Sunday, August 5, 2018

Book Review: Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

Goodreads Summary:  From the author of Outlander... a magnificent epic that once again sweeps us back in time to the drama and passion of 18th-century Scotland...
For twenty years Claire Randall has kept her secrets. But now she is returning with her grown daughter to Scotland's majestic mist-shrouded hills. Here Claire plans to reveal a truth as stunning as the events that gave it birth: about the mystery of an ancient circle of standing stones ...about a love that transcends the boundaries of time ...and about James Fraser, a Scottish warrior whose gallantry once drew a young Claire from the security of her century to the dangers of his ....

Now a legacy of blood and desire will test her beautiful copper-haired daughter, Brianna, as Claire's spellbinding journey of self-discovery continues in the intrigue-ridden Paris court of Charles Stuart a race to thwart a doomed Highlands uprising ...and in a desperate fight to save both the child and the man she loves...

Goodreads Rating: 4.32 stars with over 234,000 ratings
Genre Listing: Historical Fiction, Romance, Fantasy, Time Travel
Get the book: AmazonBook Depository
Goodreads Challenge: 16/30
2018 Reading Challenge: #50, A book over 500 pages ( see the reading challenge post here)
Other Review on the series: Outlander


I FINALLY finished this damn book. I started this book back in April, admittedly I wasn't reading it as quickly as I could have. I think I would have finished it a lot quicker if I had read it on Kindle instead of paperback. I swear big books seem way less daunting in e-book format. It doesn't help that I read mainly in bed, and haven't had that great of a book light to get through this at night. But I finally finished it.

I thought it was really interesting how Dragonfly in Amber started in the 1960's and works it's way back to how Claire got back to her own time. I will say that if you are the type of reader who needs to be instantly drawn into a book, this one may be a bit of a challenge for you. It was for me. I was immediately intrigued at the start when Claire was bringing Brianna and Roger into the story. However, when she starts discussing her life with Jamie in France, it gets a bit tedious.  There's a lot of espionage, but it's a lot of fancy dinner parties, pretending to be friendly with others, and stealing letters. There's not a ton of action at first. 

There were some subplots that I thought were interesting, and some that I thought were reasonably predictable. I do like that Claire starts considering the ramifications of her time traveling. I'd be curious to see if that's addressed more as the series continues. Because of just how much was going on in this book, I can't quite discern if she's changed anything in the book's history or not or if everything is just sort of a fixed point in time and going to happen regardless. Throughout the book there's a question of Frank's lineage and if the happenings are going to affect him ever being born. Claire keeps checking her ring as though it's proof, but honestly, throughout the interactions, I figured out fairly early on that his lineage wasn't precisely what he thought it was. 

Along with this line, there's a subplot regarding Roger and Gellis that I hope gets more attention in Voyager. I think it's fair to assume that Claire tries to go back in time to find Jamie, and I'm kind of curious to see what happens to Fergus. He somewhat felt like an adopted son and thought he was an excellent character addition. One of my favorite side characters in Dragonfly in Amber was Master Raymond. I have no idea why, but I somehow pictured him to be like Billy Crystal's character Miracle Max from Princess Bride. Once that got in my head I couldn't get it out, and it made any of Master Raymond's scenes a hoot to read. 

Overall, I loved Dragonfly in Amber. Diana Gabaldon does a fantastic job of combining fantasy elements with historical fiction elements. I love how she truly makes it feel realistic. She doesn't glamorize the past, she shows it gritty and dirty. I can't wait to read Voyager. Unfortunately, I'm probably going to put it off for a bit because I just don't have it in me right now to read another 900-page book. 


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