Saturday, May 11, 2013

Book Review: Voyager

Voyager (Outlander #3)
Diana Gabaldon

Release Date: December 1, 1993

Book Review:
From the author of the breathtaking bestsellers Outlander and Dragonfly in Amber, the extraordinary saga continues.

Their passionate encounter happened long ago by whatever measurement Claire Randall took. Two decades before, she had traveled back in time and into the arms of a gallant eighteenth-century Scot named Jamie Fraser. Then she returned to her own century to bear his child, believing him dead in the tragic battle of Culloden. Yet his memory has never lessened its hold on her... and her body still cries out for him in her dreams.

Then Claire discovers that Jamie survived. Torn between returning to him and staying with their daughter in her own era, Claire must choose her destiny. And as time and space come full circle, she must find the courage to face the passion and pain awaiting her...the deadly intrigues raging in a divided Scotland... and the daring voyage into the dark unknown that can reunite or forever doom her timeless love.

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Finally finished, and what a book it is!

Only a third installment in the Outlander series, but I feel it must have been at least ten books since I first started the series. I think Ms. Gabaldon certainly doesn’t take her writing lightly – if anything, her books are full of little details from everyday life occurrences to unexpected plot twists and more.

In truth, I had so many thoughts and feelings about this novel, that I am having a hard time expressing them coherently – bear with me. So many events take place throughout this novel that I am somewhat baffled by where to start. So I’ll start at the beginning, which picks up with Claire’s re-appearance in 18th century Scotland. Another trip to the past successfully complete, Claire and Jamie are on their way for a reunion – 20 years in the making. I will spare you all the little details and the full retelling of the story, but I must say I’ve had higher hopes for their first encounter. It was lovely and sweet, but I had hoped for grand fireworks and it felt rather more like very nice Bengal lights. I guess 20 years would snuff the flames a bit? That aside, their reunion brings on a lot of excitement, adventures, and passion as well. From Edinburgh brothel (oh yeah! Where else would one take their long lost love?); to Lallybroch, France, West Indies, and finally America it is an unbelievable multi-continental voyage, fit for Pirates of the Caribbean. In fact, I think Jamie, who is miraculously cured of his severe sea sickness via acupuncture, can certainly become a great mate to Captain Jack Sparrow himself – they’ll do wonderfully together, I am sure. “Ahoy, matey”!

I apologize; the pirates and all got my mind to wander off a bit… back to the book then. The novel, initially, is told from multiple points of view, which lets us learn of separate snippets of Claire’s, Jamie’s and Lord John Gray’s lives, while the former two are living separate lives in their respective times. (Lord John Gray, the warden for Ardsmuir Prison and later Jamie’s friend, is an interesting addition to the character cast. He offers a new perspective on Jamie, and adds some dynamic to the already complex love relation.)

We learn of Claire’s marriage to Frank, which seems uncomfortable and forced. Claire struggles to pick up pieces of her life in present time, and almost seems to lead a half life – if only for her daughter, Brianna’s sake. It is not until Frank’s death and the trip to Scotland that Claire truly allows herself to fully explore the past and yet again find Jamie. Forgoing the luxury of modern-day conveniences, and with her daughter’s blessing, she once again takes a step through the stone circle, armed with some photographs and penicillin and hypodermic needles of course – don’t worry guys – she is a doctor.

About half-way through the novel, with the reunion complete, I was almost certain we’ve reached a status quo. What can possibly happen next? A lot apparently – enter Young Ian Murray, Jamie’s nephew, who is quite certainly a trouble magnet, but an endearing character nonetheless. Ian’s kidnapping sends Claire and Jamie hot on his tracks, for a trip around the world, only to find that the person responsible is none other than Geillis Duncan. Alas, she has not been miraculously resurrected; but worry not dear reader there is plenty of other voodoo magic to send this story above and beyond the unimaginable.

After all, I think this was another great installment in the series; although personally, my least favorite of the three. Still, Diana Gabaldon’s stories are enticing and even though long, every time I put the book away I often wish that I can keep reading. Indeed, I had the next book – Drums of Autumn at the ready – I feel a development of a slight addiction here. I am continuing on in the world of Outlander and hope that we get to see more of Roger and Brianna in the future.

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