Helen's Reviews > Fifty Shades Freed

Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James
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's review
May 09, 2012

did not like it
bookshelves: waste-of-trees, i-m-against-burning-books-but, bastardised-latin, ugandan-discussions
Read from May 18 to June 11, 2012

I thought the second book would be the worst-written one, being the padding between the start in the first book and wrapping up the loose threads in the third. Oh how wrong I was.

I completely forgot this was a popular fanfic. Well, I didn't forget the fact but I forgot the implications.

Yes, I already know I've discussed fanfiction in previous reviews, but I have to do it again, simply because it explains the cause of problems with narrative of the whole trilogy and this book in particular.

Imagine if all episodes in one season of any soap opera you watched got put together and split into three movies, without any editing. That's, basically, what happened here.

Oh, but you can pause the movie if you're watching it at home, and it's not different from watching DVD of the TV show, you might say. But could you really sit and watch it in one sitting? Okay, maybe you are in the mood for a marathon. But even then, does it feel like one long movie, or many episodes at once?

Now, there are novels that have been published in parts. But more often than not, those novels were planned, if not mostly written before they got published in sequels. I read a couple of those, most notably A Woman in White and Eugene Onegin, and they all have a clean plot construction and, most importantly, clear conclusion.

I, however, doubt that Snowqueensicedragon planned Master of the Universe that well. It's not uncommon that a writer of a popular fanfic will either stretch the story or continue even after the conclusion was reached, because reviewers demand more. Why people like it like that? Probably for similar reason they watch soap operas.

But do you really want to see your favourite soap opera turned into a feature-length movie? Would it really be as exciting as when you have to wait for the next episode to see what happens? When you don't feel the investment that comes with following something for a long time?

I'd like to harp more about the lack of narrative form, but sadly, the rules have become very loose and nowadays the only criteria for a novel are that it is fiction, has a certain word count and can not be considered a collection of shorter pieces of prose.

I made a lot of soap opera comparisons, because this is what this whole book reminded me of: they are finally together and marry, but let's throw in a few more villains just because/to messily wrap up loose ends/to milk everything we can out of it. This book starts with them already married. Engagement and wedding are mentioned in flashbacks. Potential for character development is squandered when Ana's confession to Kate about Christian's habits and Ana's conversation with Christian's mum about "Mrs. Robinson" are just mentioned in passing. So yeah, their romance is concluded. All that is left is random drama, villain appearing, villain getting loose, more random drama and the baby. And, of course, continuity is screwed when the main villain just has to have personal vendetta for Christian too. And a very stupid and contrived one, at that.

No, it doesn't count as "covering the history of the family". Why? Because the whole trilogy happens in four months. E-mail dates confirm this. Only four months in three long books. And just about any cheap plot device tossed in that timeframe too. (view spoiler)

And as for pregnant Ana...oh, where to start? First, she calls her baby "Blip". Always. Second, she then (view spoiler) She also wants to drink alcohol and indulge in BDSM soon after being hospitalised and still in the first stage of pregnancy.

And then came the Epilogue. I'll just give a few chosen passages:

(view spoiler)

Another thing that puzzles me about the whole series is genre. It's often thought of as "erotica lite", but I'm not sure if I can classify the book that uses "there" and "him" for genitalia as such. It sounds more like nasty fantasy of a teenager that is still half-fascinated half-squicked by sex. I'd prefer even flowery euphemisms to this.

Ironically enough, erotica seems to have better grasp on the concept of series than more acclaimed genres do. (YA and fantasy, I'm looking at you.) In most of erotica series I've read, each book focuses on a different couple, with couples from previous books in the background, though their stories are still going on. I actually prefer this to reading one romance stretched over three or more books. This does not count family chronicles - though I'm not fond of them either. But one event in life, from meeting to wedding, is enough for one book and no more, I think. I really don't care how many children they'll have. Their story is over. If you want to continue, why not write about Kate and Elliot or Ethan and Mia, mentioning Ana's and Christian's children there? Out of all things James borrowed from Meyer, this one-couple-centric-and-other-are-just-props approach might be the worst.

