Book Review – Fifty Shades Freed by E. L. James

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Book Review – Fifty Shades Freed by E. L. James

Reviewed 5/5/2015: By: Grant Leishman

Well, I’ve managed to avoid reading Fifty Shades of Grey and I’ve even managed to avoid reading Fifty Shades Darker, but I was finally caught out by Fifty Shades Freed.

A few days on holiday in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro, where the only English book in the house was E L Jame’s Fifty Shades Freed ensured that I was always going to read it, come hell or high-water. When on holiday one has to read – I’m sure that’s one of the Ten Commandments.

Like everyone else I suppose, I’ve heard a lot of disparaging comments about the Fifty Shades Trilogy – usually I suspect from people who are infected with a not so mild degree of professional jealousy. Although I am certainly not a devotee of Sado/Masochism or indeed Bondage and Discipline, I was determined to approach this book with an open mind and disregard the negative vibes I’d heard about the series.

Fifty Shades Freed is subtitled: Book Three of the Fifty Shades Trilogy, is published by Vintage Publishing, and is no lightweight, coming in at just under 600 pages.

The first question you might ask is; did I need to have read the first two books prior to reading the last in the series? The answer to that is no. It might be preferable, certainly if you plan on reading all three, to read them in order, however E L James is very good at small flashbacks to allow the reader to gain context into what they are currently reading.

One of the most common complaints I’ve heard about Fifty Shades of Grey was that it was poorly written. I haven’t read it, so I can’t comment. What I can say is that Fifty Shades Freed is anything but poorly written. I found the style and readability to be very good. It was easy to read and engaging.

I guess the main reason people buy erotic novels is for the sex scenes – right? Obviously the sex scenes are an integral part of this and the previous two books. As I said, I’m not actually into bondage myself, but there was certainly nothing in Fifty Shades Freed that horrified me or shocked me. There were a couple of points where I asked myself why? Why would you want to do that? But in reality the sex scenes were enjoyable, fun and yes even a little bit titillating. The only issue I would have, and it’s probably the one reason why I wouldn’t try to write an erotic novel myself is the difficulty the writer has in creating erotic scenes that just aren’t all exactly the same – I mean, there are only so many ways you can describe an orgasm? Or are there? I think E L James actually has a pretty good handle on it all and I congratulate her on her book. She handled it well.

Fifty Shade Freed; despite some dark control issues was actually a very positive and enlightening book. We see Christian Grey emerge from the hooded, dark, sombre, control freak, character into a more likable, a more trusting and a more loving person under Anastasia’s careful tutelage. There were the odd times where I felt like shouting at her to stop being such a doormat, but that’s just the sign of a good writer engaging her readers well.

Personally I found Fifty Shades Freed to be an excellent, enjoyable and quite uplifting read. I don’t know what all the fuss is about – this is a good book and as a first time novelist myself I can but hope for even a fraction of the success that E L James has enjoyed with her first series.

I have no doubt that with over 100 million book sales and a major motion picture in the bag, E L James is not terribly concerned with what some of her critics are saying. At the end of the day she has found a market that resonates with her and it is quite clear her books resonate with her readers.

A good read and well worth the five stars I’m giving it. Will I now read the first two books in the series? Definitely not, the genre is “not my cup of tea”, but I will watch with interest to see what follows from the pen of E L James. She is an excellent author.

Grant Leishman
I am an expatriate New Zealander living in Manila, The Philippines, with my wife and two step-daughters. At age 55, after careers in Finance and Journalism, I have finally discovered my true passion in life - writing and I am now truly "living the dream", writing full-time.

My first novel is a romantic fantasy about the return of Jesus Christ to modern day Manila to try and sort out the problems of the world - yet again! It was published in June 2015. My second novel "Just a Drop in the Ocean" is completed and should be published later in 2015. The sequel to "The Second Coming" - "The Rise of the AntiChrist" is now with the publishers. I am working on third and final book in the series "Holy War"
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