Still invested in Outlander

I read the 5th book in the Outlander series last week, The Fiery Cross.

I am now over 5,000 pages into Claire and Jamie’s story, and I’m still trucking along. I haven’t experienced any Outlander fatigue, although sometimes I do laugh at the story lines that go on for 100 pages only for the outcome to have no actual import on the big picture. If I didn’t love the characters so much, it would drive me crazy.

Things that I enjoy:

  • Claire and Jamie’s relationship is just as engaging as it was at the start.
  • Bree and Roger are more fully fleshed out, which makes their story lines more interesting – in the last few books I wanted to rush through their chapters to get back to Claire and Jamie.
  • The historical detail – I love it!! Especially the medicine – some reviewers say they are tired of all the attention bestowed on Claire’s medical practice, but I think it’s fascinating, and fairly well done!

Things I don’t like:

  • Bree was breastfeeding for the majority of this book, and hearing about her leaking breast milk and wet splotches on her bodice was tiresome after the first 100 times
  • Like I mentioned before, the plot lines that go nowhere. At one point, the militia is mustered, on the march, they find an abandoned cabin, adopt some orphans, find a weird medical emergency that Claire needs to solve, have a run in with a panther (??), and then get a note that calls off the whole thing. So the militia goes back home, after 250 pages of trekking around.
  • The pacing – the book opens at a Gathering, where all the displaced Scottish settlers in North Carolina gather for a 3 day festival. Specifically, it opens on the last day, and the first 200 pages take place all between dawn and noon? SO MUCH HAPPENS, and I keep assuming that the afternoon has gone by, and we’re getting close to the evening’s activities but no, it’s still “mid-morning” and they haven’t had breakfast yet. Very disconcerting.

Overall I really enjoyed reading this. I spent a day off reading all day! I barely touched the internet! I was 100% in the early 1770s with Claire and Jamie and the rest of the gang at Fraser’s Ridge. That being said, I do need to take a break between each book in the series, I don’t think I’ll be ready for #6 until next month, or maybe even the end of summer.

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April/early May 2015 reads!!

drumsofautumnamericanahtheorchardist

I read Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (finally) and loved it – I won’t go into much of a recap but trust – all the hype and praise and recommendations are much deserved.

The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin was an interesting read – here’s the synopsis from Wikipedia:

Haunted by the disappearance of his younger sister forty years earlier, William Talmadge has taken refuge in the careful tending of his isolated apple orchard. His solitary life is shared only with the local midwife, Caroline Middey, and Clee, a Nez Perce horseman and childhood friend. Then two half-wild, starving and very pregnant teen-aged girls arrive. They are Jane and Della, sisters who have escaped the abuse of a brothel and its proprietor Michaelsen. Curious, but respectful of their wariness, Talmadge patiently cultivates their trust and creates a haven for them among his trees. A series of tragedies leaves Jane’s baby daughter, Angelene, in Talmadge’s care and sets Della on a lifelong journey to reconcile her own demons.

But I don’t think the book is about Della. Della is an awful character. Well, she is a complicated character that a lot of awful things happened to, and she isn’t the person you are most drawn to. Angelene and Talmadge are the true stars, the ones you root for, and it is their trajectory that readers are most invested in. Their journey fuels this story, but the spark that brings it all to life is Della.

And I am still slogging through the Outlander series. Drums of Autumn… where do I begin? 1100 or 1200 pages later, I’m still hooked, but I feel like a jaded old timer when I talk to people who have one read the first book, or just watched the show. In Drums of Autumn, there are story lines that take 200 or 300 pages to resolve, and have NO EFFECT on the bigger storyline. But I read on anyway, I love Claire and Jamie, I love their little family, and although I wasn’t nuts about their daughter  Bree’s storyline, I have even gained some affection for her and Roger… So yes, I will be reading on until the bitter end, but for now I am on an Outlander break.