Freed is a delectable treat for Fifty Shades of Grey fans

Freed, by E.L. James. Photo: Sarabeth Pollock
Freed, by E.L. James. Photo: Sarabeth Pollock /

E.L. James is back with Freed, the book that explores the events depicted in Fifty Shades Darker from Christian Grey’s perspective. At over 750 pages, it’s a love letter to fans loaded with delightful details that were missing from the original tale. Freed takes fans on an insightful journey that takes a deep dive into the mind of Grey Enterprises Holdings’ enigmatic CEO as he walks down the aisle with the love of his life.

It’s important to note that Freed, like Grey and Darker, are retellings of the stories originally featured in the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. They aren’t new stories, but they’re very different from the originals because the point of view shifts from Anastasia Steele to Christian Grey. The events are the same and some of the dialogue is identical, but the perspective shift is enough to give the stories a brand new and refreshing twist.

In fact, I’d argue that Freed is better than its predecessor.

The Fifty Shades Trilogy was a big hit and if they marked the end of Ana and Christian’s story it would have been fine. However, telling the stories from Christian’s perspective after years have passed, make the new trilogy stronger.

Christian’s perspective is clear and steady. He’s older and more experienced than Ana, and he also knows what he wants. Hearing his thoughts and understanding things from his perspective turn the stories on their head – for the better. He might not have been openly vulnerable with Ana in the original trilogy but he can’t hide his fears when the story is coming from his point of view.

Freed is to Fifty Shades of Grey as Midnight Sun is to Twilight

E.L. James isn’t the only author to revisit and revamp her work. In 2020 Stephenie Meyer released Midnight Sun, a retelling of Twilight from vampire Edward Cullen’s perspective. After 15 years, Meyers clearly worked out some of the issues that plagued the original story, tightening the writing and offering more depth so that Midnight Sun is a much better read than Twilight.

For James, writing the trilogy from Christian’s perspective allows her to explore his motivation. It also gives her a chance to “fix” things she might not have liked in her original story. When Fifty Shades of Grey debuted there was a lot of controversy about Christian’s relationship with Ana, and Christian’s perspective allows her to flesh out all of his past trauma that drives his actions.

At his core, Christian is raw and vulnerable and terrified that he will lose the woman who means everything to him. He’s seen the worst that life can offer while Ana is young and just starting out on the adventure called life. He’s perpetually at odds with himself, but in Freed he finally starts to realize that through Ana’s love he can find the salvation he needs to let go of the past and embrace the future.

Fans of James’ work will find many reasons to love Freed, but be warned that if you weren’t into the original trilogy, Freed and its predecessors likely change your mind. Christian is still every bit the embattled Dominant, with his strong and often overbearing opinions. That’s what draws some people in and pushes others away. Like everything in the world, it comes down to what you like and what you don’t like. This book, however, is a love letter to fans who have waited a long time to read Christian’s thoughts.

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It’s hard to believe that Freed marks the end of an era for the Fifty Shades saga. With this final book, James has brought Christian and Ana’s story to a fulfilling conclusion that will no doubt leave fans sated.