Friday, January 8, 2016

Audiobook review: Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

Title: Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander #2) 
Author: Diana Gabaldon 
Narrator: Davina Porter
Publication Date: July 1, 1992
Publisher: Delacorte Press
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For twenty years Claire Randall has kept her secrets. But now she is returning with her grown daughter to Scotland's majestic mist-shrouded hills. Here Claire plans to reveal a truth as stunning as the events that gave it birth: about the mystery of an ancient circle of standing stones...about a love that transcends the boundaries of time...and about James Fraser, a Scottish warrior whose gallantry once drew a young Claire from the security of her century to the dangers of his ....

Now a legacy of blood and desire will test her beautiful copper-haired daughter, Brianna, as Claire's spellbinding journey of self-discovery continues in the intrigue-ridden Paris court of Charles Stuart a race to thwart a doomed Highlands uprising...and in a desperate fight to save both the child and the man she loves....

A couple of months ago I finally finished watching Outlander season one. Having thoroughly enjoyed it, I was absolutely dying to know what happened next! Unfortunately, season two is still several months away. I took the obvious next step and read the second book in the series. I wasn't positive how much I would miss by not reading Outlander and depending solely on the TV series, but at least half the fans I spoke with said I'd be fine. So I set out on part two of the Outlander saga in hopes that it would be just as fulfilling as what I'd already seen!

The beginning of Dragonfly in Amber focused on introducing Claire's daughter, Briana, and family friend, Roger. In fact, the entire book is told under pretense of her sharing her experiences with the two of them. While I didn't particularly love these characters, I have the distinct feeling that they'll be important in later books, so I can understand why they were such a big part of this one.

But let me go ahead and say... this felt like the longest book I have ever read. Ever. Longer than anything I've read for school. In reality, Dragonfly in Amber is not even 800 pages! A book being long isn't necessarily a bad thing at all, but it isn't usually a good thing when a book seems to drag forever. The best word I can use to describe this book is tedious. Where Outlander seemed like almost constant action and romance, Dragonfly in Amber was more focused on the day-to-day existence of Claire and Jamie.

Oh, and politics. I will be the first to admit that I had no idea most of the time what the heck was going on in this book when it came to the political goings on in this book. There were conspiracies and secret musical codes and warring kings and Jacobites and on and on and on. (Maybe this is why it seemed to drag more than a history book?) There were pages and pages and pages about Claire working in hospitals, entertaining houseguests, and being pregnant. I just got bored. A lot. I was bored a lot.

The romance between Claire and Jamie was, as usual, heartwarming. It's honestly really interesting to see such a marked difference between their loving marriage and the relationships that I'm used to reading about in YA fiction. I won't lie, I love the drama of YA relationships, but it's also really nice to read about a more stable, loving marriage. The one thing that really bugged me was the use of Jamie's nickname for Claire, "Sassenach." It was cute and endearing to start, but at some point I began to wonder if he even remembered her name!

My favorite part about Dragonfly in Amber, believe it or not, was the evolution of the character Jack Randall. While I hated his guts in Outlander, I really did enjoy seeing more depth in his relationship with his brother. Not to say he is even close to forgiven for his despicable villainy, but it was certainly interesting to learn more about him. I still wish I knew a bit more about why he was such a nasty character though.

I've heard through the grapevine that this book is the least favorite of many fans and that series does pick back up. I'm not entirely sure that I'll continue on with Voyager, book three in the series, but I am glad that I read this one just to see what happened after the show. I'll definitely watch season two of the TV show though! I have a feeling it will be more interesting than the book... And who knows? Maybe curiosity will get the better of me and I'll keep reading after all.

°o°  Notes on the Audiobook  °o°
Davina Porter really made this audiobook enjoyable! While it's true that the book did drag on, seemingly forever, she brought different accents to each character and made them likable. If I do end up continuing this series, I'll definitely continue with the audiobooks, just to hear her bring them to life!