Reviews

Dragonfly in Amber (Review)

Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander, #2)Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In the 2nd novel in the Outlander series, Diana Gabaldon does not fail to deliver a tale to keep readers on their toes. Political mischief, Parisian parties, witchcraft, and love, Dragonfly in Amber is a page-turning tale with all of the well-known and loved characters from Outlander.

Claire Randall had returned from her mysterious disappearance disheveled, malnourished, incoherent — & pregnant.

Opening in Inverness 1968, Clare Randall has returned along with her daughter, Brianna, to the home of Rev. Wakefield. After introducing herself and her daughter to the reverend’s nephew, Roger, they solicit his help to find out what became of a list of men. Men Claire encountered in the past. While a seemingly harmless assignment, Claire has more up her sleeve for Brianna and Roger. She tells them of being transported in time and recollects on the time she spent with Jamie in the 1700s. At the end of Outlander, Claire convinced Jamie to attempt to prevent the Jacobite Rising that resulted in the death of many Highlanders. Jamie sticks to his word and Claire relates the details of their efforts to Brianna and Roger. She kept her story a secret for 20 years, but now the dam has broken and Claire isn’t holding back.

Who were we, to alter the course of history, to change the course of events not for ourselves, but for princes and peasants, for the entire country of Scotland?

True to form, Diana Gabaldon transports readers to the past with striking details, adventure and, of course, steamy sex. Claire may have been sent forward in time, but her heart never left the 18th century. Claire’s adventure doesn’t end with her confession to Brianna and Roger either, and similar to Outlander, the ending has one wanting more.

Then I laid my head upon his chest and gave my dreams up to his keeping.


Personal Reflection:

I wanted to enjoy this one more than I did and it took me a while to read. The first book in the series was quite large as well and I was required to read and analyze a novel of a similar size for a course this semester, so reading this installment did get pushed back. Regardless of that, I wasn’t as interested in this one.

I downloaded this in the middle of the night after finishing Outlander. I had to know more. I needed to get my hands on Claire and Jamie’s story ASAP. In the beginning, it didn’t fail to deliver. I was reading and managed to flip through about 20% of the book within the first few days of reading. Then, it sort of fell apart for me.

 I think what lost me was a lot of information about the Jacobite Rising. At times, it felt like I was reading a textbook, which, for me, is not the kind of reading I want to do during my time outside of school. I appreciate the amount of detail involved in using an historical event in a fictional work. I can only imagine how difficult that is to incorporate because there is no room for error. Weaving a fictional story through a nonfiction event is not a task I even want to accomplish (right now) and this was done very well to feel like Claire and Jamie were there and active participants in trying to stop Charles Stuart. I just became bored with the endless Parisian dinner parties that felt more fictional than real. I thought for so much detail on Charles Stuart and the nuances of attempting to regain the throne, something would have been remarked about the actual condition of king’s palace, which was filled with filth if my memory serves me right.

The bulk of the story was just boring to me and I hate to say it. I know that creating this web of events only added to the ending. Without the middle, the ending wouldn’t exist, but I would be lying if I said I enjoyed the journey 100% of the time.

And just like with Outlander, the sex scenes are a small source of frustration for me. They are written well, but sometimes just felt like filler. Instead of adding to the story and building a scene, I felt like there were times that the sex distracted from the feeling that was being built up at that point. When Jamie and Claire are about to part and British soldiers are closing in on them by the second, they have sex? He just hurries up, throws her up against the wall and takes her before pretty much throwing her out the back door? Really? Not what I was expecting, for sure, but also didn’t feel right. I have never been a huge romance novel fan, so that might be why I am not a fan of the copious amounts of sex in the Outlander series.

This book in the series has me questioning more whether to continue. I enjoyed Outlander, but Dragonfly in Amber fell a little flat for me. Of course, the ending had me wanting more, so kudos to a great cliffhanger. I also don’t like leaving a series unfinished and have tasked myself with tying up all of those lose ends this year, so Voyager is on the TBR list. I may take an Outlander break for a bit, though, before tackling it.

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