Series: Fifty Shades #3
Published by Vintage Boks on January 17, 2012
Genres: BDSM, Erotica, Romance
When unworldly student Anastasia Steele first encountered the driven and dazzling young entrepreneur Christian Grey it sparked a sensual affair that changed both of their lives irrevocably. Shocked, intrigued, and, ultimately, repelled by Christian’s singular erotic tastes, Ana demands a deeper commitment. Determined to keep her, Christian agrees.
Now, Ana and Christian have it all—love, passion, intimacy, wealth, and a world of possibilities for their future. But Ana knows that loving her Fifty Shades will not be easy, and that being together will pose challenges that neither of them would anticipate. Ana must somehow learn to share Christian’s opulent lifestyle without sacrificing her own identity. And Christian must overcome his compulsion to control as he wrestles with the demons of a tormented past.
Just when it seems that their strength together will eclipse any obstacle, misfortune, malice, and fate conspire to make Ana’s deepest fears turn to reality.
My Initial Reaction…
What started off as fan fiction gone erotica has finally and fully left behind it’s inspiration with Fifty Shades Freed and progressed into a much deeper story than Twilight ever had. I’m really glad I stuck with this one to the end.
It’s almost unbelievable to me that after the first book my biggest complaint was the characters; in this book I love them and am entranced by them.
After book one I would have told you that this series was about an innocent young girl, who met an incredibly handsome billionaire that she found irresistible despite his somewhat intimidating sexual fetishes. I would have been wrong. By the start of this book you’re already feeling it, but by the end you know it: This is really Christian’s story, told from Ana’s point of view. Christian is a marvelously complex character and, as Ana would say, you can’t help loving him for all his “fifty shades.”
I don’t mean to diminish Ana’s role, though. Not only is she an incredible character, who develops marvelously, but she is absolutely essential to Christian’s development as a character. Ana has grown into a strong, self-confident woman. She may be afraid, but she faces her insecurities and, by doing so, forces Christian to face his own. She does not let Christian overwhelm or intimidate her anymore; instead she stands strong and frees him from himself.
We rejoin Ana and Christian in this novel on their European Honeymoon. Even though it’s a fabulous honeymoon, it’s also abundantly clear that they still have issues to work out. Ana quickly sets off Christian’s protective/dominant side while sunbathing on the beach – a seemingly harmless activity, except when you’re with Christian and decide to test his limits. But that’s the beauty of their relationship – Ana isn’t afraid to test those limits and it’s her willingness to do so that helps him grow.
Plus when they fight we get to see them make up and that’s one of the best parts! And the erotic scenes do not disappoint, with some exciting new advances in the bedroom (and playroom). They’ve had a whirlwind romance, so they still have a lot of growing to do as a couple, married or not. And that’s all without considering that someone is trying to kill them. While on honeymoon, Christian is notified of an attempted sabotage on their building and then threats on both their lives become the main threat and mystery of the story, with Christian’s past continuing to haunt the new couple. Oh and once again emails overwhelm the story, but in a really great way. It’s how they communicate best as a couple, their love and frustrations shine through brilliantly.
Of course, this book was not perfect. As much as the story and characters have grown up, the writing is stuck somewhere in adolescence. You have to overlook the repetitive descriptions (how many times in a day does one person smirk? let alone everyone they know?) and Ana’s sometimes fun, but typically annoying, ever-present inner goddess. I can look past it, though – the story is worth a few annoying writing quirks.
At the end of the book James gives us a little treat, by showing us the beginning of the series from Christian’s point of view. I suspect this is a nod to her inspiration, since the unpublished (but partially leaked) Midnight Sun of the Twilight series does exactly the same thing. Regardless of the inspiration, I found it thoroughly enjoyable. There’s also a short chapter at the end from child Christian’s perspective, which gives a bit more insight into his difficult past. It was a very heartwarming selection.
Overall, I really enjoyed watching Ana and Christian fight for a happy and healthy relationship. I fully expected to be exhausted by their relationship by this point, but I wasn’t, probably because it changes so much that it’s hardly the same relationship. This series really grew up with each novel and by the third I was entranced. I suspect I’ll reread it when they make the movies (assuming they really do – I think it’s been on a bit of a standstill for a while). I highly recommend it as a fun, steamy, and heartwarming read.