Warning: more sensitive topics of rape
It began in Scotland, at an ancient stone circle. There, a doorway, open to a select few, leads into the past—or the grave. Claire Randall survived the extraordinary passage, not once but twice. Her first trip swept her into the arms of Jamie Fraser, an eighteenth-century Scot whose love for her became legend—a tale of tragic passion that ended with her return to the present to bear his child. Her second journey, two decades later, brought them together again in frontier America. But Claire had left someone behind in the twentieth century. Their daughter, Brianna….
Now Brianna has made a disturbing discovery that sends her to the stone circle and a terrifying leap into the unknown. In search of her mother and the father she has never met, she is risking her own future to try to change history…and to save their lives. But as Brianna plunges into an uncharted wilderness, a heartbreaking encounter may strand her forever in the past…or root her in the place she should be, where her heart and soul belong….
“This is our time. Until that time stops – for one of us, for both – it is our time. Now. Will you waste it, because you are afraid?”
Overall, these books are still really good to read. Each book improves over the last. I did have some troubles in the beginning of this book, which may or may not be related to the break I took between books 3 and 4. I felt like I was missing something for the first 15% of this book before it was finally explained. I felt like the pacing was incredibly slow and not a lot was going on, too. But, that is the way all of these books go. I’m still heavily enthralled by Claire and Jamie, but the pacing makes my heart ache and my emotions go haywire.
This book covers quite a bit of time, just over three years of it. Most of it is shown in fits and bursts. Two or three days here, a month later two or three days there. There is a lot of time not covered, it made me feel like I was being left out. The biggest thing keeping me going in these books is the relationship Claire and Jamie have. I want to see them doing mundane things together. Their tale is slow, but sweet and amazing. They are building a life together in this book, a new life for a new world, and I felt left out. It is actually make me sad, and I’m tearing up thinking about all I was left out on as I’m writing this. I don’t need the big dramatic parts in the book so much as I want to see their love for each other.
I’ll be honest, I damn near melted when Brianna met up with her parents. The buildup to her getting there was worth the wait. When Brianna and Roger first started showing up in the book, holy hell I just wanted more of them. Especially since it broke up the slow parts with her parents. However, I will say that about the time they settled in to the New World, I just really wanted them to go away. Brianna especially became the entire focus of the book. She became an addition that the series really didn’t need at this time. I love that she got to meet Jamie, I love that they all got to live together as a family. However, I liked their story in the present day a hell of a lot more than I liked their story in the past. I wish they would have stayed there, or gone back right away.
I can’t stress how much I missed Claire and Jamie being the only focus in this book. I want, no I need, that connection between these two to ring loud and clear. At times in this book, they felt like two people occupying the same land, but doing separate things. In the previous books, they were two people with the same goal in mind, even when they were separated. I felt lost and confused and hurt over it. Not only that, but this book was basically devoid of most of the side characters, too. Everyone pops in for a visit, but they don’t seem to stick around. Really, this felt like Brianna’s and Roger’s book more than anything.
The one side character that shows up a lot is Lord John Grey. I was ambivalent to him in previous books. Didn’t really care if he was there or not. However, in this book he really, really grew on me. I was always glad to have him around. He is so kind and warm. I really hope he plays bigger parts in the books to come, too, but I’m afraid he won’t. To contrast, I was a bit (a lot) annoyed with Jamie this book. He needs to chill the fuck out, he is getting too old for this shit. He is still acting like he is in his early 20s just starting out in life, causing troubles he doesn’t need to be causing. He needs to think more about what he is going to do in the future, with Claire, with his family, with his town. Hell, Claire needs to be thinking about the future, more, too.
But, they’re both too terrified to think of the future, so they’re desperate to live in the present. Hell, I am terrified to think of the future for those two. I cannot stand any more pain coming from these two right now. I broke down several times while reading this, just thinking about the future on my own. When they started talking about it, holy hell I nearly died. That seems to be the theme with me and these books. I cannot stop myself from heavily investing my feelings into this series, and as a result I end up half dead by the end of the book.
They really seem like different people from the first three books. I’m not liking it and I hope it goes back to the way it was. Claire is still the doctor, but she seems so alone in this book. Before, she always had Jamie right next to her, so she was never, ever alone. Now, they don’t seem as tied together. Claire is bold, but doesn’t stress herself to being bold anymore. It is hard for me to put into words all the changes she went through. Jamie is hot headed, and runs off emotions more than thinking. Before, he would think everything through, and he’d come up with a way to go and do it, but he thought first. This book he just does everything based on a moments decision. Jamie is more the same person than Claire, just a bit ravaged by time. Maybe it is because they are over 20 years older than they were in book one. They are different people, technically. It just.. leaves me feeling a bit sad.
Brianna is spoiled rotten, and doesn’t seem to really do anything except for herself all book. I became really annoyed with her by the end. I have the same problems with her as I did with Claire in book one. She just throws herself into the past (at least Brianna was warned this time and knew what she was getting into), and then suffers absolutely no culture shock. No matter how much you prepare to go back to the 1760s, you’re going to be shocked by a lot of things, I don’t give a shit who you are. In fact, in one scene she tells herself She ought to feel guilty at being waited on by slaves, she thought drowsily. She must remember to, later.. I really don’t care for Brianna much, I was more happy for Jamie that he got to meet her, than I cared about her getting to meet him.
Roger on the other hand, I really like. He throws himself in, not for himself, but for her. He is in a rough spot, with no planning involved, and goes through a hell of a lot. By the end of the book he is a completely different person than he was at the beginning. He has to make a lot of hard decisions this book. This was not a good trip for him. I honestly don’t understand why he likes Brianna so much.
Gabaldon is still such a tease, though. I want more magic. Just traveling through the stones works, but it feels like there is so much more there to know. In fact, she keeps adding more things on to this system she set up. It is still such a damn tease. Otherwise, the story building takes an interesting direction. For the first time, the past and present were interwoven together in the same part. I really liked that! Especially since America started off so, so slowly this book. Seriously, the beginning of this book is unbelievably slow. Eventually, the book started to come together, but that beginning was hard for me. I actually really enjoyed the book once they settled down. I really didn’t need all the drama in the later half of the book to keep me interested in this story! I would have rather gone without it, to be perfectly honest.
I have to say though. I’m really, really tired of all the rape. I’m not one to complain about it in stories, it is something that happens in real life, why wouldn’t it happen in fiction. However, every time the story seems to settle, in comes another rape. I’m really just growing tired of it, and hope she moves away from it soon.
If Gabaldon weren’t such an amazing storyteller, this story would be rated lower. As is, this is still such an amazing story that while I complain about parts of it, I still love all of it. That is how good a writer she is. I can overlook a lot of things because it is still told so well.
I miss Scotland, I miss home.
To read more reviews for this series, check out the Outlander series page!