Saturday, October 3, 2009

An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon



Book Description:
Jamie Fraser, erstwhile Jacobite and reluctant rebel, knows three things about the American rebellion: the Americans will win, unlikely as that seems in 1778; being on the winning side is no guarantee of survival; and he'd rather die than face his illegitimate son -- a young lieutenant in the British Army -- across the barrel of a gun. Fraser's time-travelling wife, Claire, also knows a couple of things: that the Americans will win, but that the ultimate price of victory is a mystery. What she does believe is that the price won't include Jamie's life or happiness -- not if she has anything to say. Claire's grown daughter Brianna, and her husband, Roger, watch the unfolding of Brianna's parents' history -- a past that may be sneaking up behind their own family.

Not a full review, but just a quick post with no spoilers - I finished it! It was both satisfying and exasperating - loads of cliffhangers and loose threads to worry about over the course of the next four (?) years until the next Outlander installment. I did love it, but then I love everything about Outlander, still, is it the best? My favorite in the series? No.

The book had four or five main points of view, which was frustrating - in some ways it seemed like Outlander light. It was not like her past books where you become completely immersed in the details and story of Jamie and Claire - this one, you had parts of Jamie and Claire, Bree and Roger in 1980 Scotland, as well as young Ian and Lord John and Willie's stories during the Revolution. In my opinion, not quite enough to assuage my Outlander appetite, but I'll take and love anything Ms. Gabaldon writes, so I won't quibble about the lack of Jamie and Claire-ness in this book. I'm glad I've read the Lord John mystery books in the past, since in many ways they enhanced this book, but I did feel a bit put out for some people that haven't read them, for they will be a little lost about the importance of certain intriguing characters that come up here.

Some amazing revelations and events take place in this book - a bit of a "jump the shark" point in series? Maybe.

Still, I have to take a deep breath and soak it in and think about it all. A definite re-read eventually, but not right away.

4/5

17 comments:

Misfit said...

I'm halfway through (I actually put it down and read another book) and getting back to it this weekend. My initial reactions are very much like yours, I have to say that I never ever would have believed I could put a Gabaldon book down and walk away.

I haven't read the LJ books (never intended to) and feel a bit miffed that she threw so much from them in. If they were supposed to be a part of the Outlander series she could have had the decency to tell us.

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

I know just what you mean, I put it down often, though I must admit, the 2nd half of the book is better than the first. A lot more happens, especially in the last 100 pages or so. It was all sort of glommed together at the end. I've read some reviews and reactions at Amazon and many feel put out as if this was a LJ book thrown into an Outlander book. I like LJ, but would have preferred not to have had a 1/4 of this book devoted to him, but by the end, it all makes sense what she did. But, as I said before it's Outlander Light. (I posted some additional thoughts at my LJ journal under julielu)

Penny Watson said...

Hi Julie! One of my critique partners has been bugging me about reading this series for a while. (She even gave me a copy of the first book for a gift!). Maybe it's time to jump in...I have a feeling I won't be coming up for air anytime soon. Glad you loved An Echo In The Bone!

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Penny, yes, you will not come up for air! The first book is my favorite - it's all encompassing. Some "hard to read" moments in it, not for the faint of heart, but so worthwhile!

Patti said...

I'm still waiting for my copy - I think it was delivered to my office Friday (I was home with a sick kid) so hopefully Monday it's waiting for me! I haven't read any of the Lord John books, I'm wondering if I should read them first?

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Patti, yes you might want to read one of the Lord John books first, Lord John and Brotherhood of the Blade, which I believe is the best of them. This one book will be particulary helfpul when reading AEITB.

Laura's Reviews said...

Hmm . . . I have not read the Lord John books either. I'm about 150 pages in and I have to stop to read a book for my book club. I had noticed a lot of Lord John and wondered if I was missing stuff. It seems I may have to finally pick up the Lord John books after I read this! I love it so far and just want to have time to keep reading it non stop. Two boys, work, and book club are holding me back! :-)

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Laura, I found it was not the sort of book I would devour, I put it down and picked it up with no problem, maybe because of the differing points of view and settings? I know what you mean about finding the time to read it, I was working the whole time while reading it (I took one day off and didn't even read it constantly during that time!), though I'd savor my lunch hourse (which I normally work through) and just read it on kindle (my iPod iTouch). I think I sort of took my time because I didn't want it to end too quickly, knowing how long it's going to take for the next book to come out.

