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1,381 of 1,509 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sheer brilliance ... or maybe it's just so bad that it's good
There are life's guilty pleasures, and then there is the guiltiest spectacle of them all: the Fifty Shades of Grey spectacle. It's time to review this precious pearl of literary genius, so I'm going to dive on in. Hold me.

When we last left our romantic icons, Ana Steele and Christian Grey, they were newly engaged and facing (a) Ana's ex-boss, Jack Hyde, whom...
Published on May 22, 2012 by vox libris

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143 of 152 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars "Red," I whimper. "Red, red."
I had to "safe-word" book three, it was that bad. Horribly written. No plot. Vague, stupid, mind-numbing story-telling about minutiae. The least threatening, most absent, completely impotent villain ever created just to give the author an excuse to add a useless book to this series. Repetitive sex scenes that just tire you (you know it's bad when you're skipping the...
Published on July 8, 2012 by Her Voice Was Thunder


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1,381 of 1,509 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sheer brilliance ... or maybe it's just so bad that it's good, May 22, 2012
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There are life's guilty pleasures, and then there is the guiltiest spectacle of them all: the Fifty Shades of Grey spectacle. It's time to review this precious pearl of literary genius, so I'm going to dive on in. Hold me.

When we last left our romantic icons, Ana Steele and Christian Grey, they were newly engaged and facing (a) Ana's ex-boss, Jack Hyde, whom Christian fired in a fit of jealous pique when Jack made a pass at Ana and (b) Christian's "Mrs. Robinson," the woman who initiated him into his life of BDSM. Can these two crazy love birds find happiness and contentment? Thank goodness E. L. James doesn't keep us hanging and gives us the GIFT that is Fifty Shades Freed.

The tale opens just after Christian and Ana's wedding, as the two bask on their European honeymoon. They bicker, rock the headboard, bicker some more, and have make-up rocking of the headboard. While enjoying their romantic interlude, Christian learns that someone apparently tried to sabotage part of his building. Enter the "plot" portion of the festivities. The threat to Grey Enterprises increases, and we are meant to be on the edge of our seats in anticipation of how this AWFUL THING will transpire. There also continues to be friction in the Grey marriage. These two argue about the same damn thing all the time, followed by furious headboard rockin'.

So there's your story.

While this one shares certain similarities with Fifty Shades of Grey and Fifty Shades Darker, in Fifty Shades Freed, James actually attempts - gulp - style. There are flashbacks, seemingly set at even intervals, but then mysteriously dropped. Until, that is, the epilogue, where they show up again. Clearly E. L. James realized that we don't read these books for STYLE. I mean, really.

Let's get to the good stuff, shall we? Because, let's face it: we also do not read these books for their plot. Please. There are more important things to anticipate.

THE BUTT PLUG SHOWS UP!!!!!

I know some of you have waited in breathless anticipation, and you will not be denied! We also meet the flogger AND the cross is used AND the grid. Insert jumpy claps here. Christian and Ana continue to Know Each Other in the Biblical Sense in different locales, including - but not limited to - an airplane, a yacht, a couch, a shower, a bathtub, a picnic blanket and - thank GOD - the red satin bed in the Red Room of Pain.

But you know what is not used in any romantic situation whatsoever? The grey tie! I am bereft with grief. I got attached to that tie, and while it makes a brief appearance, it does not do so wrapped around anyone's appendages. It's a tease, and I am not amused.

Also missing: any sign of a competent, coherent editor. What IS present is the same repetitious writing. It takes less than three pages for the first smirk to appear. And this time? Christian and Ana aren't the only two who smirk. Other characters get in on the action. I suspect that E. L. James is f-ing with me. We also get bitten lips, rolled eyes, lips pressed into a hard line, frowns and sighs.

But a new play has entered the repertoire: Christian rubs his nose down the length of Ana's nose.

Naturally, this being E. L. James, he does that A LOT. Almost as often as one of them says, "Hmmm." Clearly the message is that in the absence of the ability to write dialogue, insert a breathy moan.

And now, an excerpt. Feel free to use this as an interpretive dialogue:

Hmm ... my Fifty wants to tumble.

"Don't bite your lip," he warns.

Compliantly, I release my lip. "I think you have me at a disadvantage, Mr. Grey." [They call each other Mr. and Mrs. Grey ALL THE TIME, as if they forgot their first names.] I bat my lashes and squirm provocatively beneath him. This could be fun.
"Disadvantage?"

