Spoiler-Free Book Review: “Dragonfly in Amber” by Diana Gabaldon

Following the fantastic novel Outlander is Dragonfly in Amber. I can’t believe I wasn’t aware of these books’ existence until very recently. This novel was originally published in 1992 and I wish I could have grown up reading them. Better late than never, though, as they say.

***THIS REVIEW DOESN’T CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR DRAGONFLY IN AMBER BUT IT MAY FOR OUTLANDER. CONTINUE AT YOUR OWN RISK 🙂 ***

images

“For twenty years, Claire Randall has kept her secrets. But now she is returning with her grown daughter to the mysteries of Scotland’s mist-shrouded Highlands.
 
Here Claire plans to reveal a truth as shocking as the events that gave it birth: the secret of an ancient circle of standing stones, the secret of a love that transcends centuries, and the truth of a man named Jamie Fraser—a Highland warrior whose gallantry once drew the young Claire from the security of her century to the dangers of his.
 
Claire’s spellbinding journey continues through the intrigue-ridden French court and the menace of Jacobite plots, to the Highlands of Scotland, through war and death in a desperate fight to save both the child and the man she loves.”

Gabaldon has an absolutely gorgeous writing style, and that’s what kept me reading when the first half of this book got a bit dull. I was a bit put out that the first five chapters were twenty years later, sort of “spoiling” what was going to happen; Claire had left 18th-century Scotland and was back in her own time with her daughter, Brianna. I even felt a little unmotivated to keep reading at first – what was the point if I knew what was going to happen? But I don’t think of this series as books, I think of them as a window into another world. One of those series where the characters are so real that you really are escaping into the pages.

The first half was a little slow; things did happen, but I was eager for Claire and Jamie to get back to Scotland and to get all the answers to the questions that Part 1 (“present time”) had inspired. The second half, however, was as explosive and exciting as the second half of book 1, and I’m extremely glad I kept at it.

Many of the events and characters are based on real people, and it made everything more heartbreaking. The tragedy of battle, life in the 1700s, and the struggles of the Scottish people. Scotland and its history are not very well-known worldwide, but perhaps that will change now that the Outlander TV show is gaining popularity.

I had two problems with Dragonfly in Amber. The first I’ve already mentioned; it was a little slow in the first half. The other issue was the huge amount of sex scenes. I find sex scenes in any book, no matter how tender or elegantly written, quite boring. I found myself skimming through them, wondering when they’d be over so I could get back to the story.

This wasn’t enough to deter me, though. The last fifteen percent or so of this story had me crying on the bus. If you love Scotland, love historic novels, please try this excellent series! I can’t wait to get my hands on Voyager, book three, and I’m wondering how it’s all going to go down now that Claire is in her forties.

Four and a half stars for Dragonfly in Amber!

4halfstars

Get Dragonfly in Amber on Amazon UK
Get Dragonfly in Amber on Amazon US