Since the book is soooooo looooooong, I m going to respond by being concise than I would usually, just to get my point across here HOW TO WRITE A TURGID HOT MESS OF A BOOK, IN FIVE EASY STEPS 1 Don t have an outline or any other sort of plan going in Narrative arcs are not important, and neither is change Just have your characters do thing after thing after important thing for a whole novel and it doesn t matter if you have something to tie it all together by the end You can even switch genres halfway through your novel It will totally not be confusing or frustrating at all It is totally okay, even encouraged to have your reader not be able to identify than three or four parts that were actually important and relevant.
2 Describe in great detail meals, bowel movements, sweaty clothing, every poopy diaper, regular updates on the breasts of a character who is breastfeeding a little swollen, leaking milk, rock hard, empty, etc Include extended excerpts from dream journals that hint at character arcs but never actually turn into anything No detail is too small or insignificant DON T EVEN MISS ONE EVERY SMALL DETAIL AND ACTION YOU CAN HAVE YOUR CHARACTERS DO WILL MAKE YOUR NOVEL EVEN LONGER AND HOTTER AND MESSIER Don t listen to those people who tell you that most of the things in your novel should connect to the central storyline or theme Don t listen to the people, even your readers, who will tell you that these moments are nice every now and again, but not all the time Your novel should be mostly these moments, like we re following your characters around in a neverending documentary of their every waking moment over a period of years.
3 Make your novel as long as possible Longer better More better Drown these people in words Their hands should be black with ink and their wrists ache by the time they re finished Never mind that pesky writing advice that says the times you do something, the less impact it will have Never mind all those people who praise concise writing, or get off on variation Your characters are special, and the time you let your readers spend with them, well, they should just be grateful, dammit.
4 When you re at the thousandth page of your manuscript and have been teasing your reader mercilessly with the promise of a plot for hundreds of pages by this point, make sure to take one last completely pointless trip into the woods so your characters can deal with a mystical fucking white ghost bear because in previous books the natives had given them portentous names like The White Raven and Bear Killer, so they re the only ones who can help, obvs Have the bear be killed in a freak storm by a giant bolt of lightning while your characters coincidentally watch The whole episode should take up at least seventy five pages and have no bearing on the plot whatsoeverOr equivalent thereof.
5 Make sure to fit in the actual important bits towards the absolute end of the novel, after your reader has already checked out emotionally from the book and couldn t actually give a flying saucer about any of it any Just really make sure to bury completely the really interesting bits of your novel in absolute mundane as shit stuff so your reader can t even find it Voila Follow this formula, and even your most diehard reader will think twice next time about purchasing your books Again, don t listen to those people with common sense Turning away readers is an excellent way to make money.
And the story continues Listening to these audio books back to back, they are starting to run together I think I mentioned this before, but it s like one big, ongoing Outlander movie or something I don t know if what I listened to was something from the other book or vise versa Here s what I know Everyone is living together at Fraser s Ridge Jamie gets called into the army by the Governor and Roger is with him There is some fighting but I think there is to come And sweet baby Jesus, if Roger didn t go through hell I mean he did do something stupid I thought it was stupid You can t do that stuff back in the day, you could hardly do it now But, when he saw someone he knew he should have just waved and went on about it But no, he has to be an idiot and go over and talk and what not, in the middle of people wanting to start a war Then it just gets horrible from there Luckily a man came and got Jamie and Bree and Claire in the nick of time to save him They thought he was dead and my heart was on the floor until finding out he was still barely alive At this point I would have been thinking, the hell did I come back to this damn arse time in history Alas, it took some time but Roger got better And that slimy Stephen Bonnet is still out there somewhere and they can t seem to get their hands on him And now there is another person they need to beat down, William MacKenzie And of course he s kin so the hell I remember listening a lot about all kinds of babies and goats and horses and craziness and funny stuff At one point I didn t who what freaking kid belonged to who And Ian, he comes home with wolf, Rollo This book was a massive tome to get through but listening to the audio with the wonderful Davina Porter narrating is wonderful She does the best job, ever You would think a book that just goes on about random stuff during the majority of the book would be boring but I they aren t to me There is just something about them And I m still so happy to know that Jamie and Claire still love each other as much as they always have I still really wish they didn t miss 20 years together though It still gets to me, but I digress Now, onto the next MY BLOG Melissa Martin s Reading List When I finished this, my knee jerk reaction was to give it a 4 star However, after some consideration, I have to be honest with myself and say it was really just a 3 star read The Fiery Cross is the 5th book in the Outlander series, a fantasy romance historical time travel everything but the kitchen sink series which began when Claire Randall, on a second honeymoon in Scotland, is thrown back in time from 1946 to Scotland during the Jacobite uprising that ended tragically at the battle of Culloden While stuck in the past, she of course falls in love with a Highland warrior named Jamie Fraser Through four long ass novels, they ve been separated and reunited and managed to get themselves right smackdab in the center of any significant historical event taking place in the 18th century, Jamie s natural ability to lead heightened by Claire s knowledge of what the future holds In The Fiery Cross, Jamie and Claire are now living in America with their daughter, Brianna, and her husband, Roger Jamie finds himself in the role of laird to a group of Scottish immigrants who populate his land grant known as Fraser s Ridge.
