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A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Outlander, #6)
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Archive: Other Books > A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Outlander #6) by Diana Gabaldon -- 3.5 stars

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Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7643 comments A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon
3.5 stars (round down to 3)

Well, I did it. I finished another tome in the Outlander series. I read these books fairly quickly given their length, but I have so many mixed feelings about them!

The Cons
My god there are so many mind-numbing details. To an extent, I like the description of daily life on Fraser's Ridge. It is an interesting insight to the time period and it makes me feel like I am living there too, just participating in day-to-day life. I can actually handle more details in these books than I can in other books because I just love the characters so damn much. But, at some point, it becomes overkill.

But, I have a theory about the details: I think Gabaldon writes he books so the first two-thirds is fairly slow and boring, there are lots of mundane details, and nothing much is really happening. them BAM! The last third is action packed with more happening than could possibly occur in the time span portrayed. The reader is drawn in, enthralled, and then when the book ends is desperate to keep going and read more! So, said reader picks up the next installment eagerly, only to be faced with 800+ pages of banality before more excitement. It is an endless cycle. Gabaldon is diabolical. And maybe brilliant.

Oh, and how many people can be raped from one family/friend group?! We have not reached our limit yet because there actually remains a handful of people who have not been raped, but I will keep you posted. But, let's not stop at complaining about the rapes. The Frasers/MacKenzies are cursed. SO MANY HORRIBLE THINGS HAPPEN IN SUCH A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME! It is starting to lose its narrative draw. Oh, Claire is kidnapped for the third time? In the same freaking book? No worries, Jamie, Ian, and Roger will get her back.

I. Want. More Fergus.

Okay, there must be some reason I keep reading, so the pros:
I genuinely love these characters. Okay, I tolerate Roger and Bree though they are slowly mellowing out. I love the depiction of them making a life for themselves in North Carolina. I love the political maneuvering at the brink of the American Revolution. I am insanely in love with Lord John Grey and desperately want the series to end by Claire dying just a few days before Jamie and then Jamie and LJG have a torrid affair before Jamie travels in time to see Claire one more time before he dies. Wishful thinking, I know.

There are an insane number of great twists and turns. Gabaldon really does a nice job of weaving together the narrative so that it all flows together and most things generally wrap up in some fashion. I cannot imagine keeping track of all of the subplots and figuring out a way to move the forward. I could do with Claire doing fewer surgeries and with Bree inventing fewer things.

I love Claire and Jamie. I always want more sex (listen, don't judge me) and that aspect of these books is definitely falling by the wayside. But I love how comfortable they are with each other. I love the little moments at the end of the day when the work is done and they lay in bed and talk.

The bottom line: These books are freaking indulgent. They need a better editor who will stand up to Gabaldon. But, I will for sure be continuing this series. I will need about a year before I get to An Echo in the Bone. August seems to be the best month to revisit the Fraser Clan!


Jgrace | 2703 comments I love this review! Thank you, it made my morning.

1) If things in this book annoyed you, you will be furious with the next book.

2) There will be more Fergus in the next two books.

3) There will be more sex. Lots of it. And significantly fewer rapes.

4) That Jamie-Claire-LJG triangle gets very weird in the next book. I very nearly threw the book at the wall. Well, no, I do audio.

5) It's worth it to persist to Written in My Own Heart's Blood. It redeems the problems with the previous two books.

LJG is one of my favorite characters, too. Have you read any of the spinoff books about him? I enjoy them. And they have the advantage of being the length of ordinary books.


Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7643 comments Hahaha! Thank you! I seriously love these books but also the annoy the crap out of me at the same time. Perhaps that is the definition of love?!? lol

1) If things in this book annoyed you, you will be furious with the next book.

Well, crap. I have a year to prepare myself for the outrage.

2) There will be more Fergus in the next two books.

YES! I seriously love him. He had some rough times in this book but it seems like he is back on track.

3) There will be more sex. Lots of it. And significantly fewer rapes.

I really just want Jamie/Claire sex. I am so bothered by Bree and Roger than I cannot get on board with their sex scenes--in the books or the show! Quick funny side note: I rewatched some of the show with a good friend who was watching for the first time. When it got to Bree and Roger's wedding night my friend had a look of such object horror on her face it was hilarious!

I also need a break from the rapes. And the threat of rape. Let's just all have nice, consensual sex.

