Book Review : Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander Series) by Diana Gabaldon

July 13, 2014 Book review 11 ★★½

This review and this rating just breaks my bookish heart into a zillion pieces.  I was so sure I would love this one.  I adored Outlander; I lived, slept and breathed that book. I became obsessed with the story and characters and even dreamt about it.  And the minute I finished it, I bought Dragonfly in Amber expecting more of the same.  BUT…….

Book Review : Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander Series) by Diana GabaldonDragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
Published by Doubleday Canada on 2010-12-17
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Romance
Pages: 666
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased

From the author of Outlander... a magnificent epic that once again sweeps us back in time to the drama and passion of 18th-century Scotland...

For twenty years Claire Randall has kept her secrets. But now she is returning with her grown daughter to Scotland's majestic mist-shrouded hills. Here Claire plans to reveal a truth as stunning as the events that gave it birth:

about the mystery of an ancient circle of standing stones about a love that transcends the boundaries of time

and about James Fraser, a Scottish warrior whose gallantry once drew a young Claire from the security of her century to the dangers of his ....

Now a legacy of blood and desire will test her beautiful copper-haired daughter, Brianna, as Claire's spellbinding journey of self-discovery continues in the intrigue-ridden Paris court of Charles Stuart a race to thwart a doomed Highlands uprising ...and in a desperate fight to save both the child and the man she loves..

The First Line of Dragonfly in Amber:

“Robert Wakefield stood in the centre of the room, feeling surrounded.”

My Thoughts on Dragonfly in Amber:

This book was a huge let down for me. I found it too long, overly detailed and at times I resorted to skimming.  By far my biggest issue is with the pace of the book; if it was a DVD that I was watching, I would have been pressing fast forward a lot just to create some momentum.  Diana has a quirky way with words and certainly knows how to spin a tale but when she takes ten pages just to describe a scene that gets boring for me personally.

And that in turn made me feel like nothing was happening in the book.  Which was far from true because when I reflect back, the book was pretty action packed but I didn’t feel that as I was reading.  The book started with Claire back in her own time which startled and saddened me and I couldn’t wait to find out how and why that happened.  And that alone kept me invested and reading BUT even that couldn’t make me read the book quickly.  It took me two whole months to read it.  That never ever happens me, I’m normally the girl who reads a book in two days.  But I could only read a bit at a time and I had to read it along with other books as otherwise it would have driven me into a book slump.

I still adore Claire and Jamie and they are still one of my favourite book couples ever.  Outlander pushed them into that status and not even a disappointing second book will change that.  In this book, they have settled into their married life and their love is as intense as ever.  They are also as lusty and as funny as ever together and I wish I could have less of the other detail in the book and just more character time

There is a lot of historical detail in this one and I felt it detracted from the story. That part didn’t overly interest me. Also by far the most tedious part for me was the bits set in France, I just wanted the book to move back to Scotland.   Everything in the book is leading to the doomed uprising and I just wanted it to come and go so we could get on with the story.

On the plus side; the carefully sketched characters remain a highlight.  Even minor characters are brought to life and make you want to know more about them.  There are a lot of clans in the story but all are so unique that it was easy to remember who they all were and the rivalry between the clans was intriguing.  It was interesting also to have new characters from the next generation and I got invested in their view points and how they fitted into the overall picture.  And how they fit in is incredibly unbelievable but fun to suspend belief and just enjoy all the coincidences.

So many adore this series but for me I wish an editor had said “less is more”. I know if it was chopped in half I would have appreciated it a lot more.

The ending had quite a hook though and I’m undecided as to whether I’ll continue with this series or not. I’m curious about what happens next but considering how much I struggled to read this one, I’m not sure I’ll commit to another one.  Maybe someday, when I need more Jamie and Claire but then again I might just reread Outlander instead.


Rating Report
Did I feel it?
Overall: two-half-stars


Who should read Dragonfly in Amber:

If  you like the sound of historical fiction, time-travelling, an epic love affair and amazing characters that you will never forget; then you need to run (not walk, RUN) to a book shop and buy Outlander.  After you have fallen in love with that one, check out a lot of reviews and proceed with caution to Dragonfly in Amber.  It has a very different feel and I can’t recommend it but I know some who adore it so do your research and maybe it will work better for you.


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11 Responses to “Book Review : Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander Series) by Diana Gabaldon”

  1. Rita @ My Home of Books

    Well, I can’t judge because I only read half of the first book before it had to go back to the library and I never took it out again to finish. So so many people adore this series, so I don’t want to offend anyone here, but I also felt the story dragged on, a lot. I would have loved the condensed version of the book. I never read any others of the series so maybe I am being too harsh, but I did love the world-building, the descriptions, but I just wished for a bit less.
    Have a good week, and thank you for a fair and honest review to let me ponder whether I should move forward in the series now.

    • trish

      What saddens me Rita is how much potential I feel this series has. Some vigorous editing would make a huge difference. Then again the series is so popular that maybe we are just in the minority for feeling this way. I am however looking forward to the TV series adapation :). Thanks for visiting!

    • trish

      People have been encouraging me to keep going and are assuring me that Voyager is amazing so I feel a lot more hopeful now again. I hope you enjoy Dragonfly more than I did Kim.

    • trish

      That’s funny, you are the second person to say that. Right that’s it, I need to continue with the series! Looks like Voyager is really popular which excites me.

  2. Jessica @ Tales Between the Pages

    You know, I felt the same way the first time I read Dragonfly too. I got about 3/4 of the way through and put it down for a very long time. The first time I read it, I hand’t read Outlander immediately before. I waited a significant amount of time between the two books. I remembered feelings about Outlander but not a lot of specifics. Anyway, so much time passed that I decided to do a re-read. I started with Outlander and immediately picked up Dragonfly afterward. I don’t know what happened but on my second time around, I loved it. It didn’t feel slow the second time around. I have to wonder if the beginning doesn’t put a lot of people off the first time around. It wasn’t such a shock to me on my second read. Maybe that’s why I liked it better.

    Maybe on your next re-read of the series you’ll love it too. BTW, Voyager is one of my favorites in the series. It isn’t boring at all. 🙂
    Jessica @ Tales Between the Pages recently posted…Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

    • trish

      I’m so excited to hear that you struggled with Dragonfly and then went on to love Voyager. I have been so undecided as to what to do next as I adored Outlander so much. You have given me the hope that I needed to continue with the series 🙂
      And I have to admit, I did have issues with the beginning of Dragonfly. I wanted to scream, NO….what are you doing there! Get back, get back! And even reading it, I knew where Claire ended up and that changed by outlook on the story.

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