I freakin love these novels and that s why it pains me to say that I m suffering from PTDGD Post Traumatic Diana Gabaldon Disorder at the moment Gabaldon has always written massive tomes stuffed full of historical detail and it s clear that this woman does her research, which sets her novels apart from the typical offerings of historical romance This isn t just costume drama However, I don t think I ve ever read a novel in which so much happens and, yet, nothing really happens The novel is so focused on the minutiae of day to day life pigpens are built, militias are gathered and disbanded, fields are plowed, laundry is done, buffalo are hunted that any narrative momentum is nil It just doesn t go anywhere There are rumblings of the American Revolution in the distance, but no real battles other than a brief interlude in which Jamie gathers together a militia to help the governor put down the Regulators and the one driving narrative thread the hunt for Stephen Bonnet, who raped Brianna in an earlier novel fizzles with no real resolution clearly to be picked up in the next novel Admittedly, all of the mundane tasks of daily life are vividly brought to life and readable because the characters are so likable, but Gabaldon can certainly beat a dead horse As evidence, I offer the following 1 She repeatedly overuses some words phrases sardonic, gimlet eye, wry smile, and everyone s mouth twitches at the corner with suppressed amusement at some point in the novel Everyone s eye color is commented upon in every other paragraph Details that diehard fans should be aware of by now are tediously repeated 2 I read about breastfeeding than I ever wanted to Brianna s breasts spend so much time hardening between feedings of her offspring, Jemmy, they should be given their own novel And I won t even comment upon the milk sodden love scene Let s just say it gave a whole new meaning to Got Milk Blech.
3 Why does Roger MacKenzie still listen to Jamie Sure, I know Jamie is his father in law and Roger wants to impress him, but Jamie is constantly sending Roger out on dangerous solo errands to give Roger who is from the future a chance to prove his manliness in a time when men are defenders, providers, apparently tireless lovers, etc However, Roger always almost dies during his undertaking of these tasks He is hung, nearly burnt to a cinder, beaten to within an inch of his life how much must Roger endure Just let him stay home for a couple of chapters Sheesh.
4 The alternating point of view is vexing to me Some chapters are told in 1st person from Claire s point of view and these are definitely the interesting chapters, especially since you are reading about historical events from the perspective of someone who is conflicted about what knowledge she brings from the future and the dangers of revealing too much it s easy to forget that there s a time travel element when Claire isn t narrating , but others are told in third person from other characters perspectives Most of these are told from Roger s point of view Strangely, we never really get anything substantial from Jamie or Brianna s point of view 5 Some chapters seem shoehorned in just because they were too darn cute to leave out In particular, these chapters serve to show how clever someone is or how adorable little baby Jemmy is Don t care Don t give a shit Move on.
And then there s James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser himself or Himself, as he s often called in the novel, denoting his social position of laird God, is there anything this man cannot do As much as I love the character of Jamie, it s becoming increasingly obvious to me that he s female catnip although he does not sparkle he s the anti Edward Cullen and yet they both share a similiar function to make women long for men that do not exist and would probably be endlessly exasperating if they did First off, he s the physical embodiment of masculine perfection tall, well muscled, blazing red hair, piercing blue eyes, fills out a kilt quite nicely if you know what I mean and if you don t, read the book Gabaldon will make it quite apparent He s a fierce warrior and yet a well educated intellectual who is just at home in the courts and palaces of Europe as he is on a battlefield He s multilingual and can read Latin, Greek, French, etc and quote from high literature at a moment s notice He can be a brutal or tender lover depending on whatever Claire s in the mood for He can be a man s man and then inexplicably lapse into shy boy like behavior and whisper sweet nothings Men of the world, give up Compared with Jamie Fraser, you fail Despite all of this, I still enjoyed the novel The relationship between Jamie and Claire has somewhat mellowed, although not in a bad way There s still plenty of ridiculously hot sex between the two, but the relationship isn t marked by the fear of Claire going back to her own time through the stones I also enjoy the good natured vulgarity that runs throughout the characters speech and the humor with which Gabaldon writes And for all of my bellyaching about all of the details of 18th century life, I will concede that if anyone can make it interesting, it s Gabaldon I will be reading A Breath of Snow and Ashes, the 6th book in the series, but I m definitely going to need a lengthy respite between the two.
