Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Dragonfly In Amber [Gabaldon]

Book: Dragonfly in Amber
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Reason for Reading: for fun
Genre: Romance - Historical
Summary: This is the second book in the popular Outlander series. The book starts with Claire traveling to Scotland with her twenty year old daughter Briana (1968). Claire plans to tell Briana about her true paternity with the help of Roger Wakefield, a local professor and historian.

The book then flashes back in time (1744) to where the first book in the series (Outlander) ended: Paris. The book follows Jamie and Claire as they attempt to stop the Jacobite Rising. Unsuccessful, they eventually travel back to Scotland were Jamie is forced to fight for the Stuart's after his name is forged on a letter to Charles Stuart pledging his allegiance. Although initially successful in battle, Jamie and his men (from his town) know the tide is turning against them (the Jacobites). With Claire's historical knowledge, she and Jamie are aware that the battle of Culloden will occur and the Scots will not win. Knowing this, Jamie takes Claire back to Craig na Dun (to the time portal) so she can survive the battle and the aftermath. Prior to time traveling, Claire tells Jamie she is pregnant. Claire travels forward in time while Jamie stays in Scotland, prepared to fight and die.

The book then returns to 1968 where Claire reveals that Brianna was the child she was carrying when she time traveled and Jamie was the father. Roger informs Claire that Jamie did not die during the battle.

Christine's Review: This is the second book in the popular Outlander series, which combines romance, historical fiction and science fiction. While I thoroughly enjoyed the first installment, I cannot say the same for this book. I am not someone who shies away from long reads (each book in the series is just under 1000 pages) but I had a difficult time finishing this. I was stuck in the mid-600's for a few months.

Certain parts of the story were quite interesting: the return of Jack Randall (a sadistic character from the first book who was presumed dead), Claire's interaction with the King of France and Jamie's spying activities. Other parts were sad: Claire's miscarriage, rape, child abuse and Jamie's incarceration. Of course, I also enjoy the romance aspect of the book: Jamie and Claire have an intense, powerful love and Jamie always puts Claire's needs above anything else. Unfortunately, these positives sections aren't enough to save the book. Once Jamie and Claire move to Scotland, the book stalls. The historical context should inspire an invigorating read, but instead inspires sleep.

Overall, this book is long and boring. If you read Outlander and intend to follow the series, I recommend reading a detailed summary online and skipping to the third book.

Book Junkie's Grade: C-

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