We ended off Fifty Shades Darker on a weird note. Both previous books have been told from Ana’s perspective – we get a full dose of the disjointed craziness that passes for Ana’s thought process – all her personalities, and random exclamations, all the ‘Oh my’s and ‘holy crap’s. Then, without warning, we jumped inside the head of Ana’s fired ex-boss Jack for the last couple of pages as he recounted his supervillain-style plan for revenge to no one in particular.
So when I started Fifty Shades Freed, I expected something…different.
When we ended the last book, it was Christian’s birthday and our crappy couple had just announced their engagement and were about to consummate the announcement in the boathouse. And then…and then…sigh.
Suddenly, we have a third person narrator who tells us that Christian is having a night terror. Christian is three, and his mother is dead. He drinks water from the tap and eats frozen peas from the freezer until his mother’s pimp shows up and kicks him in the head. He wakes up and the police wrench him screaming away from his mother’s corpse.
He wakes up screaming, and proclaiming that Ana is sunshine and goodness and light. For some reason that isn’t adequately explained he tells Ana that they can leave the “obey” part out of the vows, and begs her not to fight about it anymore. Except that, as far as we know, they have never fought about it before.
Then suddenly they are on the beach in Monaco at a super poshy-posh resort and ALREADY FREAKING MARRIED. So there goes any and all pretense of suspense. Hope you weren’t emotionally invested in being surprised. Because too fucking bad. No surprise for you.
Apparently Jack doesn’t pan out as a supervillain, because our crappy couple is happily married and now on their honeymoon. Soooo…whatever.
But then we’re back in the boathouse just in time to not see any of the sex. I’m not sure if this is a flashback or the previous bit was a flash forward. And seriously, for a dirty sexy filthy book, 50 Shades sure takes every opportunity to skip over the sex. Ana assures us that it was passionate and exhausting though. Just trust her she’s a totally reliable narrator. Totally.
They decide to get married in one month at the Grey mansion and suddenly they are in Monaco again. Ana begs Christian to slather her in sunscreen like some kind of sexy buttered bread slice. He tells her, “it’s a dirty job…but it’s an offer I can’t refuse.” Sweet mixed metaphor dude! Ana asks Christian if she can go topless, and of course he says no. Ana smiles to herself, because his jealousy and possessiveness is soooo endearing. She says that.
Ana naps, and then they make out in the surf. Christian asks if she wants to have sex in the water in front of everyone. Ana says yes, but as usual, Christian says no. Why does he do this? Why offer if you are always going to say no? Why!!!!????
So instead of having sex, Christian goes swimming. To punish him for being an asshole, Ana takes her bikini top off and proceeds to sunbathe topless, even though Christian said she wasn’t allowed to. Oh well, he’s buttered his bread, I guess he’ll have to lie in it.
Then we’re back at the wedding right at the ‘you may kiss the bride’ part. Everything is pink and cream and silver. Christian tells Ana she can’t change out of her wedding dress until he says so. Wedding dresses are super uncomfortable. Christ, what an asshole.
He sends her to pack a bag in her full wedding regalia, since they didn’t have the presence of mind to do it before. What the hell happened to all Christian’s servants and staff? Why don’t they pack it? They bought her an entire wardrobe without Ana even being there.
After the reception Ana sheepishly feels like she has to announce to all her family and friends that she isn’t allowed to change out of her wedding dress. They are as amused as you’d imagine. Ana’s mom reminds her that she didn’t agree to obey, which is the second time that’s come up. This had better turn out to be damn important somewhere in amongst all the flashbacks and forwards and whatnots and whozits.
The wedding guests all join hands to make an arch for them to walk under. Even though they agreed to have a small wedding, the arch is long enough to reach all the way around the front of the mansion. The guests pelt them with rice, because apparently in magic fantasy world rice doesn’t kill all the birds and people still think it’s okay to throw it at weddings.
They take off on Christian’s private jet, but not before Ana points out to us how jealous of her the female co-pilot is. Nice. Christian reveals that they are going to visit a laundry list of stereotypical romantic destinations for their honeymoon.
They spend their wedding night in flight, and so they join the proper mile high club. Not the shitty sorta-high-up-but-not-really club, like in the last book. Christian finally lets Ana take off the dress, underneath of which Ana has the pinkest, frilliest, girliest corset/garter/stocking set ever made.
Ana practically goes into convulsions at the thought of having sex with Christian. They finish stripping and then Christian flips Ana from her back to her from and back again several times before they actually have sex. It’s like some kind of…erotic…juggling act.
They very nearly have sex and then Christian wakes Ana up by shrieking bloody murder at her. Sexay! He is absolutely furious that Ana is topless. We end the chapter with Ana being inexplicably surprised. I mean, she did it on purpose to piss Christian off. And now it’s somehow not completely predictable that he is pissed off? Whatever.
In sum: Fifty Shades Freed appears to have knocked it up a notch. This is a whole new level of what-the-fuckery we’re dealing with here. We’re through the looking glass here people: I don’t even know what to expect.