Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Book Review: A Breath of Snow and Ashes

A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Outlander #6)
Diana Gabaldon

Release Date: September 27, 2005

Diana Gabaldon

Book Description:
A Breath of Snow and Ashes continues the extraordinary story of 18th-century Scotsman Jamie Fraser and his 20th-century wife, Claire.

The year is 1772, and on the eve of the American Revolution, the long fuse of rebellion has already been lit. Men lie dead in the streets of Boston, and in the backwoods of North Carolina, isolated cabins burn in the forest.

With chaos brewing, the governor calls upon Jamie Fraser to unite the backcountry and safeguard the colony for King and Crown. But from his wife Jamie knows that three years hence the shot heard round the world will be fired, and the result will be independence — with those loyal to the King either dead or in exile. And there is also the matter of a tiny clipping from The Wilmington Gazette, dated 1776, which reports Jamie’s death, along with his kin. For once, he hopes, his time-traveling family may be wrong about the future.

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I’m amazed at the amount of work and detail that must go into writing of these novels and I have no doubt that Diana Gabaldon is a gifted writer with and incredible ability for storytelling. But it is also her downfall. Personally, I’m starting to find these novels a bit tiring – the sheer amount of detail and events seem to overshadow the main arc of the story, if there is even one at this point. However, the reason I can’t give up these books completely is my fascination with the main characters of these novels – Claire and Jamie, both of whom are charismatic, idealistic, imperfect, selfish yet selfless, and endearing even when they infuriate me with their action. It isn’t an ideal world and these aren’t ideal novels but there is still enough spark to keep me reading, craving, and wanting more…

A Breath of Snow and Ashes picks up from the last novel and follows Claire and Jamie as they prepare for the beginning of the American Revolution. With their family happily settled at the Fraser’s Ridge it is surprisingly not long until trouble is stirred once more as these two cannot stay out of it long enough. Once again, it is an event-packed novel. Abductions, rape, betrayals, incest, love, family, and even bigamy fill the pages. The events are unbelievable, infuriating but fascinating, even though some scenes and plot devices feel repetitive. Diana paints a dark picture of the 18th century life, underlying the hardships of life and making the reader question whether Claire’s love for Jamie is worth the sacrifice of the modern world. But it wouldn’t be a romance novel if love didn’t conquer all, so ahead we go.

I found A Breath of Snow and Ashes entertaining and captivating, but also cumbersome for its length and detail. This book [as are the others in the series] tells the story of Claire and Jamie’s lives. There is action and romance but as for continuous story arc of the series? Perhaps not? At least I can’t decipher it. So, after spending the last two months wrapped up in A Breath of Snow and Ashes I am taking a well deserved break from the world of Outlander. These novels are part of an epic saga but are definitely not meant to be read back-to-back or listened to for that matter, even though Davina Porter does a fine job narrating [especially given the number of hours I’ve spent listening to her so far]. A break has been long overdue and as the saying goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder, so I shall let it do just that… for now; until I’m once again ready to embrace my love/hate relationship with Claire and Jamie.

Outlander Series:
Outlander (Outlander #1)
Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander #2) 
Voyager (Outlander #3)
Drums of Autumn (Outlander #4)
The Fiery Cross (Outlander #5)
A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Outlander #6)
An Echo in the Bone (Outlander #7)
Written in My Own Heart's Blood (Outlander #8)
Expected Publication: 2014


  1. Victoria I bought book one of this series and I'm looking forward to exploring it.

    1. Exciting! :) I think you'll enjoy it, I quite liked the first novel. Definitely worth checking out for yourself - especially since we'll have the TV series next year!


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