Saturday, October 24, 2009

Echo in the bone

Echo in the Bone - part 7 in the Outlander series.

Like many Outlander fans, I was anticipating this release with much excitement. And like many reviewers on Amazon, I was left a little cold throughout most of this long, long book. That's not to say it was a terrible book: for the last 1/3 of the book, I'd give it a 4/5 stars. For the first third, just a measly 2 stars.

And my reason's surprise even myself.

Diana Gabaldon usually does a pretty good job introducing side characters. Ian Murray, Fergus, Lord John & others have been characters I've come to love and could happily read about. And I don't know how she did it, but DG turned Lord John into one of the stuffiest & most boring men in the book - coming back into character only in the last chapters.

A disproportionate amount of time was given to Lord John & his son William. And sadly, the characters were not developed sufficiently to care very much about their stories. Only towards the end, did I start to care at all about either of them & I very much wanted to skip some of their chapters. Indeed, there became so many side-stories and sub-plots, it became somewhat confusing.

As we know, Brianna & Roger are back in present day Scotland. We still get to read about them, mostly about their re-adapting to the 20th century and their connection to Jamie & Claire through letters, and perhaps a bit of time traveling telepathy. I like that. I like Roger & Bree, so I'm quite happy to read about them.

Claire & Jamie seem to be the side characters for much of the book. Switching from 1st person narrative to 3rd, when reading about Claire, was a little disconcerting at times. And without giving too much away, 61 year old Claire's heroics weren't quite so believable anymore.

Having said that, some plots were very good. As usual, Jamie can't say no to a battle. As usual, they find themselves fugitives, hunted for murder and treason. Can they get on a ship and just take a voyage? I don't think so. Old characters re-enter stage right. New characters enter from the left. And the links, coincidences and convoluted family trees just get thicker and thicker.

By the last 1/3 of the book, it certainly heats up though. And you know what? DG manages - despite the drudge & long winded parts - to make me want the next book. Right now!
Alas, we'll be in for another 4 year wait I am sure. And there will be another - there were enough cliffhangers at the end of this one to be sure of that,

In the meantime, DG plans on an Outlander graphic novel and, I believe, another LJ book.

Discuss the series at the Outlander Book Klubs

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