Saturday, 28 May 2016

Review: A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon

Title: A Breath of Snow and Ashes
Series: Outlander #6
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Publisher: Arrow
Pages: 1424
Genres: Historical Fantasy, Time-Travel

A Breath of Snow and Ashes

The long fuse of rebellion has already been lit.

It's 1772, the Royal Colony of North Carolina, and the governor calls upon Jamie Fraser to unite the backcountry and preserve the colony for King and Crown.

One minor problem: Jamie Fraser's wife, Claire, is a time-traveller, as are his daughter and son-in-law. And Jamie knows that three years hence, the shot heard round the world will be fired, and the end of it all will be independence - with those loyal to the King either dead or in exile.

Beyond present danger, though, looms the threat of a tiny clipping from the Wilmington Gazette, dated 1776, which reports the destruction of the house on Fraser's Ridge and the death by fire of James Fraser and all his family. For once, Jamie Fraser hopes the time-travelers in his family are wrong about the future. But only time will tell.
This is the sixth book in the Outlander series and I am finding it so hard to articulate my feelings about it.

First things first, A Breath of Snow and Ashes was an improvement compared to the previous book, The Fiery Cross; the pacing was a bit quicker (albeit still slow) and there was a lot more action and drama. The story roughly chronicles the years 1773-1776, with most of the book concerned with Jamie and Claire's continuing lives on the ridge and unsurprisingly some parts were slow; pages upon pages were also given to the lives and dramas of their friends and neighbours which did get somewhat tiring. Not to mention the repetitive scenes of mundane political correspondence and just general everyday filler which does little to advance the main plot lines. At this point in the series though, you kind of know what you're in for so it didn't bother me too much.

The action though, oh my goodness. So much happens in this book! Kidnappings; rape; further mysteries of gemstones, dreams and gold; character revelations; family secrets; births, murders, deaths and illnesses... it is just absolutely crammed. However, details concerning the politics of the time and the revolution were the least interesting to me.

I really loved Brianna and Jem! Jem provided a lot of comedy and I really liked Brianna's innovative 'hands on' attitude to eighteenth century life. Roger bored me to death in this book with the details of his vocation in life which was awarded too many pages. Claire and Jamie are of course the stars of the whole series and I really am touched by their evolving relationship together. Jamie especially touches my heart for his selfless protective love towards his family and friends.

I really am glad I persevered with the series, especially since The Fiery Cross felt like a slog to get through. A Breath of Snow and Ashes really rewarded the many hours I dedicated to reading it and I would definitely recommend it.

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