Tuesday, 25 April 2017

An Echo in the Bone

Author: Diana Gabaldon
Genre: Historical Fiction
Type: Hardcover
Pages: 820
Series: #7 in the Outlander series
Source: Personal copy
Publisher: Delacourte Press
First Published: September 22, 2009
First Line: "The body is amazingly plastic."

Book Description from GoodReadsJamie Fraser, former Jacobite and reluctant rebel, is already certain of three things about the American rebellion: The Americans will win, fighting on the side of victory is no guarantee of survival, and he'd rather die than have to face his illegitimate son--a young lieutenant in the British Army--across the barrel of a gun.

Claire Randall knows that the Americans will win, too, but not what the ultimate price may be. That price won't include Jamie's life or his happiness, though--not if she has anything to say about it.

Meanwhile, in the relative safety of the twentieth century, Jamie and Claire's daughter, Brianna, and her husband, Roger MacKenzie, have resettled in a historic Scottish home where, across a chasm of two centuries, the unfolding drama of Brianna's parents' story comes to life through Claire's letters. The fragile pages reveal Claire's love for battle-scarred Jamie Fraser and their flight from North Carolina to the high seas, where they encounter privateers and ocean battles--as Brianna and Roger search for clues not only to Claire's fate but to their own. Because the future of the MacKenzie family in the Highlands is mysteriously, irrevocably, and intimately entwined with life and death in war-torn colonial America.

With stunning cameos of historical characters from Benedict Arnold to Benjamin Franklin, An Echo in the Bone is a soaring masterpiece of imagination, insight, character, and adventure--a novel that echoes in the mind long after the last page is turned.

My Rating: 2 stars

My ReviewThe Outlander series and I have had a love/frustration kind of relationship.  I adore the main characters, Claire and Jamie, and their unique love story.  It also doesn't hurt that the uber popular TV series (which is impeccably cast) has reminded me why I love this series so much.  

But ... 

Gabaldon's incessant need to describe every last little detail, add superfluous characters and multiple minor story lines is really putting a strain on our relationship. I'm not saying Outlander and I are going to break up but I think we should take a break for a bit.

An Echo in the Bone, the seventh book in the series, had its good moments but they were far and few between. Considering the slow progression in the bigger story arcs, the story could have been edited down considerably. My main issue is that Claire and Jamie aren't the focus anymore. Gabaldon puts more focus on William and Lord John who are as dull as dishwater compared to Claire and Jamie. And, unless you've read the spin-off Lord John series, you may feel like you're missing some facts (like I did). Roger and Brianna's story was a little more interesting and at least felt like it was progressing the plot.

In this book, there's a mishmash of characters (many of whom were secondary or tertiary) who were hard to keep track of.  There were also various settings, many different POVs and the non-linear telling didn't help keep things clear. But I kept at it because a bookish friend of mine said the next book in the series, Written in my Heart's Own Blood, is simply ahh-mazing. So, now she's done it. I had to finish it to find out what happens in the next book. So, with my friend's comments in mind, I begrudgingly kept at it ... for almost a month (for someone who reads 2-3 books/week that's a loooong time to read one book). Once I read the next book I'll see if it was all worth it.

My fear is that Outlander has lost its spark for me. It has become a rambling story with many non-essential characters and plot lines that didn't pull me in. I hate having to give this book such a low rating but it is the slowest in the series (and I've lived through reading The Fiery Cross!). The following terms accurately describe this book for me: excessively descriptive, tired and rambling.  Here's hoping the next book brings back that Outlander magic for me.

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