Carla's Reviews > Dragonfly in Amber

Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
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bookshelves: not-own, 2008
Read 2 times. Last read April 8, 2008.

Having enjoyed the first volume of this series, I was expecting something good of this one, so I'm a bit sad it didn't match my expectations.

First, because in the first and final parts, the point of view jumps around from first person (Claire) to third person, due to the fact that we follow another character and Claire isn't always there. The problem is that this character does almost nothing but notice how Claire is so beautiful and wonderful... Second, the book drags a bit in some parts. Third, the flashback idea is nice, but it loses when during the reading you think "well, she's telling this story to her daughter, so obviously she survives all this..."

So, we find ourselves in 1968, Claire and her daughter are in Scotland and the first thinks this is the chance to tell the truth about what happened to her, 20 years before. We go on a long flashback, this one told only from Claire's point of view, picking up where the first volume left us. We follow Claire and Jamie in Paris who, knowing what History will tell, try to avoid a massacre in case Charles Edward Stuart (also known as "Bonnie Prince Charlie" and pretender to the English throne) is able to reach Scotland and take his quest forward. As the first book, the story's rhythm is somewhat slow, enabling us to get to know the French court and the politics behind History. But, if this was pulled nicely on the previous volume, the same doesn't happen here, making the book dull and dragging where there was no need. It was easy to put it down and find excuses to not pick it up again.

The end was interesting though and was left open since there's another book... which I will not pick up so soon, as I need a rest from this.
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Reading Progress

February 4, 2008 – Shelved
Started Reading
April 8, 2008 – Finished Reading
April 9, 2008 – Shelved as: not-own
July 17, 2011 – Shelved (Paperback Edition)
July 17, 2011 – Shelved as: own (Paperback Edition)
July 17, 2011 – Shelved as: portuguese (Paperback Edition)
November 1, 2011 – Shelved as: 2008
April 30, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read-book (Paperback Edition)
September 10, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read (Paperback Edition)
December 31, 2018 – Started Reading (Paperback Edition)
January 1, 2019 –
page 70
6.99% (Paperback Edition)
January 14, 2019 –
page 296
29.57% (Paperback Edition)
January 24, 2019 –
page 465
46.45% (Paperback Edition)
January 28, 2019 –
page 917
91.61% (Paperback Edition)
January 30, 2019 – Shelved as: 2019 (Paperback Edition)
January 30, 2019 – Finished Reading (Paperback Edition)

Comments Showing 1-37 of 37 (37 new)

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Rachel I felt the same here. But the third book seems to be much faster and more interesting, so far.

Melissa Agreed and agreed. With both of you. :)

Erin so agreed! I guess I like Jaime rugged and in the wilderness ;)

message 4: by Amie (new) - added it

Amie Menefee I'm glad I'm not the only one that is/has struggled with the 2nd book. .. kinda want I hate series. ..

Jennifer I am right there with you all. I read the first book in a matter of days and this second book I just can not get through. I find myself putting it down a lot and now I am even thinking of reading something else as a break fron the book. Here's to hoping I can finish it soon.

Erin Tacheny Felt the EXACT same reaction. I took forever to read this book, but gobbled up the first one. I am going to take a break before diving into the third.

Carla I've waited awhile to pick the third one and enjoyed it a lot better than this one. I'm also not a fan of the fourth and am struggling to pick up the fifth book.

Christine Goebert Had no problem reading this at all. Enjoyed all the characters and know its back and forth. Probably all the books r like that. Again, different strokes for different folks.

message 9: by Tracey (new)

Tracey I'm finding Claire annoying...
For someone who is portrayed as intelligent and practical, she is beyond stupid in manner and actions in book 2 so far. And that's with BOTH ends of the timeline. After the first near death by being burnt at the stake as a witch experience, would one not comport oneself with a little more discretion? And after the countless other displays of the fear and superstition every damn person about you regards ANYTHING out of the ordinary, can you still be surprised when bad shit happens?
I love the Jamie character so much, that the fact he holds HER in high esteem is not going to make me think less of him.... But it's close! Lol

Vanessa  Eden Patton I have seriously struggled with this one too. I am craving outlander but I will get thru this one. I hope it gets better! I am not interested in all the politics. I wish it would have been a lil later so Marie Antoinette could have been at court
tht would have been interesting.

