15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 8 April 2010
I thought An Echo in the Bone was, to be frank, far too long and pretty boring. Perhaps the book suffers a little in comparison with the first few books in the series as they are so brilliantly written.
I can't help feeling that Claire and Jamie, as much as I've loved reading about them over the years, should be put to rest. To me the series has been in decline since the last book to the point where An Echo in the Bone has the distinct tang of money-spinner about it. I've given the book three stars in this review since, despite all its faults and failings, Diana Gabaldon retains some echo (if you'll pardon the pun) of her snappy and interesting writing style.
By all means buy the book if you want to find out what happens next; but be prepared to skip over about a third of the book.
57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
on 26 January 2010
As a great fan of the whole Outlander series, having read the books more than once, I was super excited to get Echo in the Bone. However, having read it, I am more disappointed than I have been with any book in a long time.
The story seemed very disjointed with "additional characters" entering but not being given enough page space to become real, and others, like Lord John (who has his own series, which is written more recently) getting far too much space. Though even this would have been ok, if his story actually made sense - not wanting to spoil it for all you who haven't read the book, but what was he doing - maybe I dozed off and missed the one paragraph of text which explained his part in the book.
Cliffhangers - well I feel a little abused, I have all the other books and would happily have bought the next one, I didn't need to feel that I had to because this was only half a book. It ended and I honestly went looking for the rest of it, as it just didn't seem finished, did the publishers split what should be a fantastic book into two?
For the sake of the series, I would say keep reading, but as a book on it's own, well I doubt it would convince anyone to read the others.
157 of 166 people found the following review helpful
on 27 September 2009
This latest instalment in the Cross Stitch (US-Outlander) series is as good as Gabaldon gets.
Fast paced, it switches a lot between viewpoints of different characters and sometimes you have read a couple of paragraphs before realising that the action has moved to a different location and who is talking. I really liked that aspect of it. The whole book was incredibly entertaining and will re-unite you with just about everyone you love in the series.
For the first time we have extensive sections about Jamie's son William and especially towards the end of the book he becomes more fully integrated into the storyline. Lord John, too, is back and whilst everyone will understand his storyline, those that have read the Lord John books will have the perk of picking up on some cross referencing to events in those. Some events involving those two will leave you gob smacked, promise. One section is appropriately named 'A series of short, sharp shocks'.
After finishing the previous book in the series, I had been concerned that maybe this book would mainly consist of us getting told events through the letters found in the wooden box. I am glad to say that whilst yes, they do appear, they are only a small part of it and we mainly see 'live action'. Talking of letters, the only part I found a little boring were a couple of letters written by William to his step-father, mainly because details of military campaigns are not a favourite topic of mine.
We do get to hear a lot more from Brianna, Roger and the kids, something I think most readers were very much hoping for. If you have read the excerpts that have been available pre-publishing, you'll be surprised at what turns out to be the danger lurking in the tower at Lallybroch, the explanation for which in turn, leads to a whole series of events that towards the end leaves you with a rotten, and I must say in my case, not anticipated cliffhanger. But there is balance as several events come to pass that we have anticipated for quite some time.
I am extremely grateful to Diana Gabaldon that whilst Jamie and Claire are still 'at it', the sex scenes are still neither repetitive, nor overdone, nor do you get the impression they are put in as page fillers or to add some dubious shock value to the book. If only one or two other authors would take note.
On the negative side, Williams letters apart, there wasn't a great deal. I was on such a constant high that I had no trouble dealing with the inevitable battles in-between (which as mentioned, aren't my thing). The worst thing is, I now have to wait however long, for the next book.
Update: after re-reading the book and listening to it on audio as well, I still love it. I think it is only natural that everyone has their favourite characters and some they are not so keen on. Having read and taken part in several discussions about it, I would say that for those readers who want Jamie and Claire to be centre stage all the time, this book will not be their favourite. For those who like me, have an equal interest in what happens to some of the others, this book certainly delivers.
Update: For those who like me are desperately waiting for the next book in the series... Check out Diana's Facebook page where you will find lots of excerpts for 'Written In My Own Heart's Blood' (which is due out: revised date June 2014) as well as some of her other books.
