**spoiler alert** I finished the third book in the series and I'm now more than ever convinced that this stuff is literary crack. Some goooood literar**spoiler alert** I finished the third book in the series and I'm now more than ever convinced that this stuff is literary crack. Some goooood literary crack mind you but addicting nonetheless. I'm really enjoying Jamie and Claire's adventures and this book has to have the best reunion scene I've ever read along with some fabulous followups and twists and turns! Whoa. One needs to take a break in between heavy scenes for fear of overload.
Voyager takes place literary right after where Dragonfly in Amber stopped. Claire is still trying to track down Jamie and finally, with Roger and her daughter Bree's help, finds him. The beginning is interesting in the fact that it's sort of parallel. We see Jamie's live as he lives it in the past while his love tracks him down in the future. Poor Jamie still goes through some trials in war torn Scotland after the battle of Culloden still suffers from England's affects after the Jacobite Rising of the '45.
I was zipping through the beginning like crazy in a sleep deprived mind continued to see when Claire made her way through the stones again and to the moment when she see an older Jamie. I couldn't wait to see what they talked about and how they would treat each other. It was very realistic in both were nervous to pick up where they left off. Wonderful stuff. The story then zips along with a bunch of things happening at once and we're (along with Claire) are introduced and re-introduced to side characters that have aged since we last saw them at the beginning of the book. A LOT of things happen that throw our fave couple for a loop including some re-appearances by some savory and unsavory characters alike. Especially our favorite little big mouth who ratted Claire out in Outlander. And tsk tsk tsk on Jamie. I love Jamie, perhaps more than any other literary hero in literature but why!? I spoke with my friend recently and like her I was alternating between wanting to strangle Jamie and kiss him. (Seriously though, that chapter was superb when it all came out). The emotion in these books are immensely wild.
I LOVED the previous two books in the series but I had a few pet peeves in Voyager. I've made this review spoilerific because these are specific instances. Claire kind of got on my nerves comparing herself to every 18th century woman she came across because she was freaking out about being older. (He loved YOU woman, it didn't matter what ya looked like! lol). Plus it's a given she would be in better health considering the modern technological advances where she came from in the 1960s.
Also (said character stereotyping aside) Claire's reference to "the Chinaman" or "Jamie's Pet Chinaman" kind of rubbed me the wrong way. Claire comes from the 60s and I'm pretty sure from her travels she's been acquainted with Chinese people before. So I wasn't sure why she reacted like an 18th century woman.
I wasn't too happy with the Jamie and Geneva situation. I guess I'm a bit selfish in that I only saw Jamie for Claire. But considering he figured the love of his life may never return, he shut down AND he was coerced into it by Geneva. Not to mention there's a convo between him and Claire about the depths a man will go to stave off the dark pit of his loneliness. His family and tenants lives were also on the line, understood but I guess it kind of nagged. I am interested in seeing how Gabaldon picks this up and from the looks of the upcoming book this act and the result of it will be like war itself. Knowing her writing style now, I know she doesn't leave threads hanging and tends to pick them up down the line in one way or another which is always interesting to read.
These few instances aside (and an early throw away line Claire that also bothered me) I liked Voyager as the greater whole of the series but it didn't quite come up to the awesomeness of the first two books although it was good. It took awhile to bring back the same rush, excitement and consuming feeling as Dragonfly in Amber and Outlander especially. At times the characters didn't really seem like themselves based on how we got to know them from the first few books. Claire and Jamie seemed like two other characters with too many secrets held from one another (or maybe just Jamie from Claire) and their actions sometimes seemed a bit odd/out of character. Soon things fell into step and it was just like a continuation of the previous books especially once we got back to Lallybroch.
Voyager was a fun read no doubt and my favorite parts were everything that led up to the reunion and their first love scene. Things started really getting interesting back at Lallybroch and the ride had only just begun then. Towards the end the book turned into adventure mode with pirates, plagues and some bizarre oddities in 18th century Caribbean. I'd probably give this a 3.5 stars if I could. The first two books had a nice balance of lowkey scenes with the high suspense and action sequences while this one felt a little unbalanced especially towards the end. Just as things were advancing between the two characters another plot twist would arise and toss a wrench into everything that it felt a bit uneven. Towards the end more and more bizarre things kept happening that didn't feel like I was in the same world as I started.
Nevertheless, I can't get enough Jamie Fraser cause I'm hooked like a cold water trout.
This is one of those books whose reputation precedes them. I've heard this mentioned over and over in romance forums and also from my fellow authors tThis is one of those books whose reputation precedes them. I've heard this mentioned over and over in romance forums and also from my fellow authors that I knew I had to check it out. Going in I already had so many questions boggling my mind. How did the time travel work in this world? How is it seamed into the contemporary world of the 1940s? How can the heroine, who is already married, run off and marry some dude from the past and brush off her husband?
