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freed Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James | Rating: ★★☆☆☆(2.3)

"And now my past and my future are colliding in a way I never thought possible."

Fifty Shades Freed shows us the third and final installment to the much hyped about Fifty Shades of Grey series; bringing us to a close in the dramatic, dark and unrealistic relationship of Anastasia and Christian Grey. Fans of this series have longed for more smut, more romance and perhaps a variation of happily ever after for the two and will certainly get one but not without a lot of bumps along the way.

We were left in a a calm ending to the second book after the dramatic events of the previous installment, which was by far the series’ strongest addition. Where Fifty Shades of Grey lacked much in terms of entertainment and plot, Fifty Shades Darker made up for it. Freed shows us a middle ground between the first two books in term of intrigue and is neither boring nor thrilling for me.

We see a lot of plots tied up nicely and perhaps unrealistically as this whirlwind romance reaches its climax. Anastasia Steele has decided to marry her beloved Christian Grey, this much we already know, and the opening of Freed shows us a glimpse of the two on their honeymoon as well as sparks of their wedding. It felt very rushed and the time jumping in the narration at certain points of the start and finish felt awkward and difficult to stay focused on.

However, it still is an improvement on the first installment.

As usual, we are faced with the soap opera dramatics in their relationships with each other, family, friends and enemies. We are left wondering if Mia and Ethan are together or not, or if they ever will be. And Kate and Elliot are officially on their own path to having a happily ever after upon Elliot’s proposal. We do see bits of other characters from the past as well, including a bit of a wrap up of Leila’s story and we learn more of Christian’s past and what his connection to Jack was.

My favorite and least favorite plot was Anastasia’s stepfather being in an accident. It brought Ray into the mix once more, showing us the relationship she holds with the man who raised her and also showed us more Jose. The strength that Ana shows in undeniable and realistic and it’s just a delight to see how much love this woman has for her family.

Truly, it was heartbreaking to see Ana struggle with the possibility of her father dying and fortunately for her – and us — he didn’t. It still served as a heart wrenching plot that was certainly one of the stronger points in Freed. My only complaint of it was that it felt like the end, his recovery, was rushed and glossed over for other plots.

We lay in wait for Jack Hyde to rear his ugly head and when he does, boy, does it make your blood boil. E.L. James is noted for her male characters for being incredibly dark and Jack Hyde is the worst of them all.

Although I can’t find myself all that invested in the relationships in this book or James’ writing, I do find myself to be rather protective of our leading lady and the other women in this book series. Jack Hyde gave me the creeps the moment he started to show his colours to Anastasia and it only goes down from here on out.

What he does to Anastasia, to Mia and to the general population of women is disgusting. He almost gets away with everything and for a moment I was truly concerned that he would. It’s absolutely obvious he is full of such hatred, such dark thoughts, and though there are many things that parallel him to Christian Grey, it’s obvious he is the scum of the earth and far beyond the point of redemption.

I was, personally, waiting for someone to just kill him to be completely honest.

And as usual, Christian Grey is overbearing and immature and just… ugh. No. His reaction to Ana’s pregnancy, the way he treats her much of the time, just reminds me why I do not like him or their relationship and why I always feel she can do better. He is improving, sure, and it makes sense to know why he is the way he is but it still doesn’t excuse it.

Even the gentle way he takes care of Ana while Ray is in the hospital, and then while Ana herself is recovering from the injuries she received at the hand of Jack Hyde isn’t enough to fully redeem him for me.

I also despised the way everyone was insulting Ana and acting like she was brave but a complete moron in rescuing Mia. People sure love to insult Anastasia’s intelligence, don’t they? Honestly, fuck off with this bullshit. I’m getting annoyed just thinking about it.

They all were happy she was alive, true, but they handled it all rather grossly and I can’t help but to think that they don’t appreciate her enough. It’s very frustrating and quite the letdown. It’s like they were saying “Hey, thanks for being a complete moron” instead of “Hey, thanks for saving Mia’s life and having the bravery to fix things. I’m sorry you had to go through this whole ordeal but I’m so thankful you did and that you’re still here” but hey, that’s just my thought.

As all of this wraps up, we are shown different parts of Ana and Christian’s life together after the birth of their son and some time that follows this as they are expecting their daughter. Their new life has progressed and matured in ways that are unrealistic and boring. It just felt awkward and rushed and well… just not a decent ending.

Lazy, even. I’m serious. Happily Ever After has never been so lazy and dull. There's always been something strange about the author's idea of love and passion (that goes beyond her misunderstanding when it comes to what is dominant and what is well...) and it feels at times a clueless child wrote it. E.L. James' writing is at her weakest in this installment and the only thing that keeps readers interested is the up and downs of all the events which happen.

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