Crystal Starr Light's Reviews > Voyager

Voyager by Diana Gabaldon
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Sep 12, 12

bookshelves: historical, hello-my-name-is-mary-sue, what-the-hell-did-i-just-read
Read from August 24 to September 12, 2012

When we last saw Claire and Jaime and the gang, Claire had just finished telling her story about Jaime and Scotland to her daughter, Brianna, and a researcher, Roger. They decide to find out what happened to Jaime. Apparently, he did NOT die in the Battle of Culloden...but is he still alive in the 1760's? And does Claire want to leave behind her life in the 1960's--including her beloved daughter--to return to a man who may not love her anymore?

The Outlander series has been an emotional roller coaster ride for me. I wasn't a big fan of Outlander, but I figured I'd give Dragonfly in Amber a chance. WOW, that book was amazing, and it ended on one helluva cliffhanger. Pretty much since then, I have been ITCHING to start reading "Voyager"--the biggest drawback has been (besides nabbing an audiobook version from the library) the length.

Well, I finally had a chance (between all the Book Club books I've been reading) so I jumped upon the chance to listen to Davina Porter transport me back to Claire and Scotland and Jaime...only what I ended up getting was certainly not what I was expecting.

I see it this way: if you go into this expecting just about anything to happen, you will do fine. If you don't mind voodoo magic, racist portrayals of all races, lots of lying between a couple that supposedly loves and trusts one another, and a 15 year old boy kidnapped and raped by a much older woman, then you will probably find this book up your alley. Unfortunately, that was not what I was expecting.

Part of what bothered me were the characters themselves. You would think when a person ages, that person would become more confident in themselves, more stubborn and less likely to take crap from people. But I didn't find Claire to be that way at all. Instead, she puts up with things I wouldn't have even bothered with (more in a bit). And Claire sure makes her decision to time hop back to the 18th century easily. Isn't there a conflict about the way women are treating back then in comparison to how she is treated in the 1960's? Isn't she afraid or worried about losing her life or identity? By the way it doesn't even cross her mind, I guess not, it's all about a man and being back with him. Jaime has always been a protective husband, but here he blatantly lies or withholds the truth from Claire. He comes across as domineering, jealous, and hypocritical. Oh, yeah, and everyone wants him, INCLUDING MEN. Brianna is such a Mary Sue. Beautiful hair, long legs, spitfire, "smart", can charm people without even having to work at it, bland personality. Practically every male gets a hard-on just looking for her. Frank turns into Cheater McAdulterer@$$. Not that I exactly blame him; he and Claire had a very rocky relationship, one that she didn't exactly help along. There is a Mr. Willoughby, a Chinese male who is hideously stereotyped. And I'm not saying that the characters say stereotypical or racist things about him; no, his entire CHARACTER is one racial stereotype after another. EMBARRASSING. There were loads and loads of other characters, but honestly, I can barely remember them (or their character seemed pointless).

Now, I will say I do like how Claire and Jaime are having these adventures and they aren't some young teenaged punks. They are mature adults, in their forties/fifties. That's awesome and I highly applaud this move. However, I doubt that a 50-year-old Claire would be THAT highly desired by nearly every male she comes across.

One of the things that drove me most nuts was the Jaime/Claire relationship. The problem I had with it was this: Jaime and Claire have been apart for 20 years, and yet they barely spend any time getting to know each other again or having ANY problems getting back together. They have an awkward night together, have amazing sex, and POW! They are an item. I would think that after 20 years, they would have changed drastically--maybe they were more or less serious, or had different interests, or had grown more mature. But it doesn't seem that either Jaime or Claire had to struggle much to "get" the other.

And this leads into the next part: Jaime lies or withholds the truth on at least TWO occasions and both times Claire swallows the apology and moves on with barely a blip. The first time this happens, Jaime doesn't tell Claire that he has a wife. This isn't a mere oversight; he spends quite a few days with her, and she has to find out when his second wife bursts into his home at Lallybroch. They have a brief spat, she leaves, he gets shot, she runs back, they kiss and make up, happily ever after. NO! This is UNACCEPTABLE. He should NOT LIE ABOUT A SECOND WIFE. No matter how much he didn't "LOVE" her or some bull.

The second incident is about Jaime's son, Willy. That is yet another blowout that Claire learns AGAIN from someone else. And yet AGAIN, barely a blip, and then Claire and Jaime are back to clawing at each other's clothes.