Well, on the plus side, at least it looks like KStew won't be starring in Fifty Shades. Hope she and the others spread the word.
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Reading Progress

05/18/2012 "Not really started, but here preparing:
With an "amazing" dramatic reading.
(Warning: auto-play, NSFW)"
05/21/2012 "Still in preparations...someone plagiarised the plagiarist. Check out reviews for more hilarity, including SQUID's reaction!"
0.0% "First, we start with a (very bad and unrealistic) first person/inner monologue dream...and switch to reality in third person omnipotent. In prologue. Then we switch to standard first person Anna's POV narrative for the rest of the story.

I think a lot of authors nowadays don't quite have a grasp of what the prologue is and what is its purpose."
1.0% ""my hot, beautiful husband,
shirtless, and in cut-off jeans

Now she is dressing up not-Edward as werewolves from parody of "Twilight". No, seriously.

That's just..."epic fail" does not cover it any more. Neither does "fail whale". This is a whole new level of fail."
2.0% ""Oh Christian . . . my
possessive, jealous, control freak Christian."

And that description is supposed to be attractive? Desirable? Sexy? Am I the only one that thinks "restraining order" and "need to take self-defense classes"?"
2.0% "Interlude (Slightly NSFW)"
3.0% ""His shorts fall a little and hang . . . in that way so his
swim trunks are visible beneath."
"That way" again. Will we ever find out what way it is?"
4.0% "Okay, her mother and stepfather that raised her are here...but where is current stepfather? Surely he wouldn't stand by while his wife has fun with an ex-husband she hasn't quite gotten over yet?"
5.0% "“You. Make. Me. So. Happy. I. Love. You.”

Why? Why does she think this sounds sexy or romantic? Ir sounds like he is completely out of breath. So much for stamina."
6.0% "For some reason, writer has decided to have flashbacks of engagement and wedding during the honeymoon rather than write the whole thing. Still not sure if it's better or not, but I'm sure she should have put engagement flashback before wedding one."
9.0% "So, Christian takes Ana out to "buy art" for the house.
I think the whole thing is best summarised in Anna's reaction to the price:

"Five thousand euros . . . jeez."

Now excuse me while I go indulge in a bit of snobbish scoffing."
10.0% "I wonder if we will ever find out what argon is supposed to be used for...so I can slam it."
14.0% ""From: Katherine L. Kavanagh
Date: August 17, 2011 11:45 PST
To: Anastasia Grey
Subject: OMG!!!!
Ana, just heard about the fire at Christian’s office. Do you
think it’s arson?
K xox
Rose is online!"

Oh how I love when this happens. Probaly varies from edition to edition but still. *cackles with glee*"
15.0% "And then she just hand-waves the part where she spilled the beans to Rose Kate about Christian being a dom without even a flashback."
19.0% "From a person who has only driven an old Beetle before, then was driven around for a long time, now she can do an action-movie-car-chase and park perfectly for the first time in her life at teh end of it. Kill me now."
20.0% ""The woman is still singing. Christian always puts songs on
repeat in here. Strange."

Why would it be strange? He obviously doesn't want to go and change songs in the middle of sex, so he programs them as he wants."
24.0% ""He
groans and pushes me back onto the couch. He sits up and
rips off my sweatpants, undoing his fly at the same time.
“Home run,” he whispers, and in one swift move he’s inside
“Ah . . .” I groan and he stills, grabbing my face between his

Still sexier than Fifty Shades.>"
27.0% "She is capable of running a company because she has read manuscripts and made reports and likes reading books? DAFUQ?

34.0% "This codependence is really disturbing. Even without his control issues, it's a very unhealthy relationship."
40.0% "So, she managed to avoid capture by disobeying his orders and staying out. If she hadn't, things would have been bad. And he's MAD at her?

What the F*CK is wrong with people to think that this kind of behaviour is sexy?"
42.0% ""Holy crap he looks hot—his jeans hanging, that way, from
his hips."