"Surely you've already got me where you want me?" He smirks [!!!!! - of course he does] and presses his groin into mine once more.

Ah, language. Its mellifluous use is a lost art, isn't it? Thank goodness E. L. James is here to reinvigorate writing.

As I typed that, I mistakenly wrote "goddess," rather than "goodness." That brings me to another repetition: Ana's subconscious, complete with the half moon glasses and disdain, shows up again. The inner goddess is not as present, but that subconscious school marm sure is. Oh, lucky us.

So is Fifty Shades Darker worth the read? OF COURSE IT IS. You can't stop at their engagement! You need to read about the wedding and the honeymoon and the corporate intrigue and the early months of their marriage and the in-laws and the Evil Ex-Employee and the Evil Ex-Dominatrix. You can't stop at the second one! You must read this!

Oh, it's awful. Don't get me wrong about that. It is just as badly written and edited as its predecessors. But, as I have said before, it is literary crack. So bad for you, but so addicting.

A plus: at the end, we get a brief glimpse of Christian's point of view. And then - AND THEN - E. L. James says, "That's all ... for now."

OH MY GOD - THERE WILL BE MORE! Please let it be. For the love of Mark Twain, PLEASE LET THERE BE MORE.

This review originally appeared on cupcake's book cupboard.
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143 of 152 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars "Red," I whimper. "Red, red.", July 8, 2012
I had to "safe-word" book three, it was that bad. Horribly written. No plot. Vague, stupid, mind-numbing story-telling about minutiae. The least threatening, most absent, completely impotent villain ever created just to give the author an excuse to add a useless book to this series. Repetitive sex scenes that just tire you (you know it's bad when you're skipping the sex scenes to hunt down a non-existent story in a book you undoubtedly selected for its escapism). Book two was weak. Book three is just one eye-rolly moment after the next. You'll find yourself taking frequent breaks from it's stupidity and tediousness. Or maybe that was just me. I've actually not even finished book three, and at this point, I'm doubting I ever will. I read book one in less than 24 hours. This...is just garbage.

Let me save you some money and time. My recap of Freed: He's a child. Period. I don't care if he's hot. And my goodness, we get it. He's hot. His looks are mentioned three, four times on every page. Hey, author, we're reading here! Let's move this story along.

She's a doormat, who fancies herself insightful, and she's somewhat of a moron. Her inner dialogue is at all times some variation of "oh my" or "oh crap" or "oh f---" or "oh sh--" though she's supposed to be a literary intellectual--an actual editor! I'd bet good money at this point that EL James has never--NEVER--actually met an editor.

They argue. She gives in, every time. Not 'cause he's right. Nope. Just 'cause he's pretty. And you never get the chance to forget that. They screw, multiple times a day, and it's old and predictable and exhausting. Crap happens--uncompelling crap without any sense of reality-- just to give them a reason to argue and then screw. When they're not arguing and screwing, they're just screwing. And MY GOD it's boring. Who'd a thunk it? They live happily ever after. There. I saved you from the tragic waste of time book three is. Be grateful. Book one, for all its faults, was at least interesting. This...just sucks.

Laters, baby.
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482 of 533 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Fifty Shades Fre- ajnfkf Oh God why am I still reading this??!!!, July 10, 2012
What a treat this book was. We get to experience their dreamy wedding, including a totally inappropriate scene in front of the minister and all their wedding guests, in a series of flashbacks. They are on a dream honeymoon and already Anastasia is afraid of her husband's temper. It's never a good sign in a relationship if you are afraid of your partner or have to walk on eggshells around them. But it's alright. He has lots of money and is super beautiful and perfect, as we are reminded yet again on every single page, so as always with her, it's fine! He's just damaged! Her damaged dark little fifty. Ugh. Where's a shotgun when you need one?

The descriptions of her subconscious and inner goddess and what they are doing get oddly more specific with each book, to the point where it's just bizarre and annoying. Her subconscious at one point looked up from reading `The Complete works of Charles Dickens', to give Anastasia an admonishing look no doubt. It's not cute anymore. I usually have to put the book down after reading one of these gems and take a deep breath before I throw it. Oh, and her Inner Goddess reads Jackie Collins, in case you were wondering

In all three books now we are treated with the `No you hang up!' barf fest.

