Thursday, 22 December 2016

Review: An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon

Title: An Echo in the Bone
Series: Outlander #7
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Publisher: Orion
Pages: 1104
Genres: Historical Fantasy, Time-Travel

The year is 1777. The place, North Carolina. And as the American rebellion grows in intensity, Highlander Jamie Fraser and his wife Claire need to decide which side their family is going to be on.

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.

The choice should be an easy one, given that Claire was born in the twentieth century and has already seen the future - in history books. But things are never simple where the Frasers are concerned, as father and son unwittingly come face to face on the battlefield, and an old adversary reaches forward in time to threaten the next generation.

Up to now, Claire and Jamie's love has survived every danger history has put in their path, but in the chaos of war, with families bitterly divided against each other, is the future finally going to catch up with them?
WARNING: Unpopular opinion time (and may contain spoilers of the previous books).

I feel like I have to preface my review by admitting that I do not give a flying fig about battles that happened during the American revolutionary war. In fact, I really am not interested in the American revolution in general so that probably explains why I was so disappointed in this book. Now that's out of the way...

OMG I have never been so bitterly disappointed in an Outlander book. I'm actually kind of shocked that Diana Gabaldon had the gall to write almost eight hundred pages, just about politics and the Battle of Saratoga. This is not an exaggeration - at the very beginning of the book,  Jamie, Young Ian and Claire are sailing to Scotland to retrieve Jamie's printing press when (can you believe it?) they encounter trouble at sea and have to stay in North America just that bit longer which constitutes the bulk of the book. I should have been expecting it quite frankly, silly me...
Which leads me onto the POVs. William and Lord John Grey are major characters in this book with hundreds of pages lovingly dedicated to their eye-wateringly boring lives. Not to mention, Lord John Grey's viewpoints were so convoluted and confusing to those who have not read his spin off series in it's entirety that it actually made me angry. I resent having to invest in dozens of hours reading a series that I don't like just so I can better understand what the fig is going on in the crossover to  the Outlander series. Just no. However, I really loved Brianna and Roger's chapters, they weren't exactly riveting but miles better than reading about the Battle of Saratoga which made me want to punch myself. 

For the first ever time I actually think I really do not like Jamie and Claire in eighteenth century North America and part of me wishes the author kept them in Europe so then at least Jenny's family could feature a bit more prominently in the story. But I digress.

The best twists happened in the last one hundred pages. What bizarre twists they were too. I particularly did not like what could only be described as Claire's temporary lapse into insanity. For those who have read the book, you know exactly what I am referring to here. 

As for my overall thoughts on this series as a whole, I kind of feel like the story is getting a bit away from Diana now as the plot is just becoming ridiculous. Not only is reading the sex scenes between fifty/sixty-year old Jamie and Claire becoming quite odd for me but honestly, is there an end in sight yet? I just want to know why Jamie's ghost(?) was looking up at Claire in her window in 1945 Scotland, so I will probably carry on reading as I just have to know! I have sympathy for people who have been following Jamie and Claire's story for twenty years, I can't imagine it.

So I guess in essence, due to my disinterest in the American revolution I found An Echo in the Bone really disappointing, the plot twists (when they finally happened) were bizarre and I was left with a strong feeling of déjà vu. The story just feels incredibly tired in this instalment and I am getting quite impatient for a proper ending to the series now.

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