45.0% "Another replace failure:

"An image of Jack Smith"

("Jack Hyde" replaced "James Smith" from MotU.)"
46.0% "And now she handwaves the conversation she had with his mother over "Mrs Robinson". AAARRRGGGHHH!!! But who cares when they can have random sex in-between, right? And don't give me "erotica" excuse - standard erotica does wrap up all plot points too."
55.0% "“You are one kinky son of a bitch. Out. I don’t want you to
watch me pee. That’s a step too far.”

So, Mr. Grey, weren't watersports your hard limit?"
57.0% "Oh, great. First there's "down there", now it's just "him". Which gets very confusing in a sentence like this:

"He leans back, lifting my thighs, tipping
me down onto the bed as I pull and squeeze him tightly,
running my hand up and down him."

Seriously, why does this even count as erotica again?"
58.0% "I just noticed. They keep mailing each other after being apart for less than an hour? Codependent much? Dr. Flynn should have his licence revoked. He fails at psychotherapy."
59.0% ""Subject: My life’s mission . . .
Date: September 5, 2011 09:25
To: Anastasia Grey
Is to spoil you, Mrs. Grey.
And keep you safe because I love you.
Christian Grey
Smitten CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
Oh my. Could he be any more romantic?"

Yes. If he respected you."
64.0% "*sigh* I thought book two would be the worst, being the filler between the beginning and the end. I forgot this used to be a fanfic. I can safely say book three is gone beyond mere filler into soap opera category."
67.0% "And of course Ana didn't think of calling her mother to tell her her ex-husband is in hospital."
68.0% ""He nods. “Some drunken trailer trash from Southeast
Portland.” He sneers, and I’m shocked by his terminology
and his derisory tone."

Yeah, I'm shocked too. Self-confessed "son of a crack whore" really shouldn't be the one pointing fingers to one's status in life. I get that he's angry at him, but that's over the top."
69.0% "And of course, even though her father is in hospital, she jumps with joy when presented with a new car and pouts about her mother forgetting her birthday."
88.0% "Am I the only one distrubed by the fact she keeps calling her baby "the Blip" and "it"?"
89.0% "Okay. Did it really need to take two months to adopt him after finding him? Stupid plot contrivance?"
90.0% "And she friggin' wants to drink while pregnant! And her mother in law, the friggin' MD says "just a sip is okay"! NO, IT'S NOT FRIGGING OKAY. *rage*"
94.0% "This is the reaction I'm having to the newest "plot twist"."
95.0% "She finally wants to "experiment with her limits"...in the first frigging' month of pregnancy. Not saying that pregsex is bad, but playing with limits of pain? See previous status update for my reaction."
96.0% "“How’s my daughter?”
“She’s dancing.” I laugh.
“Dancing? Oh yes! Wow. I can feel her.” He grins as Blip
Two somersaults inside me.
“I think she likes sex already.”

There. Are. No. Words." 1 comment

Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by rameau (new) - added it

rameau Should I get popcorn?

Helen Well, this should be more entertaining than the filler that second book is, so...yes.

message 3: by rameau (new) - added it

rameau *makes herself comfortable and puts in earplugs*

I'm comfortable just reading the subtitles.

Sandra oooooh, I'll join rameau on the couch for this...

Sandra Excellent review is excellent!

Helen Sandra wrote: "Excellent review is excellent!"

Thank you! :)

message 7: by rameau (new) - added it

rameau I'm so tired with this not-a-book-series that I can't even muster the appropriate enthusiasm for your excellent review.

message 8: by Helen (last edited Jun 11, 2012 10:00AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Helen rameau wrote: "I'm so tired with this not-a-book-series that I can't even muster the appropriate enthusiasm for your excellent review."

Thank you! And I can't blame you for being tired. Now that I'm done with this, I don't even want to hear about E.L. James anymore.

Though maybe I'll go and check out RiffTrax of the movie if it ever gets released.

ETA: Still not as bad as Mortal Instruments, though.

message 9: by rameau (new) - added it

rameau Helen wrote: "ETA: Still not as bad as Mortal Instruments, though. "


message 10: by Elisa (new)

Elisa M. The popsicle thing has burnt a dark hole in my soul.

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