Jealousy, jealousy, jealousy. It's like all these two know is sex and jealousy. Every woman is jonesing after Christian all the time. And it's ok for him to get so irrationally possessive he buys her company, but if she shows a hint of jealousy with him, it's all *Tsk-tsk*

It is never romantic when your husband says he really wants to beat you. He says that lovely line after someone broke into her home. Victim blaming, anyone? I don't care if he is mad, which is totally misplaced most of the time. All of the time actually. He gets angry because she disobeys orders. He gets angry if she has a disagreeing opinion. He gets angry cause she wants to work. On top of that, she has to ask his permission to do anything. To go to work, to drive her car, to see her friend, to have fun. She is a grown woman. Does she know this is not how marriage works? That this isn't the 18th century anymore? And can I just say wow, at his reaction when she tells him she's pregnant. I'm surprised she didn't divorce him right then and there. But then again, she is always making excuses for his atrocious behavior. This relationship disgusts me.

Once again, the plot is more of an afterthought, which I should have known better by now. It takes forever to get there, and when it does, it's so stupid it's laughable. And then all is well in Ana and Christian Land and they live happily ever after and we have to read a terrible epilogue anyways, filled with pregnant sex. Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse. I knew I should have stopped reading at the end of the book. And then we are treated to this delightful little nugget: "I think she likes sex already." Yup. That's them talking about their unborn child right after they had pregnant sex.

You are welcome everybody.

Now I need to go read something good, or at least marginally better to get rid of the taste this awful book left in my mouth.
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159 of 185 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A small suggestion for this couple, March 16, 2012
This review is from: Fifty Shades Freed (Paperback)
When you two are done having sex which is about 23 hours of the day, and if Ana can still walk, please seek professional help. And remember to leave all of the kinky toys and bondage at home. You two have too many weird mood changes to be normal. Christian, you are so hot, and so rich, that a majority of the reviewers just love you, and are willing to put up with anything you want to dish out. They consider you an Alpha Male and think it's cool that you like your women submissive. And to them, Ana is so sweet because she has no spine, and would do whatever dear hot Christian wants. Ana is the epitome of submissiveness! Poor Christian who had a terrible childhood needs a lot of TLC, so if he tells you to lay down and roll over, you do it because he is hot and rich! Oh, and if you decide to seek help you are going to have to learn words other than - Oh my, blushes, smirks, jeez, laters babe, my inner goddess, the 3 or more Holy's, mutters, whispers and all the rest, including HOT or they may want to commit you to a mental institution. And please don't constantly widen your eyes, roll your eyes, or bite your lip while you are there or it might annoy the person who is trying to help you.

As for the writing, I shudder to think of the grades I would have gotten from my English teachers/professors had I turned in papers with so many repetitive words. On the other hand, someone like Christian would have probably gotten away with it because he is so HOT! Had I not wasted enough money on these books (my fault for listening to the hot air publicity), I would have used it and bought a Thesaurus for both the woman who wrote the book and the publishing company. Unlike Ana, sex didn't leave me without a brain. And unlike the people who sold the books, reading all the sex scenes that were written did not damage my eyesight, therefore I was still able to see the words that were used way too many times.
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168 of 197 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars fifty shades of boring, May 26, 2012
I heard a segment on the radio about Fifty Shades of Grey being a good Mother's day present. Women rang up and said it was really racy and gave it rave reviews. All of them sited "Chapter 8" as being the most amazing sex they had read. After that I just had to read it to see what all the fuss was about.

I downloaded it and started on the journey. The first few chapters were poorly written but I gave James the benefit of the doubt and ploughed on though the banal descriptions of how hot Christian is (we get it, don't mention it on every page), ploughed on through the cringeworthy factor of a so-called dominant ...or really anyone over the age of 13 saying "laters, baby". Ploughed on, like a champion, through the excruciatingly boring emails (you're using emails to drive the narrative? Really?) and ploughed on through the lip biting and obsession with food and repetitive phrases, too numerous for a published author (for the love of God, get a thesaurus!), all with the promise of knowing that Chapter 8 would make up for it. An hour or so later I randomly checked my progress and realised I was at Chapter 10. Apparently I'd already read through the "hot bit" and didn't even know it!

