Book Review: Dragonfly in Amber

Today is my first book review on this blog. This will be an infrequent part of my blog but, I feel, an important one. Reasons which will explain why in my upcoming blog post.

Today I will be discussing: Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

Publishing information: Dell, reprint 1993
Page Count: 976
Genre: Historical Fiction, Time Travel, Romance
Note: Second book in the Outlander series.

Diana Gabaldon is one of my all time favorite authors. Her unique storytelling style completely immerses a reader into the scenes she creates and the characters that she builds. By the time you set one of her books down a reader is liable to feel like they have just had a conversation with Bonnie Prince Stuart or Lord John Grey.

Her’s is a talent I deeply admire.

I’ve read Outlander (the first book in this series) around a dozen times; no joke. It’s the book I pick up whenever I just want to get lost in something. I have memorized most of the dialogue and I have fallen in and out of love with the characters and their complex natures.I am not even sure I ever actually ‘read’ the book anymore so much as I focus on the pages while I remember the words.

So why the fuck did it take me ten damn years to read the second book? I’ll tell you why.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead.

Because the second book started of TWENTY YEARS LATER. It starts off with the main characters having been separated for the entire span of their daughters youth. When I first picked it up (waaaaay back in high school) I read that and firmly said “Nope, that’s not possible. That can’t happen. No power in the world would separate these two characters.”.

I got sooo angry and frustrated that I just set the book aside. It took me years to pick it up again…and then I set it right back down. It was an on again-off again relationship for a decade.

What finally prompted me to read the book again was a bit of a spoiler from a friend. The main characters, apparently, make it to colonial America…and that is a weakness of mine.

“Fine,” I said, “I’ll read it. I’ll argue with you the entire way Diana, but I’ll read it.” So last night, after ten years, I finally finished the book; and I am so very glad that I did. Like, I cannot express the feelings that this book made me go through. Oh wait, yes I can.

The first part of the story is aggravating because the entire time I’m asking Claire (the female main character) what the hell she’s doing back in her own time and not back in the mid 1700’s with her destined lover, Jamie. I’m demanding to know why their daughter, Brianna, doesn’t have a clue that Jamie exists.

Then, after a little over a hundred pages, we start to get told the rest of the story. It’s slow going, there is no arguing that. But every single scene in this nearly 1000 pages is absolutely necessary to understand the ending.

And, oh my god, what an ending.

The last two hundred pages had me laughing, crying, asking why, and finally (after getting to the very last page) tossing the book across my living room- which startled my poor cat to pieces.

I loved it. I loved feeling all those things. I loved that emotional roller coaster that had me completely understanding where the characters were coming from, yet pleading that it wasn’t true.

I was really happy that I had the third installment of the series, otherwise I may have spent the night crying and thrashing about to wonder what was going to happen next.

Second spoiler alert: Voyager starts out just as wonderfully frustrating, though I doubt it’ll take me ten years to finish.


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