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An Echo in the Bone: Diana Gabaldon

Sci-fi/historical/adventure. Diana Gabaldon, 814 pages. Seventh book in the Outlander series.

I am not going to even try to synthesize this book into a decent summary. There is no way. Suffice to say that there are seven zillion different plot lines, going on concurrently (both in the 18th century and in the 1980s). Everything from battles to medicine to careers in the 20th century to the impending French Revolution and the fallout from the '45.

This is not a light book. In both senses: it is almost a thousand pages long, and also full of death, betrayal, sickness, icky moral issues, and the like. It concerns mostly Claire and Jamie Fraser, although their extended family, acquaintance, and other (former or otherwise) members of their household. There are enough threads in this novel to make a net out of. Or a basket. Or whatever you prefer. It will be a struggle to keep them straight if you jump straight in (I read the previous book, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, like that, and was utterly confused). Start from the beginning if possible (not to mention that the first book was saner when it came to telling stories--there was only one line).

I felt like a living target: every--oh, let's say fifty--pages, the author would throw me a curveball. This is (as noted above) a book in a series, and characters that were condemned to death show up, characters that were referenced thirty years ago show up (most unpleasantly, sometimes) and when you think that it can't get worse--it does. Especially the last 100 pages or so, in which everything speeds up. And almost nothing is resolved properly--we're held in limbo, wondering what will happen.

However, I give this a 5/5 rating. While the writing is sometimes a little...excessive (and I did skip all of the letters detailing the movements of the ships and so on) the story-telling is astonishing. And if you've not yet read the first books (and the spin-off novels centering about Lord John), I would read them first--otherwise it will baffle you to no end, trying to sort out all of the characters. Oh, and I forgot to mention: lots of blood, gore, battle, (nasty medical procedures that are quite...stomach turning). But it's an amazing book, even so.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 3rd, 2010 08:28 pm (UTC)
Both my Stepmom and Mother read this series, and they talk about it like you just did. Maybe I should start it this year.
Jan. 3rd, 2010 08:30 pm (UTC)
Be prepared to lose amazing chunks of time out of your day in reading....
Jan. 3rd, 2010 09:09 pm (UTC)
This is my favorite series ever, but they are so DENSE with information that you almost have to read them twice!
Jan. 4th, 2010 02:49 am (UTC)
OMG. The entire last quarter of the book was filled with, "I didn't expect that. Or that. Or.. OMG, what just happened? I certainly didn't expect THAT! Did she... wow, she did. I definitely didn't expect that."

LOVE Diana. Both as an author as a person the few times I actually met her.
Jan. 4th, 2010 02:53 am (UTC)
Same. I alternated between laughing and gaping in horror.
So lucky....
Jan. 4th, 2010 04:36 am (UTC)
I enjoyed the first three books, but my interest lagged after they left Scotland, so I eventually stopped reading the series. How old are Jamie & Claire in this one? They've got to be getting up there! :)
Jan. 4th, 2010 05:08 am (UTC)
Fifty something? And I know what you mean--I wish they'd stayed; there's already a lot about America (especially around in that time period).
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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