I was pleasantly surprised as I read through the book. Not only was it engrossing, it was also entertaining. Normally I don't read ginormous tomes as my time is pretty limited. I have to admit once I started on the first few chapters, I kept lamenting over how many pages I had to go to even make a dent in this book. But soon as I kept reading Outlander, I didn't want to stop and my progress didn't matter (although it's still fun to keep track) as much as I wanted to know the characters and their story.
Many have called this a romance even liking it to a Harlequin book. Far from. I like HQN, but this isn't it. To me this is historical fiction with a romantic as a backdrop. Normally a romance would be centered around the hero and heroine who are shown right from the beginning and the relationship is the focus. This book is so much more. It's an adventure, a historical, a family saga, but most of all it's a fabulous tale that spans the ages.
The story begins in 1940s Scotland shortly after WWII. Claire is on her second honeymoon accompanying her husband Frank to the highlands of Scotland on a research trip after spending time away serving as a wartime nurse. During their highland travels, Frank traces his family lineage and much of the traditions and history of Scotland is revealed through their finds. Looking back, some of it is a great setup for what we are shown through Claire's journey back in time.
During one of her walks, Claire runs into a mysterious stone circle with ancient elements called Craigh Na Dun. There her journey truly begins.
I really got into the world and found myself fascinated as Clare was. Gabaldon writes the story as a well researched adventure. I cringed at the harsh punishments and somewhat wild nature of the time. The author really showed the world contrasted from 40s Scotland from the clothing and style, right down to the speech patterns of the people who lived there. It didn't bother me to read the accents and the author's voice is so strong that I could hear their voices (even Claire's) clearly in my head.
I can see why the 'hero' of the story, Jamie Fraser, is well loved by many readers. He's a romantic, eager, noble and honorable character with a complexity that is rarely explored in novels. The fact that he was a virginal hero made it all the more interesting and even more rare. There's a rawness about Jamie and his developing feelings for Claire. I love the way Gabaldon shows the very basic human emotions in a way that the reader identifies and sympathizes with exactly what the character is going through. It clashes with his moments of outrage and then brings us right around to sympathy when we learn of his upbringing. This character skill is matched only by the author's amazing descriptions of time and setting that makes the reader feel as if they are right there in the middle of the story with the characters. Jamie is considered by most to be 'perfect' and in a lot of ways he is as we see how he speaks straight from the heart. Despite what he has seen in his life, he is consumed by the life for his wife which brings out the strong romantic hero in him. But he is very much with flaws due to his anger and stubbornness. Gabaldon gives enough of this complexity to make him real without going over the top.
That said, I'd have to say the antagonist in this piece Captain Jack Randall is a revolting character and is probably one of the most evil and complex villains I've come across in my reading. Kudos to the author for throwing in the twist in connection with Claire's (first) husband. The description when Claire meets him and is subject to his cruelties (which was pretty gut wrenching) was all the more disturbing as she realizes the man before her bared much resemblance to her husband though very much lacking his warmth and sensitivity. This reader felt empathetic to Claire's shocking situation because it was universally human. I couldn't wait until Randall got his comeuppance and wanted so much for it to be at the hands of either Jamie or Claire.
Before I read Outlander I heard about a certain scene that made me cringe right away. Let me tell you it was nothing compared to reading the ordeal it had on the character during and after. It had been a long time before since a book had me in years and I was definitely sympathizing here. I was confused when it was 're-enacted' and was still thinking of it the next day as I realized the depths one would go to bring someone they love from mental anguish.
Normally I don't like first person because it traps the audience in the main character's mind and feels so limiting. I didn't have this problem with Outlander. Claire is a very intelligent and perceptive woman and the way she describes other characters, you get a picture of who and how they are right away. Especially with Jamie's character you know exactly what he's thinking and how he's feeling even in the moments where he dismisses his feelings or tries to hide them. I love his storytelling scenes because they add so much to his character and we see where he's coming from.
There are some pretty sensual love scenes in here. Not in the sense of being crass or crude but very sensual and sexy while being highly emotional. I prefer sensual romance over erotica and the scenes were effective in showing how the characters were feeling during the act indeed. They were raw with passion because they are described as very human and universal in their impact. Never did I feel it was there just to stimulate the audience.
All in all I LOVE this book. It's been a while since I read a book where I can really lose myself in the setting, characters and story and Outlander hit all the right spots. This is definitely going on my keeper shelf to reread over and over again. I can't wait to dive into the next book! ...more