Thirteen years and God only knows how many re-reads later, I still enjoy this book immensely. The story is engaging, the characters interesting and weThirteen years and God only knows how many re-reads later, I still enjoy this book immensely. The story is engaging, the characters interesting and well-rounded, and the descriptions of time and place are evocative. Scotland, sex, political intrigue and time-travel. What more could you really want? The number of negative reviews I've seen of this book surprise me, especially the ones complaining of Jamie's treatment of Claire. Folks, this book is a HISTORICAL NOVEL. One cannot realistically hold the characters to 21st century standards of behaviour and attitude. Why should authors apply current cultural mores to other periods of history? I'm glad Diana Gabaldon does not do this. Her characters may be imperfect, and their attitudes may create conflict, but that just makes them all the more wonderfully real. The audio book, which I listened to this time, is excellent, but I found myself somewhat uncomfortable listening to sex scenes in company with the SO....more
Much as I love Outlander, I love this book more. Maybe it's that it was the first book in this series that I read, back when I was 17. Maybe it's justMuch as I love Outlander, I love this book more. Maybe it's that it was the first book in this series that I read, back when I was 17. Maybe it's just that I love Roger Wakefield McKenzie more than Jamie Fraser. Blasphemy, I know, but Roger is an historian and a folk singer just like me. Whatever it is, this is a fabulous book. I love that it starts in a completely different place than the first book leaves off, with the 20th century story of Claire, her daughter Brianna, and Roger bracketing the 18th century story of political intrigue and ultimate tragedy that was the Scottish Rising of 1745. Jamie and Claire fight to stem the tide of history and save the people they care for, and break their own hearts in the process. But there is more to the story than tragedy; there's romance, humour, history, and, as I mentioned, political intrigue. There are also numerous wonderful characters, both historical and fictional, including the Auld Fox (Simon Fraser, chieftan of clan Fraser), the Comte Saint-Germain, Master Raymond the apothecary, Fergus the French pickpocket, and the deliciously sinister and twisted Black Jack Randall. If you enjoy your history liberally spiced with sex, backstairs gossip, dry wit and dashing Highlanders, it doesn't get much better than this!...more
I love this book every bit as much as I love Dragonfly in Amber. The strange thing? The part I love is not necessarily the reunion between Jamie and CI love this book every bit as much as I love Dragonfly in Amber. The strange thing? The part I love is not necessarily the reunion between Jamie and Claire following their twenty-year separation (though Gabaldon of course does ample justice to it). What I really love is the whole first half of the book, where Claire, Brianna, and Roger follow Jamie through 18th century record, history, and legend to discover how he survived the battle of Culloden, and what happened to him in the years following. The narrative shifts back and forth from the 20th century to Jamie's adventures in the 18th. In the course of these adventures, Jamie encounters Lord John Grey, possibly my favourite character in the entire series, and the two embark on an odd, but ultimately deep, friendship. The first half of the book speeds through Jamie's experiences of twenty years, as well as highlighting some of Claire's life with Frank, raising Jamie's daughter Brianna. The second half of the book covers a little more than four months, from Claire and Jamie's reunion through arson, smuggling, mysterious treasure, family problems, piracy on the high seas, the British Navy, the Caribbean, murder, shipwreck, Chinese medicine, slavery, voodoo, witchcraft, and of course time travel. The only thing I can say against the book is that Claire grates on me sometimes. I never noticed when I was younger, but that woman can be bloody unreasonable at times, and seems to be more than ready to believe the worst of the man she loves, for whom she has killed, and for whom she crossed two centuries. But apart from these brief but annoying outbursts from the main character, this is a fine book with much to recommend it....more
In the fourth book of the Outlander series, Jamie and Claire establish themselves in the mountains of 1760's North Carolina. The story chronicles theIn the fourth book of the Outlander series, Jamie and Claire establish themselves in the mountains of 1760's North Carolina. The story chronicles the building of their homestead, the gathering of a new community, and their relations with local native tribes. Meanwhile in the 20th century, Roger and Brianna make a terrible discovery which sends them separately into the past in a desperate attempt to change history. Three separate storylines are linked by blood, love, and the danger of an insidious pirate with the power to wreck havoc in all their lives. There is a lot to love in this book, especially in terms of character development, and America colonial history. I very much enjoy seeing different combinations of characters thrown together for the first time, and discovering how well they work together. A whole new cast of characters are introduced for the new world, including the charming but dangerous Stephen Bonnet, Jamie's sly Aunt Jocasta, and Ottertooth, a native man with a mysterious connection to Claire. We also see the return of the ever-wonderful Lord John Grey, and the beginning of the series of unfortunate events that is Roger's life in the 18th century. Not my favourite book in the series, but definitely enjoyable and often moving....more
I completely take back anything I ever said about the "Circle" books being for younger readers than Tammy's Tortall books. There's no sex in this one,I completely take back anything I ever said about the "Circle" books being for younger readers than Tammy's Tortall books. There's no sex in this one, but drugs and bloody, "on-screen" violence are major plot elements.
