Saturday, January 29, 2011

Gabaldon, Diana (Dragonfly in Amber)

OK, I'm done for now. Having read nearly 1500 pages of the trials and tribulations of Claire and Jamie, I'm ready to give it a rest. I still have 6 more books in the series to go (one yet to be published), but I am full up.

I still really enjoyed reading this one, but it felt a bit like a sophomore slump. There are at least 400 pages devoted to their time in Paris, and while replete with stabbings, jealousies and really disgusting hygiene, this part felt like a slog. It is obvious they will not remain in Paris and I was just chomping at the bit to get them back to lovely, not-hygienic-but-full-of-fresh-air-at-least Scotland. It's necessary for the plot, and for what she set up in the first novel, but it doesn't mean I have to like it.

Also, Claire and Jamie are much more at odds in this book, and that's nothing to enjoy. Perhaps it's also necessary. I would have preferred that at least one of the truly awful things hadn't happened. It colors their relationship forever and anon, and since there's an awful lot of both forever and anon in this series, I'm afraid it will change my feelings for these characters.

Because Gabaldon does do that: she's excellent at creating characters, filling in all the details, and making you care about them. Granted, she has a whole lot of pages to do that in but I can name a number of lengthy books that don't do this half so well. It's absolutely required when you're writing fantasy, too. The reader has to have something real to hang their hopes on.

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