NOW THE STARZ ORIGINAL SERIES OUTLANDER With her classic novel Outlander, Diana Gabaldon introduced two unforgettable characters—Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser—delighting readers with a story of adventure and love that spanned two centuries. Now Gabaldon returns to that extraordinary time and place in this vivid, powerful sequel to Outlander.
DRAGONFLY IN AMBER
For twenty years, Claire Randall has kept her secrets. But now she is returning with her grown daughter to the mysteries of Scotland’s mist-shrouded Highlands.
Here Claire plans to reveal a truth as shocking as the events that gave it birth: the secret of an ancient circle of standing stones, the secret of a love that transcends centuries, and the truth of a man named Jamie Fraser—a Highland warrior whose gallantry once drew the young Claire from the security of her century to the dangers of his.
Claire’s spellbinding journey continues through the intrigue-ridden French court and the menace of Jacobite plots, to the Highlands of Scotland, through war and death in a desperate fight to save both the child and the man she loves.
Praise for Dragonfly in Amber
“Diana Gabaldon is a born storyteller. . . . The pages practically turn themselves.”—The Arizona Republic
“A triumph! A powerful tale layered in history and myth. I loved every page.”—Nora Roberts
When I finished it I wanted a bibliography to explore some of the obvious research.
Clare goes back to Scotland with her grown daughter and tells her the next part of the story and Diana Gabaldon shows the reader all the research she has done on the period. Interesting but didn't grasp me and occasionally I found it a bit of a slog.
A couple of months ago I finally finished watching Outlander season one. Having thoroughly enjoyed it, I was absolutely dying to know what happened next! Unfortunately, season two is still several months away. I took the obvious next step and read the second book in the series. I wasn't positive how much I would miss by not reading Outlander and depending solely on the TV series, but at least half the fans I spoke with said I'd be fine. So I set out on part two of the Outlander saga in hopes that it would be just as fulfilling as what I'd already seen!
The beginning of Dragonfly in Amber focused on introducing Claire's daughter, Briana, and family friend, Roger. In fact, the entire book is told under pretense of her sharing her experiences with the two of them. While I didn't particularly love these characters, I have the distinct feeling that they'll be important in later books, so I can understand why they were such a big part of this one.
But let me go ahead and say... this felt like the longest book I have ever read. Ever. Longer than anything I've read for school. In reality, Dragonfly in Amber is not even 800 pages! A book being long isn't necessarily a bad thing at all, but it isn't usually a good thing when a book seems to drag forever. The best word I can use to describe this book is tedious. Where Outlander seemed like almost constant action and romance, Dragonfly in Amber was more focused on the day-to-day existence of Claire and Jamie.
Oh, and politics. I will be the first to admit that I had no idea most of the time what the heck was going on in this book when it came to the political goings on in this book. There were conspiracies and secret musical codes and warring kings and Jacobites and on and on and on. (Maybe this is why it seemed to drag more than a history book?) There were pages and pages and pages about Claire working in hospitals, entertaining houseguests, and being pregnant. I just got bored. A lot. I was bored a lot.
The romance between Claire and Jamie was, as usual, heartwarming. It's honestly really interesting to see such a marked difference between their loving marriage and the relationships that I'm used to reading about in YA fiction. I won't lie, I love the drama of YA relationships, but it's also really nice to read about a more stable, loving marriage. The one thing that really bugged me was the use of Jamie's nickname for Claire, "Sassenach." It was cute and endearing to start, but at some point I began to wonder if he even remembered her name!
My favorite part about Dragonfly in Amber, believe it or not, was the evolution of the character Jack Randall. While I hated his guts in Outlander, I really did enjoy seeing more depth in his relationship with his brother. Not to say he is even close to forgiven for his despicable villainy, but it was certainly interesting to learn more about him. I still wish I knew a bit more about why he was such a nasty character though.
I've heard through the grapevine that this book is the least favorite of many fans and that series does pick back up. I'm not entirely sure that I'll continue on with Voyager, book three in the series, but I am glad that I read this one just to see what happened after the show. I'll definitely watch season two of the TV show though! I have a feeling it will be more interesting than the book... And who knows? Maybe curiosity will get the better of me and I'll keep reading after all.
Review in progress.I feel like I'm going to be reviewing three different books here, but based on the length of Dragonfly in Amber, I could be! But seriously, each third of the book is very different than the others as Claire tells her story. The book starts out in 1968, which definitely threw me off, despite reading the description. I couldn't help but wonder why the heck Claire is in the future, with a 20 year old daughter who looks like Jaime.
The answer to that comes fairly quickly, as Claire asks Roger to help her research some of the men she knew. She wants to know if Jaime had died in battle, before she reveals the truth to her daughter. Of course, I feel like the answer to that question is fairly obvious since there's more books to come, and it's the main reason why this wasn't a 5 star read for me. However, it was still interesting to see what led Claire to return to modern times.
The first third of the book was a little strange, other than taking place in the 60s. It flip-flops between 1st and 3rd for the first six chapters as the story follows either Claire or Roger. It was a little annoying, but it didn't last long, for which I was grateful. Then once Claire is telling about her time in the 18th century, it was a little slow. She and Jaime are in Paris, and are on a mission to stop a battle that results in the death of many Scots. The author is quite wordy, but I could easily picture everything taking place, even if it wasn't the most exciting or interesting.
The middle third is fantastic! There's plenty of Jamie and Claire, and everything that can go wrong does go wrong. It's heartbreaking watching them go through these things both together and separately. This isn't a happy section of the book at all, but it is the best part, in my opinion. We see Claire and Jamie challenge each other, as well as support each other. They go through so much together during this period, but their love never falters!
Once the battle begins the book slows down again. The final third involves a lot of Claire tending to injured men and traveling. There are a few tense scenes that added some action though. It felt like a waiting game, since I knew we were getting close to the point where Claire has to travel back to her time. It doesn't happen at all how I thought it would, but it does happen in a way that's consistent with the characters. It really is a heartbreaking scene.
The ending isn't shocking or unexpected at all, like I already said, but it does involve a major cliffhanger, and of course I'll be continuing this series! There's also some fun connections to the first book which I wasn't expecting. Well, this review is getting quite lengthy, so I'll just end by saying this is a nearly perfect sequel to a fabulous book!
The adventure continues! I loved how this started with Clare and Brianna in Scotland in 1968, and how Clare knew who she needed to contact to get some help to figure out what had happened with all her friends and family after she left the Highlands in 1745 and came back to her own time, and to Frank.
Brianna must have brought her so much happines, and at the same time so much pain, since she looks so much like Jamie!
The story-telling continued to be wonderful, and I was amazed by the details, both of what Clare told Bree, and the side-story with what happened with Jamie in 'his' time. He had a hard time with it all, living in that cave for seven years, and then, using himself to save his family once more.
I was so afraid for him when Geneva tricked him into sleeping with her, and the subsequent arrival of William - such irony with that name as well, as it was the name of his older brother.
Almost meeting Geilis in 1968 was scary, she really was a witch, no matter what time she was in.
This series is so wonderfully written, the characters all have flaws, but continue to grow, and change. And they are all still very much loveable, at least they are to me.
I loved this one just as much as the first. It had me crying. Now, that’s not entirely unusual — after all, I cry at tv commercials. But I wasn’t just crying, I was friggin’ sobbing. Even though I knew it wasn’t that bad! No one was going to die, they’re going to see each other again — there’s more books!
I’m forcing myself to read something else in between books in this series. Mostly because I don’t want to finish it too soon!