Be under no illusions Dear Readers, this book is terribly written. It makes Twilight look like Anna Karenina and that is saying a lot since it started as Twilight fan-fiction (if that isn't enough to put you off then you cannot be saved, good luck to you). I've read stories by 5th Graders with more character development and narrative drive than this. I can't believe that it's actually a published book! Bad writing aside, this author also makes the rookie mistake of not knowing anything about her topic. It was not believable at all. A dominant would never behave so erratically or less like a dominant! I mean, he can barely control a 21 year old, it's embarrassing! I have a problem with him being only 27 as well. How can we take a 27 year old dominant seriously? Oh that's right, we can't. Not even Bella..I mean, Ana can. She is the worst, most annoying, uninteresting submissive ever written.

I have nothing good to say about this book. The characters were boring and unbelievable, there was no real drive in the plot, the vocabulary was repetitive and droll, the sex scenes were pretty much vanilla (not kinky at all) and these two characters together make up the worst examples of dominant and submissive I have ever read in "literature". In fact, I have read Facebook posts with more substance than this book. I despair for Pauline Réage, The Marquis de Sade, Anne Rice and other brave authors who have written about this topic in the past. This book is fifty shades of badly written banality.

Laters, baby.
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173 of 203 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Fifty Shades of Lame, April 16, 2012
I know next to nothing about Twilight but could totally see how this ripped off the series, so right there that was a huge strike against it. apparently this started off as fanfiction so i'm guessing you can find it somewhere on the internets.

i was hoping for some good bdsm fiction, but this is maybe a step above vanilla, it completely mis portrays the lifestyle, but any gripes about how unrealistic everything is from describing super posh *pink* champagne (wth) to the fact that mr grey apparently never needs a refractory period....it's just really really really terrible writing wise.

seriously, it's written at maybe a 5th grade lever with occasional instances where the author abuses her thesaurus and ends up making somewhat incomprehensible sentences. But typically she is repeating five phrases over and over again:

1) holy f***
2) holy c***
3) holy s***
4) stop biting your lip you know what that does to me
5) laters, babe

to the point where it goes past funny and just into painfully repetitive. the first three are almost a constant running theme in our narrators internal dialogue which becomes increasingly depressing when you realize she's supposed to be this intellectual who loves literature. the latter two belong to our dashing male lead, but once he came out with "laters babe" i was just lost in a fit of laughter.

so this is sort of like a literary version of Showgirls. It's awful and awkward and trying WAY to hard to be sexy and hardcore and while it fails miserably at all those attempts, it still manages to be kind of enjoyable in what a wreck it is.
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212 of 250 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Just Awful, May 17, 2012
This book is just so bad I can't even put it into words. I was really excited to read the series based on the fact that many libraries were banning it, I thought it HAD to be good! Nope, they probably banned it for horrible writing and not the "kinky sex" which really isn't so kinky.
I'm half way book 3 and stopped to write this review after finding myself literally skipping pages and pages of repetitive crap to get to some type of plot. Ana has to be the single most annoying female character of all time, saying she's bipolar doesn't even cover it.
Seriously don't waste your money on this series, borrow it or wait for the lifetime movie.
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98 of 114 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I wanted to like this book..I really did!, February 20, 2012
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I started out reading the first book, FFG, and loved it and therefore couldnt wait to read the second one, FFD, which i ended up liking too...then I got to this last book in the series and i realized I was reading more of the same...nothing had changed!!I found myself just skimming through the pages and could barely finish it. The storylines lacked depth and whatever conflict came up between them was dull and quickly resolved then it was back to more BDSM!! Ana was still describing how hot she found Christian and how 'those jeans hang on his hips in that way' and how his sensual looks made her feel things all the way south of her navel'! I mean really??...we get it..he is hot! We dont need him described to us in every chapter very much the same way in that he was described in Books 1 and 2. Phrases and words like, dont bite your lip, mercurial, did you eat, plum dress (lol)....are a recurring theme in all three books, and after a while they start becoming annoying. Ana tries to stand her ground when Christian is being too pushy/stalker/psycho, but when he gives her that intense look or wicked smile..she melts and all is forgotten and succumbs to 'my fifty shades'!! Oh..and lets not forget Christian's constant mood changes which would give anyone whiplash..he was cold one minute then hot the next...(aaah, that explains the word mercurial being used over and over @_@) and it got tedious reading about his juvenille temper tantrums. I doubt a marriage like that would stand the test of time, especially if your wife is frightened of you half the time!! All i can say is EL should have ended the series with the second book!
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78 of 90 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cinderella Gets Her Man!, November 2, 2012
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I sum up the 50 Shades Of Grey trilogy as the BDSM version of Cinderella. In 50 Shades Freed Cinderella (Anastasia) gets her man (Christian) when they tie the knot and go on an elaborate European cruise. More sex... apparently every 15 minutes. More struggles with control.... he won't even let her go on a Jet Ski by herself. Until he thinks Ana betrays his trust. Ana gets the chance to save her prince in the end and they live happily ever after in their multi-million dollar mansions.