Set four years after the first series, the four young mages have parted company, three of them leaving Winding Circle Temple with their teachers to travel and learn more about the world. Sandry has stayed behind to look after her uncle, Duke Vedris, who has recently suffered a heart attack.
The story contains two plotlines: The primary plot involves the murders of a family of merchants, while the secondary plot deals with Sandry's discovery of a young mage, Pasco Acalon, whose magic manifests itself through dance. As his discoverer, Sandry is required to teach the boy the rudiments of magic, at the same time that she attempts to assist the Provost's Guard in tracking down the assassins and the mage who helps them. Pasco doesn't take part in the primary plot until the very end of the book, and when he does, he is more of a tool than a character thinking and acting for himself.
The first time I read this book, I was bored by it, and now I am not sure why. The only reason I can think is that, once again, Tammy has departed from familiar territory, and only the characters of Sandry, the Duke and Lark carry over from the previous series. The other members of the Circle are mentioned, but not seen or heard from at all. The story also takes place over the space of about a week. Still, not a bad story, and I am actually looking forward to reading the next one, which I've never opened before....more
When I was 13 years old, I discovered the glorious Tamora Pierce through her "Song of the Lioness" quartet, which were, at the time, the only books shWhen I was 13 years old, I discovered the glorious Tamora Pierce through her "Song of the Lioness" quartet, which were, at the time, the only books she had published. "The Immortals" quartet came out while I was in high school, but I never connected with Daine as a heroine in the visceral way I did with Alanna, though I can appreciate why other people enjoy her. I never even touched "The Protector of the Small" until I was an adult in grad school.
The first couple of times I read the series, I read it quickly. I enjoyed the books and I liked Kel, but I didn't give them a whole lot of thought. I went on to read all of Tammy's other series after that: The "Trickster" duology, the "Provost's Dog" trilogy, and all the Circle of Magic books, but Alanna remained my first love, and I was fiercely loyal to her.
Now, though, I am older. I have learned to understand the world in new ways. I am re-reading Tammy's books more slowly, and savouring each of them as I go, thinking about the things that she is trying to tell us, and I've come to an important conclusion: I've changed my mind, and I think I'm a big enough person to admit it.
Alanna will always have a special place in my heart, but these are the books I want my niece to read more than any others when she is old enough. I think there are so many important life-lessons here that girls just aren't hearing from enough places, and I think Tammy and Kel are the right women for the job of teaching them.
The Big Bad here isn't an evil Duke, or a power-hungry Emperor; it's a society which insists that boys must be one way and girls must be another, and that anyone who transgresses those boundaries, no matter whether they are kind, hard-working, or just, deserves whatever punishment they get.
If you know a twelve-year-old girl, consider giving her these books. Hell, a twelve-year-old boy can learn a lot about respecting girls and women here, too, if you think those are important things for him to know (hint: you should). And if you believe YA fantasy is all fluff without substance, here are four books that will prove you wrong....more