By: Cynthia Solis
E.L. James has released the sixth and final installment of the series Fifty Shades and “Freed” is definitely worth the read for all the readers that have waited four years for some closure.
Anastasia Steele narrated the first three books. She is one of the main protagonists— a 21-year-old university student who met Christen Grey, a 27-year-old billionaire while covering a story for her school’s newspaper as a favor for her friend.
They engage in a sexual relationship that consists of bondage, dominance, and sadomasochism (BDSM). Their relationship becomes more than that, with them falling in love. In the third book their relationship ended in marriage and a baby. James chose to end her story there, refocusing the franchise by telling the same story only in Christian’s perspective this time.
This is the last installment for the series unless she decides to tell it from another perspective.
“Freed” is a lengthy novel totaling 768 pages. It is 176 pages longer than its predecessor, Fifty Shades Freed.
Most of the book, up until the last 200 pages or so, lacks any narrative tension or elements of surprise to some reader’s disappointment. Part of the reason is that James is treading territory that is part of previous books, and the kinky sex scenes aren’t any more intense than past sequences. The other is that the novel’s pace is very leisurely and has prolonged plot development.
Although the series is famous for the BDSM sex scenes, this novel taps into hidden messages of feminism. It is shown through how Christian loves Ana— any sane person would want their partner to worship their body the way he does. Since it is through his point of view, the reader can get a front-row seat into his toxic way of thinking since he is so afraid to lose the woman he loves.
The trauma he endured in his youth left him with a fragile psyche and a fear of not being in control. Whenever Ana does anything that makes Christian upset he channels his violent urges into punishment sex. Ana has since enjoyed these types of “punishment,” but one challenging part during the novel is when Christian makes Ana use her safe word.
To all the readers who are not interested in BDSM, the “dominant’s” goal is never to have their submissive use their safe word. When Ana says her safe word, Christian is quick to untie her. Seeing a submissive puts all of their trust in their dominant, their safe word means they have reached their limit. As a dominant, you should have an idea where your submissive’s limits lie, so many people in the BDSM community aren’t keen on pushing for a safeword. In this particular novel, Christian is very against making Ana use her safeword because in the first novel, Ana broke up with him because he made her reach her limit and she got scared.
All of that to say, this novel, although fiction, depicts very real BDSM relationships.
The only time there is any conflict in the novel is whenever Ana decides to resist Christian’s attempt to control her. Christian tells Ana she must obey him in her wedding vows, when she decides she doesn’t want to change her name and when she chooses to keep her job.
Freed is a great novel because it shows how women may enjoy submission in the bedroom but don’t want to be controlled or oppressed outside of it. The book shows this when Christian demands Ana end her pregnancy. She refuses and says he can leave if he doesn’t like her choice. By the end of the book, they have a beautiful baby sleeping with them.