Dragonfly in Amber: Book Review by Dinh
After finishing the first book Outlander I was very keen in reading the second book Dragonfly in Amber and finding out what happens next.
Here’ s the video book review or continue reading by scrolling down.
We ended the first book Outlander, of the Outlander series with Jamie recovering in the abbey, finding out that Claire was pregnant and them setting off to France to thwart the uprising of 1745 and the battle at Culloden Moor.
In Dragonfly in Amber, we start off in the book not at that point in the story where we just left off in Outlander but in the future, in 1968. This left me for a loop as I was expecting a straight forward continuation of the story.
I had to get my head around the fact that we just found out that Claire was pregnant and now twenty years later, she has a daughter and living in the present time!
Claire and her daughter Brianna are in Scotland. Claire’s husband Frank Randall has died and Claire is free to tell her daughter who her real father is.
Claire had promised Frank that she would not tell Brianna that Jamie was her biological father while he was still alive, and that she would not look into what happened with Jamie after she left him.
Now that Frank is dead, Claire is at liberty to tell Brianna the truth.
So in order for Claire to tell Brianna and make her understand the truth, she takes Brianna to Scotland and with the aid of Roger Wakefield, adopted son of Reverend Wakefield, to try and tell her the incredible fantastical truth.
I was very confused at first with the two story lines going on but after the initial setup of the explanation, the book resumed with Claire’s and Jamie’s story and it all panned out nicely.
Dragonfly in Amber follows Claire and Jamie to Paris and then back again to Scotland whilst they try to change history and outcome at Culloden Moor.
On reading the prologue I was very excited to find out what was coming up in the book, especially when it promised to explain the purpose of Craigh Na Dun. Here’s an excerpt that got my heart pumping:
“Some say the hill is enchanted, others say it is cursed. Both are right. But no one knows the function or the purpose of the stones.
What didn’t I like?
The start of Dragonfly in Amber was a bit slow for my liking especially when the first book Outlander had left on such a high note.
The continuation of Claire and Jamie’s life did not even start until page 71. Part one was all about why Claire and Brianna were in Scotland.
It was just a bit too long for my liking. I would have rather got it got into the nitty gritty of the book and just focused on Claire and Jamie.
I suppose it was necessary as we need the explanation of the time lines and how Claire has a daughter and why they are at the present time.
The flash back and flash forward together with the two story lines made sense at the end.
While reading it, the plot was disconnected and was unbalanced and it didn’t have the flow I was looking for. I was specifically thinking of the part after Jamie had a duel with his mortal enemy and Claire came to intervene.
Claire is in a difficult emotional and physical state and we don’t know exactly what happens. That whole part of the book was vague and was hard to put together all the missing pieces.
There are numerous new characters and the abundance historical details meant that I couldn’t put the book down and remember where I had left off. I had to re-read some parts again to remind myself what was going on.
What I liked
I enjoyed Dragonfly in Amber overall, but did not find it as good as the first book Outlander.
Although it had all the aspects of a good novel that I like: beautifully written, good strong characters and great story line, I found that I was not as captivated as the first novel. Perhaps this is symptomatic of sequels.
Dragonfly in Amber is another hefty book with 743 pages in the hardcover version with many new characters and plots with deception, lies and intrigue. The amount of pages didn’t bother me only the fact that too many of them were spent on Claire and Brianna at the beginning of the novel.
The fantastic characters in the Outlander series make the books really enjoyable.
What I liked best was the strained and difficult relationship that Claire and Jamie has in this book. Marriage is difficult and sacrifices are made but somehow they always come back to each other.
I was happy to get to know more about Jamie. Jamie’s character really comes into focus in this book. We see him run his cousin’s Jared wine business while at the same time trying to stop the Bonnie Prince’s plans to invade and take back the crown against the British.
Jamie’s skills are endless as he mingles with the nobility and other influential people of King Louis’ court to get information that may help them with their goal of stopping the rising of ’45.
What’s not to love about Claire? Claire’s strong personality is also evident as she adapts to another new environment. We see her struggle with the need to be useful and have a purpose and her ups and down with the pregnancy.
Claire voices her needs and finds a solution for her problem. She volunteers her time at L’Hôpital des Anges, the local hospital to avoid the boredom she feels and her desire to help and use her skills in the process.
Roger Wakefield is also a good character in this book. Roger was in Outlander and Claire had met him when he was a young boy. Now, Roger plays a main role in the story. It is very clever of Gabaldon to have side story lines involving different characters.
Other interesting characters include Raymond, Mother Hildergarde, Mary Hawkins and Alex Randall.
In summary, I enjoyed this book immensely because it was nicely written and there was great character development and it left on a cliffhanger. Voyager the third book in the Outlander series is on my to read pile!
Check out Outlander Book Review!