Like the first two volumes, there were more sizzling sex scenes. If there is one thing EL does well, it's writing those tantalizing sex scenes. However, they are often surrounded by too many reused phrases such as: "But he's my 50 shades". Let's face it, everyone read this story for the sex and it didn't disappoint. Recently I read My Nights With Kate and found that I enjoyed the hot sex scenes much more when they are wrapped inside a more original and unique story line. Maybe I'm just getting fussier the more I read, but I'm growing tired of the Cinderella stories. This is especially true in the wake of all the 50 Shades knock-offs!

If you've read the first two books, you need to read this one as well. You already have $20 invested along with your time so go ahead and buy #3. If you enjoyed the first two, you won't regret it. Best of all, you'll get the fairy tale ending.
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178 of 211 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars All frosting and no cake - but oh, what frosting!, April 1, 2012
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No surprises here: a rich alpha male with a harrowing childhood and inner demons plucks (I choose that word deliberately) a young woman from obscurity, or in this case, college. Christian Grey decides in a few weeks that Ana Steele will be his salvation to his inner demons and is the love of his life. Ana decides in as short a time that he is the love of her life. If she didn't, Grey offers her the money, the sex drive, and the emotional sustenance to ensure she will. Ana and Grey are also, Ms James assures us repeatedly, very good looking. Ana doesn't stand a chance, and neither do we.

Most people may focus, wrongly in my view, that sex is the only element of these books. Don't get me wrong: there's a lot of it, it's well-written (a rarity), and it will probably introduce a lot of readers to BDSM-oriented romance. For what it's worth, I'm more offended by Grey's taste in classical music than I am by his handcuffs. Ignore the pearl clutchers and read the trilogy if you're interested. It's handled responsibly.

But it's Grey and Ana's highly emotional connection that drives their relationship, and the book. It has to. There's little plot or character development. To compensate for this lack, Grey and Ana emote in a way that is simply breathtaking. Ana cries, shakes and goes off her feed at the slightest whiff of trouble. Grey storms about in anger, professes love and talks about sex in a straightforward manner that modern men rarely do - and I suspect, readers wish they did. Some romance sub-genres get away by turning up the emotions to level 11 by making the stakes high - the fate of a clan might hang in the balance in a historical romance, the death of a "one true mate" or the end of the world in a paranormal. But by placing this romance in modern time and not creating a substitute reason for the drama, the emotional toils, the alpha male posturing and the female responses (Ana rarely drives the action, or the cars) all become melodrama.

Simply put - the stakes are never high enough to justify the high emotions, despite Ms James frantic attempts to tell us differently. The reader is well aware after just a few pages of the first book that Ms James would never put her heroine in anything resembling true harm; she seems to have a hard enough time putting Ana in a bad dress. Grey is never in any danger of losing his business empire, his loving adopted family or Ana.

The conceit of a great romance is for a reader to know the ending will be happy but for the writer to be so wily as to make us forget. Not so here, where my major concern was whether Ana will twist her heel in her new Christian Laboutins or have sex in boring place, like a bed.

By making the stakes low and love a foregone conclusion, the resolution - such as it is - by book 3 feels as cheaply held as the string of Audi and Saabs Grey buys Ana. (Yes, name brands have a starring role here, along with the handcuffs.) Ana's personal evolution seems as empty. Forget a bad dress, Ms James doesn't even let her experience the ordinary awkwardness of the post-college phase or enjoyment of simple pleasures. Ana goes straight from a delayed adolescence - at 22 she is a virgin and socially awkward and un self-aware - to professional success, a warm social circle, and a sartorially-adept adulthood in a few short months.

The sex and wish fulfillment make it fun; the dearth of story makes it empty. There are better romances out there, but if you want pure frosting and fluff, this is about as sugary as it gets.
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Fifty Shades Freed: Book Three of the Fifty Shades Trilogy
Fifty Shades Freed: Book Three of the Fifty Shades Trilogy by E. L. James (Paperback - June 26, 2012)
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