Friday, 3 October 2014

Review of Outlander book 2

Dragonfly in Amber

(Outlander #2)

By Diana Gabaldon


With her now-classic novel Outlander, Diana Gabaldon introduced two unforgettable characters — Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser—delighting readers with a story of adventure and love that spanned two centuries. Now Gabaldon returns to that extraordinary time and place in this vivid, powerful follow-up to Outlander....

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 ... in a race to thwart a doomed Highlands uprising ... and in a desperate fight to save both the child and the man she loves...

Source: Goodreads

My rating: 4.9 /5

My Thoughts:

Full of suspense, adventure and the entertaining Claire-James romance this book has increased my love for the Outlander series.

Dragonfly in Amber was more subdued than the first book in the Outlander series, but still incredibly addictive. The book starts off with Claire back in the 1900s, with her almost 18 year old daughter, Brianna (Bree), on a visit to Scotland. My first thoughts were ‘WTH’ and ‘Where’s Jamie?’ I even thought of abandoning the book if Jamie was dead but clearly I couldn’t stop reading either! We find out that Frank died two years ago and Bree doesn’t  know that Frank wasn’t her father (how she wasn’t curious about her lack of resemblance to Frank I have no idea) until Claire tells Bree and Roger Wakefield of her journey in Scotland what happened up to Jamie’s death.

 Claire’s story starts with her marriage life with Jamie, having accepted her decision to stay with him, rather than go back (or forward?) through the stones to Frank to the 20th century. Although she is pregnant, she and Jamie have taken on a mission to do everything in their power to prevent the fatal battle of Culloden from taking place.

 Although Claire can’t remember much of the Culloden battle, what she does know is devastating. History says that Prince Charles will attempt to reclaim the crown for his family but he will fail because there will never be another Stuart King. The passionate attempts by the Jacobites will essentially be futile since they will lose horrifically at the Battle of Culloden and the ground will be drenched with Scottish blood. They don’t know if they will be successful, but Claire and Jamie decide that they cannot sit back and do nothing, Jamie will not let his people of Lallybroch die without even trying to save them. Jamie’s best bet in making any difference is by stopping Prince Charles, and the only way he can do that is by gaining his trust and learning the plans in order to succeed in thwarting them.

 Their time in Paris was fun to read, partly because it made a welcome change from reading about their barbaric living conditions whilst in prison, or the less than great time in the Scottish countryside. Another reason I liked reading about the events in France was because there was a lot happening and it was often really difficult to determine whose side the different characters were on. Were they on the side of the English? Did they want Charles to succeed? Or, was there another plan? Because if there was one thing that I learnt from this book, it was that everyone had an agenda.

My new favourite character was Raymond, the toad-like sorcerer, who despite his reputation wasn’t a ‘bad guy.’ Well, not as bad as a lot of others. He had a number of quirks, like having a secret room where he kept bones of extinct animals, but his genuine concern for Claire saved her life and I liked him most for that. Fergus, the French pick-pocket, with his admiration for Jamie and utter devotion to serving him was adorable.

 Jamie is as passionate and stubborn as always, but this book sees his relationship with Claire having some severe ups and downs. Inevitably, they get through it all and become stronger as a result, but there were times when I thought perhaps all might be lost. The ending was fantastically awesome and I kinda knew what would happen (blame Wikipedia and my impatient curiousity!) but it was still brilliant!

Zed (:

Favourite Quotes:

“No, thank God. I skulked about against a wardrobe, trying to look like part of the furniture, wi’ the bitty wee comtes and ducs all glancing at me out of the sides of their eyes as though Scottishness were catching.”

He shrugged. “Well, if it does or no, it’s the bargain God’s made for him, and he’s little choice but to make the best of it.”

“Go to hell, Jamie,” I said at last, wiping my eyes. “Go directly to hell. Do not pass Go. Do not collect two hundred dollars. There. Do you feel better now?”
“Aye, I do,” he said, his expression lightening. “When ye start to talk daft, I know you’re all right. Do you feel better, Sassenach?”