56 of 59 people found the following review helpful
on 26 January 2010
Wow, I'm not even sure what to write. I loved this book and I hated it. This is by far my least favorite book in the series. There were multiple things that Gabaldon totally messed up in writing this book - first, there were way too many sub-plots. At least four, maybe five. Ugh. There was way too much with boring Lord John and Willie, and other miscellaneous characters (who may or may not be related somehow to someone else)... come on, who cares? I want more Jamie and Claire! I would have been happy if the entire book focused on J and C, and had a bit of Young Ian thrown in, and maybe some Roger and Bree (who I normally think are annoying). Also, the entire story was totally disjointed - jumping back and forth in continuity, POV, time, place, you name it. It was mind boggling (in a bad way). There was also way too much boring history. Some of it is okay, but there were pages and pages that I just skimmed. Speaking of that, this book was way too long - they could have edited out at least 1/4 of this book and it would have still been fine. Finally, my biggest complaint is the awful, horrible, unfair, unjust cliffhanger ending of at least 3 of the many sub-plots. WHYYYYYY would she do that? As if we want to wait another 4 years to find out what happens with the KEY characters? It was ridiculous. I cannot believe she did that. Sometimes cliffhangers are good, but in this instance they were not.
There were a few good things in the book - first, I always love reading Jamie's clever witicisms. He'll always be the epitomy of a handsome, rugged, witty, sexy, sexual, loyal Scotsman :) I also love Claire and her intelligence, her ability to take charge, her loyalty, and her ability to keep things together (both literally and emotionally). I also think it's awesome that J and C still have their heated chemistry after all these years ;) [Would have loved for there to be more sex scenes... WTH?] Claire's medical knowledge always impresses me, so that's fun to read - although reading about wartime illnesses and injuries has gotten old across the past couple books. I also really enjoy Young Ian and Rollo - Ian is a very captivating character, and I love his loyalty and friendship with Rollo :) I'm glad Ian finally found someone he loves; albeit, a very unlikely match it is. Finally, although I pretty much hated all the boring scenes in America, I truly loved the scenes in Scotland.
I began reading this book with the thought that it was the final book, so I was expecting things to come to a conclusion (hopefully, a satisfactory one!). But nooo, instead it was an overlong, boring, tedious read with not enough Jamie and Claire and way too many other boring characters. Ugh. I felt that 'A Breath of Snow and Ashes' was overlong and boring, with not enough J and C, so I'm severely disappointed that this one was much of the same. I'm pretty ticked off that I have to wait another FOUR years (her usual track record) until the next book comes out, just to find the answer to the multiple cliff-hangers. I mean, come on - the book was already 800+ pages, couldn't she stick in another 20-50 pages to resolve these issues instead of making us wait unnecessarily for another four years? Seems like a marketing ploy, which I don't like - but of course because of my love for the Outlander books and their characters, I will wait, and I will buy the next (final?) book when it comes out. I just hope it's shorter than this one, and that it focuses on Jamie and Claire.
When people ask me what my favorite book is, Outlander is always one of my top ten. However, after the 4th book in this series, I think the series went downhill (for all the same reasons; too many characters, boring characters, boring storylines, too much history, and NOT ENOUGH Jamie and Claire). I can now definitively say that Gabaldon is not one of my favorite authors anymore - at least, not in her current/recent form. If she returned to the basics and wrote as she did for the first 4 Outlander books, I'd change my mind.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 1 February 2010
Well, I WANTED to like it. I really did. I started reading Diana Gabaldon's novels when I was about eighteen. I'm now thirty. Maybe as I've grown older my tastes have changed but all I can say about this novel is that it is overly long, self-indulgent, unnecessarily convoluted and ultimately not the satisfying read I was hoping for. The first few novels were fantastic but the phrase 'flogging a dead horse' comes to mind. The story feels tired and I can't help thinking that this talented author would have done herself a favour if she'd moved away from this series a few years back (and moved away completely, i.e. hadn't written the pointless Lord John series) and come up with a new, fresh idea with new but different characters for her many fans to enjoy.