And lastly, you mean to tell me these two people, who spent TWENTY YEARS apart, didn't find ONE SINGLE PERSON in those twenty years to FALL IN LOVE with and marry? I know that Gabaldon was trying to make it seem like the love Jaime and Claire had for each other was eternal and blah blah blah, but geesh, I just don't buy it. I can't imagine that Claire would have remained chaste for twenty years (what was up with the Frank/Claire intimate scene after Brianna's birth? Did they reconcile or no?). Same for Jaime.

Plotwise, be open for anything to happen. And I mean ANYTHING. I'm talking shipwrecks (at least two), ocean-crossings, seasickness, VOODOO CEREMONIES AND TALKING TO BRIANNA FROM BEYOND TIME, child rape, a child being kidnapped, imprisonment, smuggling, piracy, a slave trade market (including a HORRIBLE HORRIBLE scene proving the "breeding qualities" of a black man--absolutely DREADFUL), drunken and high priests, everyone and his mother knowing Jaime or being from Scotland, plucky prostitutes, and more. Honestly, I had no idea what would happen at any time, because Gabaldon would just pick something out of the Plot Ideas Hat and toss it into the mix.

And final pet peeve, I swear. A good portion of this novel involves Jaime and Claire racing to the Caribbean to find the missing Ian, their nephew. Only, they have plenty of time to bumble around, getting Fergus and his wife married, cavorting with drunken priests and more WHILE A CHILD IS BEING MOLESTED. And the worst part is, Jaime and Claire rarely seem to be that affected by this. They don't worry about what is happening to Ian. They don't stay up late at night, wondering where he is and what to do. No, instead, it's business as usual--hijinks and adventure and plenty of hot, hot, hot sex to boot.

I know this has been harsh review, and I really hate to be this way, particularly about a book that I was so anticipating. But I can't help but be honest about how the book affected me. I really did want to like--no, love--this book. I was excited to go back to Scotland. I was chomping at the bit to have Claire and Jaime reunite. And if I hadn't cared about the story, about the characters, I don't think I would have bothered so much with this review.

This book (series) has loads of fans; if you've already read the first two books, then I do recommend reading this, just so you can see Jaime and Claire reunite. And hey, you may end up liking this more than I did. And even though I didn't much care for this book, I'm still gonna give Drums of Autumn a chance--eventually.
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Reading Progress

