Thursday, September 5, 2013

Book Review: The Fiery Cross

The Fiery Cross (Outlander #5)
Diana Gabaldon

Release Date: November 6, 2001

Book Description:
The year is 1771, and war is coming. Jamie Fraser’s wife tells him so. Little as he wishes to, he must believe it, for hers is a gift of dreadful prophecy—a time-traveler’s certain knowledge. Claire’s unique view of the future has brought him both danger and deliverance in the past; her knowledge of the oncoming revolution is a flickering torch that may light his way through the perilous years ahead—or ignite a conflagration that will leave their lives in ashes.

Amazon US | Goodreads

Mild spoilers ahead

It seems it’s been forever and yet, here I am, having finished another of the Outlander novels. I’m almost feeling proud of myself for having accomplished this, as this novel had me wondering if I was ready to give up the series all together. Alas, I’ve already purchased the two follow-up novels and that would be a real waste in my opinion, so on and on I went, as did Ms. Gabaldon…

Don’t get me wrong, in my experience, I’ve found Diana Gabaldon quite a brilliant writer, who, for years, has managed to captivate a myriad of readers with her incredibly intricate novels, myself included, and that’s no small feat. What she does so well is create the mood, the atmosphere, with her to-the-very-tiny detail descriptions, but even so, I’ve found myself growing tired of such numerous accounts this time around, which made this particular read tedious and slow.

And then there was poor Roger… Seriously, can a guy get a break, ever? I feel like Diana has a personal vendetta against Roger and takes every opportunity to victimize him to the extent of literally hanging him. I admit I felt bad for his character before, as I liked him from the beginning, but this time around I was practically annoyed with everything that he had to endure. Can we just let him be happy? For a few minutes, pages, chapters – he’s paid his dues.

Jamie, Claire, Brianna and the rest of the cast were their usual selves for the most part. I have to applaud Diana for her ability to keep track of so many characters and not get them confused, although perhaps she did, and I failed to pay it any attention. There were too many things that went on in this novel, but then nothing in particular, bar Ian’s return left a memorable impression. Weddings, funerals, kids, crazy people, pre-revolution revolts and Jamie’s militia or a gathering of baboons (whichever way you prefer to look at it), mother nature, the French gold, and the dreadful Stephen Bonnet who might or not be dead by now… It felt like a collection of stories from the lives of the Frasers, barely interconnected, if only by passage of time. More than halfway through the novel I realized that there was probably no plot to the story at all and Diana had an absolutely free reign on writing whatever it was that came into her head.

All in all, I thought this was the weakest of the offerings in the Outlander franchise so far. My only hope is that Diana has listened to other readers who’ve found this novel unnecessarily long and tiresome and improved on the follow-up.

*If you are new to this franchise, start at the beginning. The first few novels are certainly worth an exploration, the rest are a commitment for truly curious fans.

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