I accept that fiction, by defnition, is frequently unbelievable and tends to rely on coincidence, heroes, villains etc in ways that real life doesn't, and that's fine up to a point. I think Diana reached that point about 3 books ago; this one definitely went way too far and required the suspension of far too much disbelief. I'm disappointed because I was such an avid fan in my twenties and went on and on about these novels to everyone, trying to persuade them to read them. Like most fans, I was in it for the long haul because I genuinely cared about the characters (fancied Jamie, envied Claire for being so witty / clever / loyal / near-perfect, relished all the kidnap scenes that required heroic derring-do; die hard fans know what I mean) but I gave up caring some two thousand pages ago. This novel doesn't add to the overall story, as far as I'm concerned. I can't help thinking Diana knows she's onto a good thing and can do what she likes with the plot and characters because her fans will stay faithful no matter what. Some of the meandering stories involving characters most of the readers don't especially like seem very self-absorbed. At times the book was genuinely and thoroughly boring. All I want to do when the next book comes out is join a blog where someone can tell me, finally, what happens to the three thousand characters we've met. I'm sure the real fans will disagree with me, but for anyone who was maybe beginning to wonder why they were still following this series when they were reading Breath of Snow (as I was) I urge you to just read some spoilers to find out what happens in this book. The 'revelations' and 'shocks' are not worth the 500-odd pages of indulgent nothingness because they aren't believable, even in the context of these novels (like, not even a little) so you'll be left dissatisfied.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 18 January 2010
I love this series, and I enjoyed reading this book, despite the number of 'coincidences' (I'm happy to suspend belief, but it did sometimes seem a bit too much). But the end! Suddenly all the threads were coming together, I'm waiting to see what happens and BLAM - that's it. I'd buy the next book anyway, I don't need the cliffhangers. I'd still recommend it, but I do feel very hard done by with the lack of resolution at the end.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 31 January 2010
This book was really poor compared to the others in the series. It waffled on for the first two-thirds. I didn't read any of the chapters with Lord Grey in it and don't think I missed anything. What happens between Claire and Lord Grey is absolute rubbish. Every single story line is left hanging. This was just a money-spinner between the last and next books. If you're a massive fan and can't resist getting this, just read the last third.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 2 February 2010
I laboured through all the waffle in the book (Lord John and son William) in the hope it would get going, but alas it never happened. I feel it just tempted the reader to make sure you buy the next instalment!, I will have to think long and hard about spending my hard earned money on Jamie and Claire again. What a disappointment.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 29 January 2010
I have read all the reviews of this book on Amazon and other sites, just to make sure it wasn't only me; that I wasn't going senile and missing the point. Like many other readers, I feel let down and betrayed by Diana Gabaldon. I have loved the previous six books in the series (some, admittedly, more than others) and have read and re-read them many times. Like many other fans, I had pre-ordered the book and awaited its arrival with keen anticipation.
Apart from the quantity (definitely not quality) of the plots and sub-plots; the references to the Lord John Grey series (which I tried but they were boring, and should definitely not have been included); and the multiple cliff-hangers at the end, I think the accuracy was sadly lacking in many scenes and details. As another reader pointed out (and I lived in the Highlands of Scotland, so I know it's so even with today's motorways!) it would have taken a lot more than 4-5 hours to drive from Oxford to Inverness! And this is just one small example of myriad mistakes and inaccuracies.
The feeling one is left with is that Diana Gabaldon wrote this in a hurry, or certainly with lack of attention, and was pushed to get it out for a deadline (which given that there was a four-year gap between books seems unlikely). Perhaps she herself is just bored with the series, but at the very least it should have been possible to give the book a rounded ending whilst still leaving it open for more books.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 12 December 2010
After waiting so long for publication I was very disappointed with this book. It is supposed to be the 7th volume in the Outlander series but for most of the book there was no mention of the principle characters Jamie and Claire. The largest part was given over to Lord John, William and the War of Independence followed by Bree and Roger back in their own time and finally Jamie and Claire. So many new threads were introduced with no hope of them being resolved. I think the plot, if not lost altogether, has been seriously misplaced. The idea that Claire would touch Lord John with a bargepole let alone get into bed with him , beggars belief. I know this is fiction but the whole thing, Jamie's 'drowning' and Claire's subsequent 'senior moment' with Lord John, seemed like an idea just plonked in for want of anything else, unless there is a point to it which will be revealed (or not) in the next book, should some of us live long enough to see it.
Sorry, I've read the other 6 books many times and enjoyed them hugely but this one is a no, no as far as I'm concerned.