1.0% "I'm back, visiting Jaime and Claire! God, I LOVE Davina Porter! You are an AMAZING narrator!"
2.0% "Eh, hurry up and let's get back to Jaime. (Can you tell it's a Brianna scene?)"
4.0% "Okay, there's Claire's First person POV in the 1940's. Then there is Roger's Third person POV in the 1970's. And now we also have a Jaime Third person POV set back in the 18th century. My mind might just explode, trying to handle all these timelines." 10 comments
5.0% ""...his lips fastened softly on my nipple...His mouth was soft, gentle in its pressure, nothing like the relentless grasp of a baby's hard, toothless gums that fasten on like grim death." How do I keep finding these books where guys suckle on pregnant women's breasts? I guess this is sexier than Jondalar and Ayla, but it still makes me feel...awkward." 15 comments
5.0% ""She didn't do or say anything so out of the ordinary, and yet Brianna, undeniably, drew people. There was some attraction about her, almost magnetic, that drew everyone near into the glow of her orbit." Mary Sue qualities on this character are starting to soar. Brianna, get some flaws STAT." 7 comments
7.0% "Back with Jaime! Oddly enough, the sections I'm liking most are the ones with Claire, baby Brianna, and Frank."
8.0% "OH! Poor Fergus! His hand! (Can't say that Gabaldon sugarcoats her story :P )"
10.0% "I'm always so pleasantly surprised to be reading these books and seeing what an amazing character Claire is. Strong, independent on her own, without collapsing against her hunk of meat, and yet, she communicates with her husband(s?), works out problems, etc. FANTASTIC stuff."
12.0% "This must be the Lord John Grey that has his own series. And another POV. My head is swimming." 7 comments
21.0% "Seems like we are sticking with one time period - Jaime, 1755 (or so). I'm actually rather grateful; I am finding myself having a hard time staying focused and interested." 3 comments
21.0% "A part of me is saying I should be mad at Jaime for sleeping with someone other than Claire. But the more predominant part is relief that he has (though of course, he doesn't love this other woman). And I am actually so pleased at how frank and honest this sex scene is, instead of flowery and purply."
31.0% "YAY!!! Jaime and Claire are back in the same time!!!"
31.0% "Conflicted. Am I happy that Jaime and Claire are back together or am I frustrated that neither of them fell in love with someone else in the 20 years apart? I can't really be angry with Frank, as his reaction makes sense, but it seems weird that BOTH Jaime and Claire, 20 years later, are single and available. And while I understand WHY Brianna would be sad at her mother leaving, it comes off as whining."
35.0% "The only way this "Chinaman" can get more racist is if Mickey Rooney played him. And all these hijinks with the prostitutes? Come on!!"
44.0% "This is one crazy book. Smuggling, pirating, printing house burnings, prostitutes, runaway boys showing up in brothels, racist portrayals of Chinese...who would have thought I would get this from an Outlander book?? And yeah, not buying that Jaime would do business with a brothel and not "trade", if you catch my meaning..."
49.0% "WHAT?!?!!! Jaime's MARRIED??? Why the f@#$ didn't he tell Claire like 3 discs ago?!!?!!" 2 comments
49.0% "“It smelled of the two of us, and the faint musky lingerings of our Pleasure.” I canNOT hear the word "Pleasure" in context to sex anymore and NOT want to capitalize it, not after the Earth's Children series." 5 comments
50.0% "And it's okay for Jaime to lie about his wife because he was angry that he sent Claire back to Frank, who spent the last 20 years boning her, and he loooooves Claire and can't bear to think of her in bed with another man. Excuse me, I have a wall I need to bash my head into." 6 comments
51.0% "In the words of Claire "JHC!" You have GOT to be f@#$ing kidding me! Jaime is now DYING from a gunshot wound, thus forcing Claire to return to heal his wounds?"
51.0% "And now Claire blames herself for causing a rift between Jaime and his sister over the whole "Other Wife" business. I think I need to listen to some music now...this is making me mad."
59.0% "Sooooo...the entire plot of this book is basically correcting a mistake Jaime made? I'm not opposed to finding the treasure of the first part, but I'd rather not have it be the MacGuffin for the stupid "I'm married but didn't bother to tell you" part."
64.0% "Fergus gets married to Jaime's 2nd wife's daughter. I think this book could almost be renamed "Jaime's Crazy Family"."
69.0% "So Claire and Jaime are trying to rescue Ian who got kidnapped. They are sailing in a boat (with Jaime near constantly seasick) and are now listening to Willoughby (AKA Mickey Rooney Chinaman) tell his story. At least things have calmed down a wee bit." 1 comment
72.0% "Jaime and Claire arrive in the Caribbean. It's sad they aren't in Scotland anymore (No more Jenny and Ian?? No more Lallybroch???), but at least that whole second marriage thing is in the past and I can try to forget about it."
75.0% "Boy, Claire meets up with the weirdest people. And Jaime's name sure gets around..."
75.0% "I had to relisten to some parts because it switched POVs on me. It went from shipwrecked Claire to Jaime, snuck on board the Porpoise, trying to find his wife. I never thought this book would become Pirates of the Caribbean ;)"
76.0% "Listening to Jaime and Claire discuss what they will do to each other when they make love and generally talk dirty makes me appreciate an author who has characters act like grown-ups about their sex lives. (I think I'm far enough away from the Second Wife Thing to start enjoying this like I was with "Dragonfly".)"
77.0% "How do they have any hope that Ian is not dead? Seems an awful lot of effort to find someone in a day and age where disappearing people weren't uncommon."
78.0% "A slave market. What is happening... *jaw drops*" 3 comments
83.0% "Classic scene where Claire tries to go down on Jaime, but then someone comes to talk to Jaime and then *chuckles* won't leave him alone to get some sexing. Oh, and apparently people are kidnapping Scottish boys for the lulz, which they find out from Ishmael, another black slave...seriously, this book is WILD. I can't predict ANYTHING."
85.0% "It just hit me: a CHILD (15 year old) IS FREAKING MISSING! Where is the fear, the urgency, the despair, the anguish? It's like Claire and Jaime are investigating some goofy mystery (and getting into HIlarious hijinks) where THEIR OWN NEPHEW isn't MISSING. A BOY. COME ON."
87.0% "WAHT?!?!?!!?? Jaime went gay for Lord John?!!?? HUH???? I don't think that's how it works!! AND ONLY NOW CLAIRE IS FINDING OUT ABOUT WILLY?!!??!! Gimme a two-by-four, I have a Scott I need to smack!!" 7 comments
90.0% "Geelie's back. Apparently she "likes little boys". That went somewhere I did NOT want to go. Oh and she's super fat now. And the Bad Guy. *rolls eyes* (And Claire is like in her 50's and is attracting attention from men half her age.) At least we get a little more info about the time-traveling aspect." 2 comments
95.0% "What the flying F@#$ is a voodoo ceremony (complete with killing a CROCODILE!!) doing in an Outlander novel?!?!! Did I switch and start reading Anita Blake without knowing?! And WTF is with the Brianna speaking to Claire across time?! I think my brain just about exploded...excuse me, while I try to pick up the pieces."
97.0% "And they finally found Ian. The child. Who was in the grips of a murderous crazy woman. And the showdown could have been in an Anita Blake book. I feel exhausted. It took you THAT LONG to find this POOR BOY?!!?? If you love this boy SO MUCH, why the f@#$ didn't you try harder to find him, instead of getting into fights with slavers and chuckling with drunk Fathers?"
98.0% "And it's official. Geelie raped Ian. While Claire and Jaime are off having hijinks, chatting it up with drunken Fathers or getting Fergus married, Ian is being raped. I just... *shakes head*" 4 comments
99.0% "And they are shipwrecked. Again. This has got to be the third time this book."