Cross posted at This Insignificant Cinder Okay don t judge me aber ich glaube, dass es nie ein Outlander Buch geben wird, welches von mir weniger als 5 Sterne bekommt sorry not sorry, aber ich bin einfach so ein Hardcore Fan dieser Reihe schon seit Band 1 Ich hatte das Gef hl, dass dieser Band ein wenig ruhiger war als die 4 Vorg nger Es ging etwas weniger um Krieg Schlachten, sondern viel um Familie und zwischenmenschliche Beziehungen Dennoch kam die Action hier keineswegs zu kurz Meiner Meinung nach ist Gabaldon, was den Spannungsverlauf angeht, eine echte Meisterin immer wenn man anf ngt zu denken och jetzt k nnte aber mal wieder was passieren passiert irgendetwas Ich lese also in permanenter Furcht um unsere Protagonisten Apropos Protagonisten wer liebt sie nicht Jamie und Claire Sie zeigen hier wieder wie grandios verschieden sie sind und wie perfekt sie vielleicht grade deswegen harmonieren F r mich ist Claire einfach die beste Protagonistin, die je der Feder eines Autors einer Autorin entsprungen ist Allein in diesem Buch hat mich ihr selbstironischer Humor mehr als einmal zum Auflachen gebracht Eine herrlich clevere, charmante Frau Neben einigen Lachern gab es f r mich aber auch wieder viele Stellen an denen ich die ein oder andere Tr ne verdr cken musste, vor allem am Ende Das Ende ist dieses Mal zwar kein offensichtlicher Cliffhanger, aber es sind aus dem Laufe des Buches noch so viele Fragen offen, dass man den n chsten Band trotzdem wieder nicht erwarten kann And so book 5 comes to an end I started reading this series on June 16th and they have consumed me for all of my summer holidays I swore I would take a break after each one but could not They are long, they are detailed, all the names get a little confusing sometimes I suppose I, myself, could be accused of jumping on the bandwagon, what with the TV series airing last night in the USA Maybe so, but as I have had the books on my kindle and some of them in paperback for some time now certainly before the glorious casting of Jamie Fraser , I feel I can join the legion of true fans, those of you who started reading this series when it was first released, many moons ago.
To be honest, I am not sure where the last book finished and this one started All I knew is that I wanted to read about Jamie and Claire and their journey in the New World Let the dead bury the dead, Sassenach, he said softly The past is gone the future is not come And we are here together, you and I I was lucky enough to see the first episode of the TV series and it was wonderful I thought it stayed verra true to the book and I am sure that is what Ms Gabaldon and the fans wanted Jamie is perfect He is soooo romantic He is tough too but he has a heart of gold D ye ken that the only time I am without pain is in your bed, Sassenach When I take ye, when I lie in your arms my wounds are healed, then, my scars forgotten We did not study a lot of American History in school We did learn about the obvious major historical moments, The American Revolution, the Colonial period och, aye, anything where the British are trying to take over, us Irish are verra interested I do like history and am very proud that my son is starting his first year in University IN SCOTLAND to study history I think this book was over a two or three year time spam I sort of know because Jamie was the same age as me when the book started and he did then turn 50 Even a fifty year old Jamie is a fine figure of a man You are beautiful, he whispered to me If you say so Do ye not believe me Have I ever lied to you That s not what I mean I mean if you say it, then it s true You make it true But this was not just Jamie and Claire s journey We had Roger and Brianna I love Roger What the poor man had to go through Bloody hell, I nearly gave up at one stage when one part was happening.
ROGER BRIANNA There is still a lot to happen in this adventure.
That ballocks, Stephen Bonnet is still out there, or is he God, I hate that bastard He would have to be Irish, wouldn t he Here is who I imagine the toad would look like I will have the Gandy Police on my case now Och, bring it on I have Jamie on my side There may be a day when you and I shall part again, he said softly, at last, and his fingers brushed my lips, light as the touch of a falling leaf He smiled faintly But it willna be today Off to find my next read It will be a hard act to follow this one.