Alaine - Queen of Happy Endings said...

Thanks so much for posting this review Julie, I've been reading it for a week and am finding it was to easy to put down because of the LJ stuff. I haven't read the series and am not intending to so I'm finding it a little frustrating.

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Alaine, I was afraid of that. I happen to like LJ, so I didn't mind it in that respect, but I knew those readers who weren't into his part of the story would be annoyed by it. I'm not a mystery reader myself, so I'm not a big fan of his series, except for the one book, Brotherhood of the Blade.

Deanna/ibeeeg said...

Hi Julie.
I am at about page 238. Yes, I have put it down a few times (very unusual for DG books) but at the same time - my reading has been off anyways.
The LJ stuff is not really bothering me. I have not read any of the LJ books to date and do not feel lost. It has taken me a bit to get into the rhythm of the perspectives changing. I am thinking I have a handle on that now. Also, at this point in my read, things are picking up, IMHO.
Jamie and Claire are hands down my favorites of this series so I do wish there was more concentration on them but yet the other storylines are adding the the whole of the story (So far).
I look forward to finishing the book to see what I think overall. Regardless, I think it will be hard pressed for me to not like the book. Gabaldon's writing (details and whatnot) is still superb.
Another thought, I think I am working my way through the book slowly because honestly...I do not want it to end. *shrug* Waiting several years for the next installment is not appealing. *smile*

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Deanna, you're still really early into it! Yes, I found it hard to settle into it at first too, but luckily by the end of the book, it all comes together and you're no longer jumping around as much. I found it confusing too that Willie's part of the story begins before Roger and Bree go through the stones to 1980. I got used to it quick enough, though. I'm sure you'll love it, though I am curious to discuss it with you when you finish and see what you think of certain things! ;)

Danielle87 said...

Hi! I'm new to your blog (found you through Patti)

I agree that this isn't the best book in the series, but I still loved it. The action doesn't pick up until page 600, and it would have been nice to have more Jamie & Claire. I appreciated all the time-travel revelations, and I *really* appreciated the fact that for once Young Ian came out on top (he's a favorite character of mine, and in previous books his story has broken my heart! He deserved a little happiness!)

Those cliffhangers were gut-wrenching though! Especially knowing it will be at least 4 years until the next book (Diana is releasing an Outlander graphic novel in 2010, and is writing the Outlandish Companion II). The suspense is made worse by Echo's lack of Jamie & Claire - we didn't get enough time with them.

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Danielle - welcome! Yes, it's drives me nuts to think how long we'll have to wait. I'm curious about the graphic novel, I like what I've seen of it so far, I make icons at LJ, so it's awfully tempting to make icons from it!

Joanne said...

Hi, Julie -- I'm just jumping in here to say that (gasp) it's Oct. 12th and I'm still not finished reading it -- and I got it early morning on release day! I'm about half way through and finding it easy to put down and pick up other things to read. I know there will be important revelations (I'm enjoying Roger/Bri synthesizing what is known about time travel and ley lines, and look forward to some key info being revealed). I did not read BOTB, so I'm clueless with Lord John intrigue. All that said, it's Gabaldon's writing and no does it better...one of my favorites so far in the book was when J&C were talking about their aches and pains related to age and injuries (boy, can I relate!) and Jamie says something to the effect, "Come here...nothing hurts when you love me."

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Joanne, I know what you mean about putting it down and picking it up, I did the same thing, though I did read it daily on my lunch hour at work. There were a lot of little golden moments, but I still felt like there was too much non-Claire and Jamie moments. Even Roger and Bree's moments didn't thrill me, but that was mostly because I felt the tension and angst there. I did really love the Willie moments (though the part in the Dismal Swamp went on forever!) I just can't shake the feeling we got a Lord John book sneakily inserted into an Outlander book! I felt a little gypped, this book just did not have the scope and epic like feel to it like the others. I might very well feel differently on a re-read, I suspect I will. I have felt very differently about the book on my 2nd reads, so I'll reserve final judgment until after I read it again. Although, I liked ABOSAA best on my first read.

Laura's Reviews said...

I loved your comments on my review and want to respond to them . . . but since this is a spoiler free review, I should probably wait! I'll respond on my blog!

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