Outlander Mini-Reviews: Books 2-5

The Outlander TV series on Starz is on break until April of 2015, which means I’m not just a sad panda, but a freakin’ depressed one. I honestly don’t understand what the hell they were thinking taking such a long break. You’ve got a great product that people are starting to get obsessed with, and you decide to have a mid-season finale that is almost a year long! I can’t even right now. Anyway, I’ve already posted a review of the first Outlander book, and decided that to honor the break of the show (ha!), I’d do some spoiler-free mini-reviews of the other books in the Outlander series that I’ve read up to this point. Why mini ones you ask? Simple! I’ve read books 2-5 over the past several years, and considering that each book is about 800+ pages in length, details have started running together. If I were to write a full-length review for each book, not only would it take forever, but I wouldn’t be able to put as much detail into each review.

dragonflyDragonfly in Amber: Book 2

Honestly, when I first started reading this book I had to stop and re-read the last 30 pages of the first Outlander book. The first chapter is so unbelievably confusing that I had to double-check I was actually reading the second book in the series. Turns out I was, and the author just wanted to screw with my mind. Now, I’m not going to say why I was confused, because to say “spoiler alert” would probably be the biggest understatement I’ve ever made. Well, this month anyway. Although this novel was good overall, compared to the first Outlander book it was pretty disappointing. Firstly, Claire and Jamie don’t play as many rounds of hide the broad-sword in this novel, and when they do, we are only privy to the build-up of it before the author either ends the chapter, or switches to something else. I mean come on! Why do you think I read this stuff? I’m not just brushing up on my Scottish war history over here. Secondly, the plot itself was kind of all over the place. We’ve got flashbacks, flash-forwards, and we are again introduced to a countless slew of new people, re-introduced to some we already met, and I just could not follow the multiple family trees we’ve got going on in this thing. The main redeeming quality of this book was the ending. There is a scene between Claire and Jamie that is so emotional I just couldn’t handle it! Even though I read this book over 5 years ago I still remember that scene, and it’s one of my favorites in all of the Outlander books.

voyagerVoyager: Book 3

I actually don’t remember much of the first half of this book, but damn did I love the second half. Now, normally this wouldn’t be a big deal, but considering the first half of this book consists of over 400 pages, that’s saying something significant. Again, we are dealt a significant amount of flashbacks, but not as many as book 2. It’s kind of tricky to talk about this book without giving too much away, but let’s just say the relationship between Jamie and Claire is just as strong as ever. We are also introduced to a new character in this book, and whereas new characters tended to give me a headache of name remembrance in the previous novels, the character of Fergus is quite memorable as he basically becomes part of the Fraser family. Looking back, this was probably my second-favorite Outlander book because Jamie and Claire have such a romantic relationship full of passion that is just amazing. The one thing I didn’t really care for about this book was the ending. Jamie and Claire travel to America, which is just weird because I can’t picture Jamie outside of his native Scotland. Although thanks to the TV series I can now picture him out of his kilt just fine πŸ™‚

Drums in AutumnDrums of Autumn: Book 4

This book had such potential with a great beginning, strong storyline throughout, but the ending just pissed me off. Let’s just say that one of the characters (not Claire) has some questions relating to her baby-daddy, and I was not happy about that! Completely unnecessary!! Who would have thought you’d need Jerry Springer in the 1700s. We do get to see more of Jamie’s nephew, Ian, in this book, and he was a fun strapping young lad. I felt like there wasn’t as much of a focus on Jamie and Claire though in this novel, which was kind of disappointing. Also, they are starting to get up there in age, and picturing them doing the horizontal mambo is a bit disturbing. I mean, heck, if you can still do that without the need for Viagra, then by all means have at it. But you can’t deny that by that point in life things start turning grey, and other things start to sag. We are introduced to a new young romance between another couple, but you simply can’t compare it to the great love affair between Jamie and Claire in the first Outlander book.

the fiery crossThe Fiery Cross: Book 5

Ok, here’s what I need. I need someone who has read further on in the Outlander series to tell me that the next book gets better. Not only has Book 5 been the worst of the Outlander books so far, but in my opinion it was one of the most boring books I’ve ever read in my life. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING of significance happens until 50% into the book. Trust me, I looked at my Kindle meter because I wanted to remember when something noteworthy actually happened! There is only one scene in this entire book which blew my mind, and it was absolutely incredible. However, other than that I think Diana Gabaldon just got so caught up in the historical details of the 1770s that she floods the book with facts about everyday life, and I honestly don’t care. Living in the middle of nowhere during that time was tough, I get it. Now move on with something called a plot already. This is going to sound terrible, but by the end of the book I actually started skimming through the pages because I was so bored and just wanted the book to end. Needless to say, I’m finding it difficult to pick up book 6 because I was so utterly disappointed with this one. Someone out there tell me it gets better!

Looking back over these reviews, you’ll notice a common theme: I constantly compared each book to the first one, and found them all lacking. I realize that’s probably unfair, but when you write a series following the same two characters throughout, it’s pretty difficult not to consider everything in relation to how their story began. Do I regret starting this series? Absolutely not! I just regret continuing on with book 2. You see, if you start the second book, you will immediately be drawn into the third and so on. They are also way too looooong. Altogether in the first 5 books of this series I have read a total of 4636 pages of Jamie and Claire. Trust me, I used a calculator. Although overall I have enjoyed the books in this series so far (excluding book 5 of course), I realize now in hindsight that book one will always be the best, and I should have just stopped there. There was no cliffhanger, and everything was tied up in a nice little bow. And then I had to go and rip that bow to pieces. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Outlander, both the book and the TV show, and I will finish this series. It just might take me a few more years.

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6 thoughts on “Outlander Mini-Reviews: Books 2-5

  1. Great post. I love the Outlander show. It’s so much fun to watch, and I really love Jamie, who, in my opinion, is the best part :-). I read the first two before the TV show, and I have the third, but I’m trying to talk myself into reading it soon. It’s hard to work up the motivation to read a thousand-page book, even books as good as the Outlander series.

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  2. Your review leaves with the question: To read or not. I can read a series and stop when I don’t like where the story is going so I’ll just give the first two a try. Not sure if I ever watched the series on TV. Don’t snarl at me. If I like the books I’ll give the TV series a go.

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  3. Nice reviews! I’m still working on the 5th, and when I finish a part in the book I take a break and read one of the books you’ve reviewed which keeps my romance fix alive. I agree the 1st one was the best, and I also understand what you mean about being sucked in. After reading the second one, I immediately went to the 3rd. Now the excitement of the series is fading. I will say that the relationship between Jamie and Claire continues to be as strong as ever in all of the books I’ve read so far, but they are waaaaay to long. I’m very curious how the series will end.

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