4) That Jamie-Claire-LJG triangle gets very weird in the next book. I very nearly threw the book at the wall. Well, no, I do audio.

DO JAMIE AND LJG FINALLY HOOK UP?!? Wait, don't tell me, I want to be surprised. Seriously, you know there has got to be some great fanfic out there. I am almost scared to look into it...

5) It's worth it to persist to Written in My Own Heart's Blood. It redeems the problems with the previous two books.

I feel like I am so pot committed that I am definitely going to keep slowly plugging away. I actually think I liked Fiery Cross better that ABOSAA, so hopefully AEITB is a bit of an upswing at least even if it isn't as good as MOBY.

LJG is one of my favorite characters, too. Have you read any of the spinoff books about him? I enjoy them. And they have the advantage of being the length of ordinary books.

I have not but I probably will at some point. I guess I should maybe intersperse them with the Outlander books so the stories mesh in the right manner, but I think that ship has sailed.

Now, my question for you: will you be reading the 9th book just as soon as it is released?!


message 4: by Jgrace (last edited Sep 05, 2019 08:43AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jgrace | 2703 comments Absolutely!

But I'm already anxious about which beloved character might die. They are getting older.


Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7643 comments Jgrace wrote: "Absolutely!

But I'm already anxious about which beloved character might die. They are getting older."


To be honest, I will probably be scouring for spoilers as soon as it comes out! lol. You don't think that, like, Jamie will die at the end or something and then the last book will be just about Claire, do you?!? Or vice versa?!?

I heard some theories about Ian being the one to die. :( I don't want anyone to die. I want them all to live forever.


message 6: by Joanne (last edited Sep 05, 2019 10:56AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joanne (joabroda1) | 7097 comments I have to pop in and say that I love Fergus!! Also, Written in My Own Heart's Blood was my favorite of all them-the ending is a real kick in the heart!

@JGrace-I read the first spin-off LJG book-it was just "meh" for me-have you read them?


Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7643 comments Joanne wrote: "I have to pop in and say that I love Fergus!! Also, Written in My Own Heart's Blood was my favorite of all them-the ending is a real kick in the heart!"

Ahhh!! Now I have to really make my way through these next two books!


message 8: by NancyJ (last edited Sep 05, 2019 01:26PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 4883 comments I had many of the same feelings when I read this book. This book is the reason why I have become inured to many sexual assaults in books. There are so many, and so obviously fiction, that I no longer react to them like I would have before.

I had a different reaction to the work issues, which is largely based on my work interests. I loved Claire's research and surgeries, and I loved that Bree and Roger were both able to find professional interests. I ate that up. People need a sense of purpose, and to be able to learn and grow. Claire, Bree and Roger all know what they're missing. Their education and 20th century experiences make them aware of all the things they might do or be, and I don't think a life focused on survival could possibly satisfy them.

I had planned to read the next book in the series, and I own the audibles of all the books that were released so far. BUT, it's been over a year and a half and I haven't done it. If someone created an edited version, I would jump on it.

The last book was so poorly edited, I just don't feel like going through that again. I agree that someone needs to rein her in, but it's hard to argue with success.

I have an idea for a new outlander series - a well edited version of each book. I'll bet it would sell well.

Oh wait - that's the TV show on Starz (or Showtime, whatever).


Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7643 comments NancyJ wrote: "I loved Claire's research and surgeries, and I loved that Bree and Roger were both able to find professional interests. I ate that up. People need a sense of purpose, and to be able to learn and grow."

I also like that they have these things, I just don't need to know every minute detail about it. I didn't feel like Roger's work was over-explained, or really Bree's work either, just Claire's. So. Many. Details. I could have half of the details about the surgeries/experiments she performs and it would be plenty.

My complaint with Bree is that she is inventing all of these things before they would otherwise be invented/come to that area. Isn't she concerned with the ramifications of time travel?! Obviously not, so I pretty much just let that one go. lol


Jgrace | 2703 comments Joanne wrote: "I have to pop in and say that I love Fergus!! Also, Written in My Own Heart's Blood was my favorite of all them-the ending is a real kick in the heart!

@JGrace-I read the first spi..."


I've listened to or read them all. The LJG audiobooks have a different reader than the main series. I like him, but only when the stories don't involve Jamie or Claire. I'd agree that some of the stories are 'meh' and I don't really have any interest in his sex life. But, he does get into some interesting situations and he's such an honorable character. I'd say my favorite was The Custom of the Army. It's really not much more than a short story, but there's some interesting history of the French and Indian War and the Battle of Quebec.