Vanessa  Eden Patton Tracy I agree! after the witch trial and then to go to the harbor and diagnos people with small picks
didn't she learn anything from history or her past experiences! enough with doctoring everyone! she has caused needless trouble because of wanting to cure the whole world!

message 12: by Amanda (new) - added it

Amanda Is the third one any better? Does anyone recommend it? I thought first one was really good but I agree with everyone above.

Carla Amanda wrote: "Is the third one any better? Does anyone recommend it? I thought first one was really good but I agree with everyone above."

I enjoyed the third one. It has nice parts between the characters and some funny moments.

Leaha Wheeler I agree that this book is no where near as exciting as the first. Jamie has a little more sophistication in this installment - I loved him wild & forceful with a touch of innocence. I hope that Jamie has not disappeared forever or I might be tempted to abandon the whole series!

message 15: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Anne My question to you, is it worth finishing?

message 16: by Erin (new) - rated it 4 stars

Erin Melissa wrote: "My question to you, is it worth finishing?"

Myself I felt it really picked up near the end again and almost made me want to go right into the third as I felt it had finally gotten to what I was waiting for. I also really enjoyed the third one. So keep going :)

message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

I totally agree. I cannot get myself to pick it up again. It's so boring. But I received the entire series as a Christmas gift last year, so I feel like I must plod on. Does it get any better? Or should I just skip to the end and start the next volume?

Carla Erin wrote: "Melissa wrote: "My question to you, is it worth finishing?"

Myself I felt it really picked up near the end again and almost made me want to go right into the third as I felt it had finally gotten ..."

Exactly what happened to me. It's funny, I seem to enjoy the odd numbered ones but the even numbered bore me to death. :D

message 19: by [deleted user] (new)

Page 436 and I'm only 1/2 way through? Yikes. I'll skim, but now that the holidays are close, I don't know when I'll be able to pick it up. Where on earth was the Editor on this one? Thanks for the feedback.

Bretty Maybe I am the only one that feels this way....but i am 370 some odd pages in and enjoy it. I like seeing the relationship unfold where both feel unease-seeing them stumble through life together at court etc. Outlander was great but i found the problem was Diana Gabaldon's need to go over board on detail. I feel she doesnt know how to edit herself when it comes to Jamie and Claire. Love them both but I dont need 6 pages of them describing intense carnal need/love for one another, just give me the one page sex scene without the talking lol. I think she was more comfortable with her characters in this follow up.

message 21: by [deleted user] (new)

Bretty, I agree with the parts you enjoy, AND your assessment of the "carnal" aspects of their love. I feel it cheapens it and brings the tone of the story down a notch or two. I often find myself rolling my eyes.

I think you are right that the editing is the key. That's why I haven't been able to skip or skim because there is so much of a good story intertwined with TOO much politics and gratuitous, tawdry details of sexual acts rather than the loving passion. Simply should have been edited quite a bit. Maybe 25%?

My daughter had the same problem with a series she was reading (part of "Eragon" I think). It took her a couple of years to force herself through a really boring part, but it contained information critical to the rest of the story when the excitement started up again.

I think changes in the industry overall have changed the focus of the editors from guiding the development of a high quality story to "attracting the broadest audience possible," which sadly often means "adding sex," without discernment that too much of it just degrades its interest and the overall quality of the book.

Don't shoot me, but I felt that "The Notebook" had the same overcast to it. Nicholas Sparks' story was beautiful, but I could tell where Editors interfered with his story and had him add unnatural and awkward "audience expansion items", e.g. sexy scenes that just popped up out of nowhere and out of sync with characters. I should probably force myself to watch the movie and see how the director doctored it up.