And how could we forget wee Jemmy Like a Glucose Tolerance Test, Only Recommended for Absolute Die Hard FansA glucose tolerance test is a test given to a pregnant woman in order to determine whether or not she has gestational diabetes The test is administered by forcing the poor pregnant woman to drink a, beyond human portion, of a glucose drink, something that tastes like a sugared soft drink Then glucose levels of the blood are measured at different intervals after the glucose has been metabolized by the body It s not the substance as much as the quantity of the sweet tasting drink that is so difficult to stomach and that it has to be consumed after fasting for eight or hours It s making me a little queasy remembering it Anyway, that s what this book reminded me of I understand that letting Diana Gabaldon run wild without a heavy handed editor worked like magic in the past but there s always an exception to a rule and this would have to be it I loved, Loved, LOVED the first four books in this series and I have given them as gifts to one of my best friends, my mother and my mother in law I thought they were fabulous, I can t say enough good things about them I m having a hard time thinking of something good to say about this book, I do however have plenty of criticism My dilemma is where to startand then, when to stop, I think I could go on and on First, let me say that there is absolutely no reason for this book to be 979 pages long, almost nothing happens There is no unifying thread of story that draws the reader along in this story, there are a few interesting mysteries but they happen somewhat suddenly and then are resolved rather quickly There are two exceptions that will obviously be continued in the next book I loved these characters going into this book I read in The Outlandish Companion that Diana Gabaldon, when asked how she keeps all the details of her characters straight, said that they are like real people to her and she wouldn t forget things about someone she knew Well, I think she must be suffering from some form of long term memory loss because she forgot plenty A few things that were huge, beyond forgiving in my opinion that Duncan has only one arm, that Jamie is left handed I couldn t understand how those two things could ever be forgotten There is a scene where she describes Duncan being carried to bed by Jamie and Major MacDonald limp arms about their shoulders There s another place where she describes Jamie s injured right hand and how it makes writing difficult for him, he s been left handed in the previous four books and he is again at the end of this book but somehow he s using his right hand to write in the middle of the book There were so many other details that were inconsistent but I m not going to try to list them all here I also thought that Gabaldon really victimized Roger, to the point of annoyance I thought she completely changed Brianna s character and failed to develop or reveal the character of any of the rest of the family Fergus seemed an after thought, Lizzie and Marsali as well And the preoccupation with all things scatological was over the top and the phrase comically blank used to describe someone s facial expressions was used so often it almost became a catch phrase And just one thing I have to get off my chest There is a scene where Jamie and another man have an altercation and the man calls Jamie a c the c word Let me say that I am not offended by the c word but that the use of it in this situation was just completely incongruous and gave a false ring to the entire scene I was so disappointed by this book that I m not sure I will read the next one As a reader and fan of the Outlander and the first four books in the series I d really like to know What the heck happened
Nothing happens, repeatedly.
50 chapters of a wedding with a LOT of sexual frustration followed by a murder most foul, an autopsy, and sex in the stables FINALLY More nothing happens.
50 chapters of a large scale battle.
Confrontation where guy gets his balls shot off Maybe.
Ending with us waiting for the revolution to happen.
Throw in a couple of major characters almost dying okay, she really got me with the bit about Roger, I ll admit it Also, a lot of assgrabbing Which is probably better than the spanking But still EVERYBODY is grabbing butts here What is up with that I question why I keep reading these books but they keep me just entertained enough to keep going Also there is some self loathing involved.
So far, the weakest book in the series This book dragged on and on and on It took me about four times as long to finish this one as it did the other four There was just a lot of unnecessary drama The interesting parts were few and far between, but were just enough to keep me reading And I will admit, by the end I was finally engaged enough to want to read the next one, so it didn t turn me off completely There were just a lot of things that didn t need to be in the book This is the first time reading the series that I ve really felt a need for better editing.
You will read this book because you re already deeply involved in the story and invested in the characters, and there s just enough in the book to keep you, but on the whole it s exhausting and a little disappointing.
This is a hard book to review Besides the fact that it s over 1400 pages and took me over a month to read it s Diana Gabaldon She writes fascinating accounts of history, trivia, mythology, a great love story, science fiction and people with great detail.
In some places I wanted to hurry through the details and get to the heart of the story, and other places I savored every word That s the beauty of her writing, you have to read every word, absorb every detail because it will come back maybe 700 pages later, but it does come back and it has some importance.
I also love the fact that she doesn t waste time with back story, she throws you right into the action where the last book left off She repeats a few of the important details, but for the most part lets the reader read between the lines or call upon their own memory of the previous books.