My rating: 5 of 5 stars
SOME SPOILERS – particularly if you haven’t read books 1 & 2
So I’ve finished the Fifty Shades Trilogy, I think that’s probably the fastest I’ve read any trilogy but they aren’t exactly heavy literature. As I wrote in my review of Fifty Shades of Grey, I started reading these books because I was curious to see if all the campaigning against the story was (in my mind) justified, as I really do think that a lot of the people campaigning against the books / movie haven’t actually read the books / seen the movie (and I’ve seen examples on social media of people campaigning actually admitting this). So, this is, I think, going to be a review of the whole trilogy, not just book 3, although I’ll start with it.
Fifty Shades Freed starts with Ana and Christian already married and on their honeymoon, (E.L. James has discovered the technique of using flashbacks in this one, so we do see the actual wedding and some other events through Ana’s ‘day dreams’). Christian still has some control issues but Ana is successfully fighting against them, to such an extent I actually felt quite sorry for Christian as he comes from a very abused childhood and there were a few times were I thought she could be a bit more considerate and also a little less jealous.
There’s a stalker after both Christian and Ana and despite increased security the couple are in danger several times with the book attempting to cross over to thriller territory. Things do tend to get resolved really quickly though in the Fifty Shades books.
So, all in all, are these books about an abusive relationship? No, I don’t think so. I think Ana and Christian’s relationship had the POTENTIAL to become abusive, particularly as Christian held Ana is his sway at the beginning of the trilogy, Ana knew she could walk away from the BDSM but she knew if she did she would likely loose Christian to, which she didn’t want. BUT Ana has a strong head screwed onto her shoulders and she negotiates the relationship into something different from what Christian had originally intended. There is still a BDSM element but it’s consensual and if anything, by the end of the trilogy Ana wants it more than Christian does. Christian is a deeply flawed, troubled character, with a horrible past and I really enjoyed seeming him grow throughout these books.
I’ve given Fifty Shades of Grey and Fifty Shades Freed five stars and Fifty Shades Darker four stars, not because they’re great works of literature, they’re not, but because they kept me entertained. I haven’t (as I said) read books this quickly in a long time, days spent reading are a rare treat for me and it happened with these books because I literally couldn’t put them down. I’d tell myself I’ll read to the end of the chapter and before I knew it I’d be reading the first page of the next chapter and then, well, I might as well read the next chapter and so on and so on. I’ll miss these books.