SPOILER ALERT: This is a review of the second book in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. If you intend to read the first book, you probably should not read this review.
This book made me sad. Sad with disappointment. I had such high expectations for this series after reading and loving Outlander, but, if this second installment had not included an ending that left me slightly curious about what happens next, I would probably quit reading the series altogether.
Dragonfly in Amber starts in Scotland in the 1960s. Claire Randall-Fraser has returned to Scotland with two missions: 1) to tell her adult daughter that her father is really an eighteenth century Scotsman as opposed to the twentieth century history professor with whom her daughter grew up with; and 2) to discover the fate of her eighteenth century husband, Jamie Fraser, and his men in the historic Battle of Culloden, which ended the Scottish uprising in the mass slaughter of Highland warriors. The majority of the book takes places in the 1700s as Claire recounts the events leading up to the battle. It spends a significant amount of time detailing the boring exploits of Claire and Jamie in Paris as they try to thwart the heir to the Scottish throne’s plans to lead an uprising. They then go back to Scotland for a few more boring adventures. The book drags from one mildly interesting event to the next mildly interesting event with no real action. The end of the book does pick up a bit, but it still never hits the excitement and level of story-telling as the first book.
Despite my disappointment with Dragonfly in Amber, I think I will go ahead and read the third book of the series. Dragonfly in Amber left enough of a cliff hanger to pique my curiosity for what happens next. There is also a significant foreshadowing event from the beginning of the first book that still has not been explained and is driving me crazy. In the beginning of Outlander, Claire’s twentieth century husband, Frank, sees a Scotsman in traditional highland attire standing on the street in the rain and staring up at Claire through her open window. This is a very cool, eerie event in the first book, but it has never been mentioned again. It’s actually a little frustrating that Claire can remember details about battles she read in a history book years ago, but she doesn’t seem to remember this very odd event. It doesn’t even come up when, while in the 1700s, Jamie shows Claire a pin that is identical to Frank’s description of a pin that the eerie 1900 Scotsman was wearing. So clearly Jamie has been in the 1900s, and I’m going to need that event cleared up stat.