Comments (showing 1-11 of 11) (11 new)

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

I read these books so long ago I barely remember them. I think I stopped at Drums of Autumn, though; people kept warning me that every book is longer than the previous one but covers a shorter and shorter span of time, so eventually there's a Ulysses-style 800 page brick that only covers one day. Maybe it was Drums of Autumn. No clue.

Karla (Mossy Love Grotto) My regrets about never picking these books up become smaller and smaller with every review like this. :P

I love trashy soap operas like this, but in more digestible sizes thx. These sounds increddddddddibly self-indulgent rambling fanfiction of the author's own stuff.

Carol Storm The problem with Diana Gabaldon is she's a genius. And geniuses often do stupid, outlandish things that a less talented author would know better than to attempt. But getting annoyed with her books is like getting annoyed with life. A lot of times it's horrible, but then, the good stuff is better than anything you can imagine!

Karla (Mossy Love Grotto) I could say the same thing about Colleen McCullough. ;)

Carol Storm Fair enough, Karla! Hopefully someday we can find a really great author we both agree on. How do you feel about Mary Balogh? ;-)

Karla (Mossy Love Grotto) Never read her. Not sure if I'd like her or not...but I've got a few on the TBR to try sometime.

Carol Storm She's really good . . . but it's pure romance without any rough edges. Not at all like those old Rosemary Rogers novels where there's plenty of blood and guts along with all the sex!

Crystal Starr Light Madame X wrote: "I read these books so long ago I barely remember them. I think I stopped at Drums of Autumn, though; people kept warning me that every book is longer than the previous one but covers a shorter and ..."

Hoooo boy...I knew these books were long, but dayum. If I plan on continuing, I'll be looking at more 36+ hour long audiobooks :P

Karla (Mossy Love Grotto) wrote: "My regrets about never picking these books up become smaller and smaller with every review like this. :P

I love trashy soap operas like this, but in more digestible sizes thx. These sounds incredd..."

That's kinda how I felt. There was just sooooooo muuuuuuch going on that I completely forgot about a kidnapped boy!

Lily wrote: "The problem with Diana Gabaldon is she's a genius. And geniuses often do stupid, outlandish things that a less talented author would know better than to attempt. But getting annoyed with her books ..."

Gabaldon is a great writer; I mean, she wrote the characters that I fell in love with (Claire, Jaime, Fergus, Jenny, etc.). I guess every author tries to do something new and exciting; sometimes it works (for some people) and sometimes it doesn't (for some people).

Carol Storm See my comment above about how geniuses can be really annoying!

message 10: by Leah (new) - rated it 4 stars

Leah Steele I liked drums of autumn much more than voyager. I had some of your same gripes but still enjoyed the ride. I consumed these all in audiobook format as well, and I just have to say that Davina Porter completely owns these titles. I don't think I would've enjoyed them nearly as much without her lending her incredible talent to the task.

Crystal Starr Light I am really glad you enjoyed this; I wonder if maybe I hadn't had my expectations so high, I might have enjoyed this even more.

Davina Porter is amazing. I didn't mention it in the review, but she IS Claire to me. And I love how she does the accents--if I were reading the actual book, I would have so much trouble understanding what Jaime and the other Scots were saying!!

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