“Well, I’ll tell ye, Sassenach, ‘graceful’ is possibly not the first word that springs to mind at thought of you.” He slipped an arm behind me, one hand large and warm around my silk-clad shoulder.
“But I talk to you as I talk to my own soul,” he said, turning me to face him. He reached up and cupped my cheek, fingers light on my temple.
“And, Sassenach,” he whispered, “your face is my heart.”

“Sauce for the gander,” I retorted coldly. “Is being married to me sufficient occupation for you? I don’t notice you hanging round the house all day, adoring me. And as for the household, bosh.”
“Bosh? What’s bosh?” he demanded.
“Stuff and nonsense. Rot. Horsefeathers. In other words, don’t be ridiculous...”

“And what’s wrong wi’ the way ye smell?” he said heatedly. “At least ye smelt like a woman, not a damn flower garden. What d’ye think I am, a man or a bumblebee?...”

“Who would want to intercept His Highness’s mail?” I asked. “Besides us, I mean.”

“You! You bloody frog-faced little worm!”
“Me, Madonna? I have done you no harm, have I?” [Master Raymond]
“Aside from causing me to have violent diarrhea in the presence of thirty-odd people, making me think I was having a miscarriage, and scaring my husband out of his skin, no harm at all!”

“Kill me? God, if I found you wi’ another man, I’d kill him.” He paused, and one corner of his mouth quirked wryly. “Mind ye,” he said, “I’d no be verra pleased wi’ you, either, but still, it’s him I’d kill.”
“Typical man,” I said. “Always missing the point.”

Wentworth. Where he had given his soul to save my life, and suffered the tortures of the damned in retrieving it.

“Most physicians of my acquaintance would say, ‘All I can do is try to heal her.’ You will help her to heal? It’s interesting that you perceive the difference...”

“I can stand a lot! But just because I can, does that mean I must? Do I have to bear everyone’s weakness? Can I not have my own?”

“I’m honest enough to say that I dinna care what the right and wrong of it may be, so long as you are here wi’ me, Claire,” he said softly. “If it was a sin for you to choose me...then I would go to the Devil himself and bless him for tempting ye to it.”

I had always heretofore assumed that the tendency of eighteenth-century ladies to swoon was due to tight stays; now I rather thought it might be due to the idiocy of eighteenth-century men.

So depressing only to wear dark colours all the time; what kind of religion would make its followers wear such plain clothes all the time? Obviously the Devil’s work, anyone can see that. They are afraid of women, that’s what it is, so they...” [Louise]

But one cannot kill a man for his beliefs, even if the exercise of those beliefs means the death of innocents-or can one?

“Between hell now, and hell later, Sassenach,” he said, his speech measured and precise, “I will take later, every time.”

“I land in Scotland near dead wi’ the crossing, ride for four days over the hills to get here, and when I arrive, I canna even come in the house for a drop to wet my parched throat; instead I’m off through the mud, huntin’ lost sheep. And once I do get here, ye want me to send me out in the dark again to piss on the doorposts. Tcha!”

Healing comes from the healed; not from the physician.

“Honor has killed one bloody hell of a lot of men,” I said to the dark groove of his bruised back. “Honor without sense is...foolishness. A gallant foolishness, but foolishness nonetheless.”

“Or do you not believe in witchcraft?” I asked.
He laughed, a pure, carefree sound in the sunlit room. “A man who doesn’t believe in God can scarce credit power to Satan, can he?”

Hodie mihi cras tibi, said the inscription. Sic transit Gloria mundi. My turn today, yours tomorrow. And thus passes away the glory of the world.

“Damn Frank!” he said ferociously. “Damn all Randalls! Damn Jack Randall, and damn Mary Hawkins Randall, and damn Alex Randall – er, God rest his soul, I mean,” he amended hastily, crossing himself.

I was out of practice, but deception had at one point been second nature to me. Lying was like riding a bicycle, I thought, you don’t forget how. 

No comments:

Post a comment