Title: Drums of Autumn (Outlander #4)
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Genre: Romance/Sci-Fi Fantasy
Published: December 30th 1996 (1088 pages)
Title: Voyager (Outlander #3)
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Publication Date: October 2004 (Originally 1993
Genre: Historical Romance/Science Fiction/Time Travel
My Final Grade:A
So far, Voyager is my favorite of the Outlander books. This is for several reasons. One, it has multiple point of views, even though Claire’s POV is still told in first person while everyone else is told in third person which can be a bit awkward at times. It gives us a better sense of how Jamie views things, as well as Roger and Brianna who play major roles in this story, and even more so in the next book, Drums of Autumn. It also varies away from some of the troublesome aspects of the first two books, although not completely.
Voyager begins in the 1960s with Brianna, Roger and Claire searching for the truth about Jamie. They found out he survived Culloden, and follow the trail down to finding him as a printer under an alias. As they search, we get to see the story from Jamie’s point of view of the missing years. We also wrap up a few lingering questions from the first book, and get a few flashbacks to Claire’s life with Frank and Brianna over the last 20 years.
Brianna eventually convinces her mother to go back, and the bulk of the book is Claire’s adventures in the mid 1760s, including traveling from Edinburgh, to Lallybroch to eventually Jamaica and the American Colonies. This book also explores several different types of relationships. It brings back Lord John Grey, who was featured as a teenager in Dragonfly but now is a Major in the British Army. He is in love with Jamie (as it appears most of the characters are – another criticism I have of this series), but unlike the previous two homosexual characters isn’t portrayed as a horrible person.
I was slightly uncomfortable with the portrayal of Yi Tien Cho, in a related notion. I couldn’t tell if it was the character himself or the fact that it was a portrayal of the first major minority character for the series (outside of Joe Abernathy who is barely seen). However, from what I have found out, he is loosely based on a real person and perhaps some of that comes from that. Still, I wasn’t sure if the portrayal was fair or not.
The relationships in this book that are explored are the several different types of family. It explores the idea of adoption/step-parenting (Jamie & Claire with Fergus, Frank with Brianna, Jamie with the McKimmie girls. Roger Wakefield & his great-Uncle, John Grey & Willie), Multigenerational (Jenny, Ian and the Murrys), separation (Jamie & Brianna as well as Jamie & Willie) amongst some. It also takes into consideration the aftereffects on Claire’s relationships outside Jamie – like with Jenny and Geillis.
While this book is still full of misadventures, and Jamie & Claire are rarely in a moment of calm, it does seem to be happier (outside of Ian) and some issues are addressed instead of either of the main characters pushing it aside like has happened in previous books. It also has a decrease in the amount of sexual violence that seemed to be prevalent in the previous two books. There is one scene towards the end with Yi Tien Cho that was concerning in regards to sexual violence but in comparison to the other novels this book is quite an improvement.
My final grade is A.
Title: Dragonfly in Amber
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Published: October 2004 (current edition) (original Print in 1992)
Genre: Romance/Sci-fi & Fantasy/Historical
My grade: B
Title: Outlander (Part 1 of the Outlander Series)
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Publication: 2004 (ebook) 1991 (original Publication)
Medium: Kindle eBook
NOTE: Some minor spoilers for the TV show and a trigger warning for rape.
Many months ago a good friend of mine told me I should read Outlander. It did in fact seem right up my ally as far as books I like to read (History, science fiction, mystery and romance), but I kept pushing it off. But I finally watched the first season of Outlander last month and decided to read the book.
Usually I read the book first, then watch the TV show/Movie based on it. However, this time I did not. It did allow me to appreciate some of the narrative changes the TV writers made. The show is relatively close to the events of the book up till the last few episodes, although they expand on things in some places and leave out others.
I am not a big fan of first person, as Outlander is (from Claire’s POV). There are some exceptions though (such as the Hunger Games) and Outlander has ended up being one of them despite the fact that I wish some of it was in Jamie’s pov. The story is about Claire Beachamp-Randall, a combat nurse from WWII. She’s visiting Scotland with her husband in an effort to reconnect after the war when she is accidentally whisked from her time (1945) to another (1743). She finds it difficult to adjust to live 202 years before what she knew, and it causes a few adventures.
Writing wise, it’s not the best novel I ever read, but it kept me interested. As I said, some of the narrative changes in the early episodes of the show made sense to fill in some of the gaps in the book. It smoothed things out as it were, However, later changes made less sense.
I’m also not sure how historically accurate this book is, but it kept me interested enough that I didn’t really need to know – though I did look some of the outside characters like the Duke of Sandringham (Not a real guy) and Lord Lovat, Jamie’s Grandfather (actually a real guy). A lot of the characters are interesting, even if they are fairly minor. Black Jack Randall is creepy in all his scenes (which makes me feel sorry for his great-great so forth grandson Frank), and Dougal I can’t get a hold on whether he is someone I shouldn’t mind or someone I should place in the enemy column (Both in the TV show and the book. More so the TV series).
I know that the next book takes place in France but I will miss the lovely characters of Castle Leoch and the Scottish Highlands.
My only real issue with the book is that rape is used a bit too often as a cause for drama. Some of it makes sense with the characters used (mainly Black Jack Randall) but other times it just seems repative and even more uncomfortable it is by default.
I am glad my friend convinced me to read this, and I’m looking forward to reviewing Dragonfly in Amber (book 2) soon. I feel this is also a book that once I finish the series I’ll be back to re-read and connect some of the dots I missed the first time around.
As a final note, the book is not nearly as R rated as the TV-show (since it is on STARZ) ended up being. There is a lot more fade to black. Still, it is an adult romance novel, so I would probably not let your younger kids read it yet.