I'm hoping the Outlander movie is focused in the direction of the story, and doesn't become some steamy sex show. I think it's sexier to build up the passion and tension, then dim the lights... leave the rest to the imagination of each viewer to envision it the way that is most passionate for them. Glad you're enjoying Dragonfly in Amber! :)

message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

Bretty, if you enjoy the courtisanship aspects, you should read Lady of the Rivers by Phillippa Gregory. It's one of my "vacation" books: A non-best-seller that drew my eye in an independent bookstore while browsing on vacation. I bought it as something to to read on the train ride home. Again, not a blockbuster, but you do very much get into the characters, relationships, period, and you can follow the historical and political aspects without having to already know the history. It wasn't enthralling, but still I couldn't put it down. Very interesting mixture of story, characters, and history.

Bretty Ann i have avoided P. gregory for a long time now. I keep meaning to give one of them a chance but was afraid it would be exactly what we dont like in the outlander series. I will check it out! Thanks Ann

Heather 2nd book was slow during the the description of the war.... but the end was good. beginning of the 3rd is taking off very nicely.... hoping that with 7 books we can keep enjoying claire and jamie! wondering how the time travel will help keep them both alive. :)

Peter Batho I agree completely. Although I enjoyed the book it took me an age to read (about 5 weeks). I'd normally finish a book this size in a week.

Linda D I am stuck in the middle if this book. Thank you for this review, it's nice to know you felt the same way.

message 27: by [deleted user] (new)

For the first time in my life, I skipped (200 pp!) to near the end. It was an OK ending, but skipping 200 pages, I didn't miss anything important. That is bad. I moved on to the 3rd book, and couldn't get into it. I'm not even going to bother. Yet I received all 9 books for Christmas. Should I sell them on Amazon, eBay, or Craig's list?

Angela I agree!! I usually devour books but this one is just not sucking me in. I loved Jamie's character but I can't force myself to pick the book back up. I feel like the book is full of filler.. it could easily be much shorter and a more enjoyable read!!I'm glad I'm not the only one who is having difficulty with it!

Marietjie Steyn And I thought it was only me who struggled with the stupid prince's story!

message 30: by Caryn (new)

Caryn I just started the dragonfly in amber and I'm in the first 50 pages and wondering how Claire got back to roger. The story in already dragging. I hope it gets better.

Ashlie Terry I'm about 30% into it and it's so slow. Finding it hard to sit down and read.

Richard Morris Unlike most reviewers I am enjoying this one very much. The Paris section is excellent but I'm only 20 percent through the book.

Missy Martin I skimmed quite a bit. Went and found summaries for the rest of the books and I'm done. Shorter is sometimes better.

Hannah I agree with most of these. There were sooooo maaaannnnyy deeetails! The part about the deer flies was where I decided I was not reading another boom. And then the end came and I was so annoyed that I would have to read the next book. I was assured by my sister that 3 wood pick up the pace, and she was right. But I certainly took a good month break between books.

message 35: by Sam (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sam I totally agree. The whole Parisian section was painfully plodding and excruciatingly dull in it's politics of French court. It took me nearly two months to get though this book after racing through the first in a matter of days. I also felt the last section, with them trying to find Geillis, to be arduous and incongruous with the end of the story. Keeping that bit for the beginning of book three and having it end with the knowledge of Jamie's survival would have made more sense. I couldn't believe there was still 40 pages of story left after she left Jamie!

message 36: by Nelly (new)

Nelly Waite Hi, I LOVED outlander, one of the best books I have ever read. I too have struggled with the 2nd book, I doubt I will finish it. Can I move on to the 3rd book??

Angelica I’m 74% in. It’s taken me almost a year. I’m struggling so hard. I came here to see if anyone had as much of an issue as me. Glad I’m not alone.

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