities. She still converses like a repressed eleven-year-old girl, but at least she’s finally accepted that she has an “inner goddess,” and that said goddess is fabulous.

The villain is still around, but I have to say that I found the, uh, climax to be completely lacking in tension and action. I expected so much more, considering that the dénouement had been building for three whole books, but the action comes and goes within three pages or so. It was like villain interruptus, or premature villain arrestification (I’m trying very hard to make a dirty joke here, but I got nothin’.)

I had said from the very beginning that Christian was my favorite character—that I found him charismatic and intriguing—and that that holds true right to the end. In fact, E. L. James is going to be publishing three sequels to the Fifty Shades trilogy, written from Christian’s point of view. At the end of the book, readers are treated to the first few chapters of the first sequel, and I was absolutely astounded by how much the beginning of the next book moved me. Maybe there’s hope for Ms. James and her writing after all.

In the end, I can honestly say that I’m glad I read the Fifty Shades of Grey series. I might not have enjoyed them very much, but I haven’t had much exposure to the BDSM sub-genre of romance novels, so it was an eye-opener. It also made me realize that if a clunker like this series can get published, there’s hope for aspiring writers like my friends and me.

Still, I would only really recommend these books to readers who enjoy being up on all the literary trends or who are looking for a string of “naughty scenes” without much to back it up or tie the story together.

One thing I’ll say about the books, though, is that they got everyone talking, and they probably coaxed many women (and men—who knows) into a pastime they had long pushed aside in favor of raising children or working. No, not that, you dirty-minded people! I meant reading...well, and that, too. The Fifty Shades books could possibly be described as “marital aids.”

Personally, I probably won’t be reading these books again, except in preparation of the upcoming movie adaptation (although I just might open a vein if they cast Kristen “I Brake for Sparkling Vampires” Stewart as Ana). While I’ve read better romance novels, I’ve certainly read worse—barely.

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