Warning: Cliffhanger (SOB NO, WAIT COME BACK)
Warning: more sensitive topics of rape
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.
“Blood of my Blood,” he whispered, “and bone of my bone. You carry me within ye, Claire, and ye canna leave me now, no matter what happens, You are mine, always, if ye will it or no, if ye want me or nay. Mine, and I wilna let ye go.”
A tale of life, this is an impressive story. While I’m still not certain how much I’m enjoying this series, it certain is a very, very impressive tale. This does not seem like it is a tale being told for the sake of telling a story, but because it happened as a part of history and is being catalogued here for us to enjoy. It is happy and it is sad and it is worrisome and it is hopeful, because life itself is. If nothing else, I can commend Gabaldon on making me feel like this is completely real.
I definitely enjoyed this book more than I enjoyed the first installment to this series. I was able to connect to the story more. The kinks have been worked out. I wasn’t so concerned with the specifics of time travel except for the beginning and end of the book (more to come on that later). I really was able to just relax and enjoy the story. I was able to enjoy the company of both Claire and Jamie. I was able to grieve with them. I was able to bask in their joy. I was able to seep myself deep into the being Claire.
The opening to this book was weird, because you have no idea what is going on. Outlander ends with them deciding to go to Rome, and this book begins focused on someone you’ve utterly forgotten existed in book one in 1968, later than when Claire left to go to the past. It actually takes a very long time in book to even begin to understand what is going on in this story. The gist of it being that Claire traveled back to the future at some point for reasons that rapidly become obvious. Like, an hour of story, easily, is devoted to Roger and you don’t even really understand that this book isn’t going to all be about Roger because that is all it is for the first hour. I was so, so confused.
While I always hoped Claire would go back at some point, I’m not really keen in the manner Gabaldon chose to do it. I hope it gets better in later books, but for right now I’m very, very wary. I never trust time travel, ever (which is a wonder why I even started this series), but I really, really don’t trust Gabaldon to mucking about in time. It is too easy to mess up. It is too easy to try to change the way you’ve set up the way time travel can work. It is too easy to fail. I really, really hope Gabaldon doesn’t mess it up. However, the way it appears to be going right now. I hate the way my brain is thinking things are going based off the way the story is written thus. I am, however, glad that I was not left hanging at the end of the book. The first part of the book is all the 1960s, and then it jumps back into the meat of the story. I was afraid that the book would end without ever going back to the 1960s, but I’m really glad I was not left hanging in that way (though there was still the cliffhanger to consider – I’m actually really disappointed that this series contains cliffhangers at all).
On to the story: Claire and Jamie spend a lot of time in France (they never made it to Rome). This was definitely the slowest part to the book. I was really glad when they left France because the story picked up and became more interesting pretty much instantly. The story wasn’t bad in France, it was just slow moving without a clear course of direction. It was all very vague: “Whatever we can do to prevent this madness.” It felt like it was meandering about without any kind of goal in mind.
Once we got back to Scotland I seriously enjoyed it much more, even though the time was ticking down. It was infinitely more engrossing. I was basically hanging on every word in this part of the book. But, you could practically hear the ticking down of time to the end. Every page you turned got you closer and closer to the part where you feared because you knew what was happening. There is a lot of meandering about in this portion as well, but it was much more focused with a much clearer goal.
I think this story was really hurt by the fact that we know Claire is in 1968 with a child that is nearly 21. It basically spoils itself prematurely. I knew the the major emotional points of the book because they were already told in the first five chapters of the book. We just had to wait for the book to play out as expected. Which is a very special kind of hell I don’t wish on many. It was still good, because the book is more about the ending, it is about the journey. There is way more that happens in this book than what is revealed in the first five chapters. It is just… it spoils itself, and I hate spoilers!
This book is still very emotionally heavy, despite the spoilers. There is the happiness. The happiness of their pregnancy, the happiness they gain in themselves, the happiness they experience on all of life’s little pleasures one experiences. However, there is the fear of what is to come. There is the utter heartbreak that happens along the way. There is the pain of what has already happened. This is such a wonderfully emotionally charged book that I can’t help but say that it is good. Few books can make you feel as many emotions as this book managed to make me feel over the course of the story.
In the beginning I was confused, by the middle I was engaged, by the end I was in tears desperate for it to not end but knowing it had to eventually. I’m going to continue on because I have to know the story, no matter how much I’m wary of time travel.
To read more reviews for this series, check out the Outlander series page!