Reviewed by Gitte

‘We’re flying through the sunset to chase the dawn.’

Back in 2011 I picked up Fifty Shades of Grey after coming off a long binge of paranormal romance, I craved something different but of course, it still had to have romance in it! Little did I know at the time, that by picking up the Fifty Shades series by EL James my life would change and bring me a whole new wonderful world: the book world. A place where I’ve found so many book friends around the globe – friends for life. I consequently discovered new Authors I would’ve never known about, and because of Fifty, it led to starting a book blog with my book soulmate and bessie mate, Jenny. I’ve experienced new and exciting things I never could’ve imagined and of course -above all, it brought me the unforgettable Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey as well as a tattoo quote, which to me, epitomizes their journey. Ten years filled with wonderful moments, amazing books, and like-minded people, creating memories I will always treasure, come what may. For this, I will always be thankful for the Fifty Shades series and will always hold its Author, EL James close to my heart.

‘I know what it’s like to bathe in her light. She is warmth and life and home. She is everything. I want her by my side. I love her.’

Reading FREED told by Christian, knowing that this is the last book to reveal his inner musings and the why’s of his actions was quite bittersweet. I was excited to begin yet hesitant to finish. Now, sitting here in my garden on a warm summer’s evening, drinking wine out of a glass etched with Freed, which could not be any more apt, I feel quite despondent yet overwhelmingly happy at the same time. I have loved this series for everything it was and always will be, that EL James gave us three more books to have the privilege of Christian Grey’s voice was a gift worth its weight in both gold and girth, as this last instalment proved. And you know what -even so- I could’ve kept reading, such is my love for Fifty Shades and everything it embodies, and to be honest, it’s go big or go home right?! Well, EL James went big and she brought me home. A home I will remember fondly as I’m sure the rest of you will too.

‘I’m unleashed. My need for her greater than I ever imagined. I want to crawl inside her skin so she can keep me in one piece; keep me whole.’

I don’t need to tell you about Freed, Fifty Shades as Told by Christian. If you’ve been on the same journey as me, you know what it means, what the crux of the story is, and how it will end. What you won’t know yet if you haven’t read it, is how wonderful, emotional, and revealing Freed is across a storyline we’ve had the ultimate pleasure in experiencing once before in Ana’s voice. I truly left my heart amongst the pages of Christian’s Freed, and I was barely hanging on at times during the most poignant moments of Christian’s truths.

“If you grow up with a wholly negative self-image, thinking you’re some kind of reject, an unlovable savage, you think you deserve to be beaten…Ana, it’s much easier to wear your pain on the outside.” It’s much harder on the inside.

Christian Grey gave us such heartfelt revelations, so many new layers were unravelled. So much agony, confusion, self-sabotage, and insecurity yet a feeling of the intense need for certainty in love. Christian Grey, the man scared of human touch, affection, and a questioner of the love he received, desperate for everything that scares him and has scarred him. Unwilling, feeling unworthy and lost when not in control. Two sides of a man desperate to marry the two, but at a loss on the how-to.

‘I can’t do this. I don’t want to think about the past. It’s been. It’s done. It’s too painful.’

Freed was beautiful, poignantly emotional, sexy, fun and so worth the wait. I have my own emotionally vivid memories of scenes from Freed in Ana’s voice which I could not wait to hear in Christian’s. Not only that, but I also needed to both hear and feel Christian’s thoughts and emotions when it came to his family, and woah, at times I had tears rolling down my cheeks! They always say the best comes to those who patiently wait, and every word of that is true when it comes to Freed, Fifty Shades as Told by Christian. It was  captivating and pure indulgence for this fangirl.

‘Happiness. It’s a strange and unsettling emotion, one that I’ve felt often enough since meeting Ana. But I’ve always thought of those as fleeting moments, sometimes euphoric, sometimes just pure joy. It’s never been my constant companion. It‘s crept up on me, and now it’s with me, always – but it’s an uneasy feeling, a tightness in my chest. And I know it’s because it could be snatched from me at any moment, and I’d be left devastated.’

What EL James has achieved by writing a trilogy from both Anastasia’s and Christian’s view is quite outstanding. Both have an incredible impact. The first three books were fundamentally Ana’s story, a woman’s journey in a new and dark world of love, heartbreak, and kink. Having to grow up very quickly to fight for the man she wants, whilst finding her place in the world at the same time. A sweet, innocent, and adorably naïve voice turning mature, powerful, and becoming a persistent light in the darkness where Christian Grey lives. The very same books in Christian’s voice felt darker, more fractious, and ultimately so much more heart-breaking. The intensity of soul searching, of forgotten memories, and violence were so powerful and felt quite momentous. Yet these same pages were filled with wonderment and light too, as a man learns what it means to be loved and opens his heart and mind to those who matter as Ana shows him the way. The way home to love and acceptance. What a journey it’s been, I feel quite breathless. Thank you, EL James. Always!

‘My beacon. My dreamcatcher. My love. My life.’