A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon

WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THIS SERIES?!?!?! Seriously, I want to know how it’s possible that something which started out so strong could fall so far from its original excellence. It’s almost like a completely different author has taken control of the last 2 books I’ve read.


After I finished reading the previous book in this series, The Fiery Cross, I put a plea out to the blogosphere for someone to assure me that the series would get better. Book 5 was so ridiculously slow and boring, with an unnecessary amount of historical detail which was completely irrelevant to the overall plot, and I wanted to know that it was simply an anomaly. I now understand why nobody replied to that inquiry. Astonishingly, I think things have actually gotten worse.

Firstly, the book is simply too long. There is no rhyme, reason, explanation or justification that this book was over 1000 pages. Here is a general note to authors everywhere: if your book can be sold in both an abridged and unabridged version, that means it’s too long! When someone can literally cut your book length in half without losing any of the storyline, you have a big problem.

Nothing of any importance happens for so much of this thing! I had to ask myself numerous times what the actual plot was, and for the most part I never had an answer. I think my most common outburst throughout the book was, “What does this have to do with anything?!?!” If something of mild interest did happen, it was either never fully explored, or we’d skip ahead 3 months in the story as if it never happened at all. I felt that there were a lot of issues which remained unresolved when all was said and done. It wasn’t until almost 3/4 of the way through the book that we have some form of a distinguishable plot with actual direction. The action comes on so quickly though, seemingly from out of nowhere, and then the book ends just as abruptly. It’s supposed to end on a “Oh no they didn’t!” kind of moment, but I think I just yelled out, “I don’t care!!”.

sad frank

This was the first audiobook I ever listened to, and it took me about 4 months to finish. The reason I chose to listen to this book instead of read it is because book 5 was so mind-numbingly dull that I figured I’d finish this one quicker if I could listen to it. Towards the middle of the book I was getting ridiculously frustrated because the story wasn’t going anywhere, and I had the urge to start skimming. But how do you skim an audiobook? Simple! You just increase the listening speed. Sure, it took some getting used to, but after a while I acclimated to listening to it at twice it’s normal speed.

I had been listening to this book for a while when the second half of the Outlander TV series started up again on Starz. It was so weird to get really excited for Saturday nights to come around so I could lose myself in the wonderfulness of the TV show, and then dread having to listen to the book again on my walks to work. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced so much emotional whiplash in my life.


Overall this book left me feeling frustrated, disappointed, and seriously questioning why I even bother putting up with the series anymore. I only have 2 more books left, but I just am not looking forward to putting myself through the torture of another one. These last two books have been such a drain on my soul, that I feel like it’ll probably take a whole year before I can pump myself up enough to reach for that next book. Yet oddly enough, I still consider myself to be an Outlander fan. I loved the first 4 books, and the first season of the TV series has blown my mind. I’m just having a hell of a time making it to the end of this series.

13 thoughts on “A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon

    • I’m always of the opinion that the first book in a series should be one of your least favorites once you’ve finsihed all the other books in it. First books are bogged down with establishing the characters and scenarios of the coming books. If the books in a series go down hill from Book 1, JUMP SHIP QUICK!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m glad to hear someone shares my opinion about the books. The first few were magic. She should have finished Jamie and Claire’s story on a good note. Instead she’s dragging it out to the point of mind-numbing boredom. Thank goodness for the show–it brings back the thrill of the early books.


  2. I agree! Way too long and boring. I keep thinking back to how I felt after reading the first one. I should have stopped then. Even though I dislike the 5th and 6th, and need to read the last two because I feel determined to finish this craziness with hopefully a great final story line. I’m definitely not reading the half books. I’ll save myself there and read one of the other good romance books you’ve reviewed!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pretty glad I am reading this review! I actually have only read up to #2 and already find it challenging to keep up. You’ve probably saved me the trouble of continuing the series – maybe I’ll just watch the show 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m glad I’m seeing this. I’m part of the way through book 1 and have seen the first half of Season 1. Thinking I’ll just finish book 1 and simply watch the series. This definitely sounds like an “ain’t nobody got time for that” situation….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I gave up on reading the series a while ago. I just found the books so long and it was frustrating reading about Jamie and Claire getting old. The tv show has reinvigorated my love for the series, but not enough to read the latest books.


  6. I agree that the series is getting dull. It’s starting to feel like a journal instead of an adventure. Do you think Diana Gabaldon has fallen so in love with her characters and her own writing that she has gotten lost?

    Liked by 1 person

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