 Olivermagnus (lynda214) | 1898 comments This is next up for me since I finished The Fiery Cross last month. I sort of have it penciled in for December but definitely want to take the plunge while I still remember everything that happened in the last book. I have the audio, as well as the Kindle version, so maybe I can just alternate them to make better progress.


LibraryCin | 8012 comments So, here's what interesting for me. It was about 2 months ago I read this. When I first opened the thread, I was thinking I had rated this 4 stars. All I could remember off the top of my head (thinking quickly) was the exciting stuff in the last third of the book.

I checked - I rated it 3.5 stars, as well, also mentioning how slow a good chunk of the book is before getting to the good stuff.

I guess it's a good thing, if - when I think about the book - I remember the exciting stuff, not the tedious day-to-day.


annapi | 4849 comments Nicole R wrote: "I am insanely in love with Lord John Grey and desperately want the series to end by Claire dying just a few days before Jamie and then Jamie and LJG have a torrid affair before Jamie travels in time to see Claire one more time before he dies...."

ROFL!!!

While I loved your review, I have different likes and dislikes about this series.

I love the surgeries, and would like to have more.

I'm good with the decrease in Jamie/Claire sex. They're an old married couple after all! And I'm not bothered by the rapes because I see them as just part of the story, and men were like that in that time I believe.

I don't want Jamie to get together with LJG, I think it would be a total departure from Jamie's character. But I think LJG deserves some happiness with someone else eventually, and I'm still waiting on that. I've been a bit disappointed with his spinoff series, they're a bit boring at times, but they're ok and at least they're short (comparatively).

I agree with you on these:

I want more Fergus.

I am lukewarm about Bree and Roger, and yes I'm so glad they are mellowing because I couldn't stand them when they first go back in time, a reason Voyager is my least favorite book in the series.

But I love this series! I just wish I had the stones to go back and read them all from the beginning straight through so that I don't forget characters and events. I've considered it but they're just too long and I don't have the time in my life.


Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7643 comments Anna, you wish you “had the stones” to go back and read them?!? I see what you did there! So clever! Lol.

We do like the exact opposite things about the books! Lol. Except our love for Fergus. I think that love is universal.

I want some good scenes of Bree, Roger, Fergus, Marsali, and Ian. For me, they are all siblings (yes, I know Ian is a cousin but he has really been more like a son to Jamie) and the next generation. I want there to be just a fun scene where grandma and grandpa take all the grandkids for the night and those 5 hang out, drink, and have fun. Lol

Cindy, you are totally right that when I think back I typically only remember the exciting details! I know the mundane were there, but they don’t stand out as much once some time has passed.


Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7643 comments Oh, and Anna, the joke amongst my friends is that we all want a man who looks at us the way the LJG looks at Jamie! 😂

I have to say that while I do like LJG from the books, the show is what has made me absolutely love him. I think the actor who portrays him does a phenomenal job.


annapi | 4849 comments Nicole R wrote: "I have to say that while I do like LJG from the books, the show is what has made me absolutely love him. I think the actor who portrays him does a phenomenal job."

YES!! I totally agree, I love him too! His eyes and the expression in them - ! *swoon*


Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 5526 comments LOVE your review, Nicole. ....I give you a higher rating than I gave the book (3*** from me).


Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7643 comments BC, thanks! How far are you in this series?


Barbara M (barbara-m) | 2149 comments Nicole R wrote: "I love Claire and Jamie. I always want more sex (listen, don't judge me) and that aspect of these books is definitely falling by the wayside. But I love how comfortable they are with each other. I love the little moments at the end of the day when the work is done and they lay in bed and talk. ..."

I totally agree!!! Since I've been married to the same guy for 52 years, it just feels right for a couple who are comfortable in their marriage.


NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 4883 comments It's interesting that you're talking about a potential relationship with Lord John. I might be wrong, but in a future book ... (view spoiler)


message 21: by Book Concierge (last edited Sep 13, 2019 08:36PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 5526 comments Nicole R wrote: "BC, thanks! How far are you in this series?"

This is the last one I read (in Feb 2019). I haven't read any of the prequels nor have I looked into the LJG series. .... yet


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