Book Review: Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

4.5 stars right off the top! I got hooked on the Outlander series last year when I read the first book in this series by Diana Gabaldon. I knew I wanted to try another one, and now that I’ve devoured the second novel, Dragonfly in Amber, in this historical fiction and fantasy series, I have added the rest and even started watching the television drama. I’m a major fan, especially because followers on my blog selected this as my ‘Book Bucket List’ read for May 2018. I’m so glad they pushed me to take on this ~950 behemoth despite everything else on my TBR. Now I’m trying to add in the next one in June… and to think these were written nearly 30 years ago in the early 1990s.

dragonfly

Where do I begin? My normal review format won’t do as I really just want to gush about the book, as my friend Noriko would say. Yes, there’s the time travel, the Scottish setting, and Jamie / Claire, but it’s so much more. The sheer brilliance in the relationships, complexities in the plot, and historical facts and embellishments (in a good way) is phenomenal. It’s like I’m absorbed into a life I wish I could live for a few hours… no different than when I read Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter or Pillars of the Earth. I adore these giant tomes because of the author’s ability to build realistic worlds with just a touch of disbelief to give me something to deeply ponder.

Gabaldon’s attention to details is quite strong. I’m a history buff and love learning about new characters, then looking up to see if they’re based on real people. All the clans of Scotland shine through. I was especially pleased when they visited the Kilmarnock villages, as my ancestors lived there in the early 1800s before emigrating to America. I can’t wait to visit the town to see how it compares to the novel, family stories and everything in between. This is a true genealogy lover’s book because it combines all the analytical and historical aspects of discovering your past and your supposed family. Then learning the wicked secrets, and oh, are they wicked.

The only things I’d say that stopped me from giving this 5 stars fall into two categories. There are some sections that are overly detailed to the point you begin skimming a paragraph here and there. When that happens, the action and plot (usually my most important element in a book) feels pushed to the side. It happened once every 100 pages or so… not for more than a page or two, but enough that maybe it needed to be a ~900 page book instead of a ~950 page book. Ha! The other area was something that felt a bit different from Outlander. It’s almost as if Gabaldon took a few too many “pun” liberties in this one, covering bathing or bathroom habits all too frequently. I love when it’s brought up in books, but it was done in a too-humorous way which forced me to step out of the book instead of stay connected to true 18th century life. Even in the 1940s which is where Claire is from before she time travels, they still lacked some of the things we consider necessary today. I like when it’s brought up once or twice, but not for pages where she laughs about it and then says “but it is what it is” essentially.

All that said, the plot is smart and charming. The introduction of a good side to one of the formerly bad characters is interesting, but I know it’s long from over. The travel between France and Scotland is compelling. I just finished Follett’s Column of Fire and saw a strong and tight connection here. If you love a touch of fantasy and historical fiction, and don’t mind strong sexual content, then you need to give this a chance, even if the entire series is around 8k pages at this point. I’ll be in a book daze all week long, so I’m gonna have to select something very different to draw me out of it.

Thanks for picking this book, This Is My Truth Now voters. New poll to be setup today for June’s Book Bucket List read.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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39 comments

  1. Wow awesome review! Exactly what I think of the series too. 🙂 My favorite one is Voyager- the next one for you, hope you like it! I started book 5 several months ago then quit in favor of other tempting books, but the more reviews like this I read, the more I want to get back to the series. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Such an engaging series. Thanks! I have books picked thru end of June, but I’m certain I’ll read Voyager in July. Will probably watch Season 1 and 2 of the tv show between now and then two so I can read, then watch 3.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Wonderful review! I’m so glad you enjoyed it, James. The Outlander series is my favorite, and it always makes me smile when I see someone reading through it for the first time. Can’t wait to see what you think of Voyager… once you get to it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely review, James. Probably one of my favorite series (and I read them before the show,lol). This one was a favorite, but I think A Breath of Snow and Ashes might be my favorite (book 6). It’s been so long since I’ve read them though! I’d reread but they’re huge,lol. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Being of clan Campbell myself, I live the Outlander series!! (even though we’re a pretty hated clan! 😂😂) she definitely has a lot of detail in her writing, but a lot of GOOD and NEEDED detail!! (holding back Stephen King rants…) 💖💖💖👍🍻

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I also love this series! I finished Voyager last year. I am currently reading the Lord John series as it is set during the time period set during Voyager, going to move onto Drums of Autumn. Hopefully before the next season for the show comes out! Hope you continue to enjoy the series 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve heard great things about this series of books and about the PBS series based on them. My close friend says she saw the TV series and THEN read all the books, and she still can’t decide which she liked best.

    Liked by 1 person

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