14 December 2009

Review: An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon

Because An Echo in the Bone is the seventh entry in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander historical fiction series, it's near impossible to write a summary without giving spoilers to the earlier books. The review contains no spoilers for this novel but assumes you've read all the others. If you haven't read A Breath of Snow and Ashes yet and can't stand even a hint of a spoiler, then skip down to below the asterisks.

The bulk of An Echo in the Bone finds Claire and Jamie dealing with the realities of the U.S. Revolutionary War during 1776–1777. Although they, of course, have the advantage of knowing that the colonists will win, they are not able to use the knowledge to avoid becoming involved.

Once they make the painful decision to leave Fraser's Ridge, they see the revolution up close. And this leads us to some of the best scenes in the novel: when Claire meets, sees, or hears about historical figures. What would it be like to come face to face with one of our Founding Fathers or a war hero or even an infamous enemy?

At the end of the previous novel, Roger and Brianna discovered a trunk in twentieth-century Lollybroch that held letters and trinkets from Jamie and Claire. We thus learn some of the eighteenth-century story through those letters and from a more modern perspective.

The novel also contains continuing story lines concerning Fergus, wee Ian, and Lord John and his son in America and Jenny and Ian in Scotland.

* * * * * * *
At more than 800 pages and 45+ hours of audio, there's a lot of Claire and Jamie to enjoy in this novel. And their story and those of their loved ones do not disappoint. On the other hand, Lord John and his family take up a good bit of the book, and I found those sections to be less interesting than the scenes involving the Frasers.

An Echo seems to be the setup to what is supposedly the final entry in the Outlander series. It reminded me of The Fiery Cross in the sense that, although there is a lot of action, there is not a lot of moving forward. I was left with a little bit of an empty feeling and the dismal thought that I'm going to have to wait a long time to see how it will all work out.

I am a huge fan of this series, and so when I say this isn't the best one of the lot, I am not saying it is bad. It's a must-read novel for those of us who are addicted to the Frasers, and some of the plot lines have taken interesting and intertwined paths. I'm pouting because I want to know what happens next.

I listened to the unabridged audio of the novel. Davina Porter does her usual brilliant job as narrator, and I never tire of listening to her voice. She adds just the right amount of drama and emotion to the audio to make the book come alive.

Diana Gabaldon has a wesbite where you can keep up with all the news, including rumors of the Outlander movie.

An Echo in the Bone at Powell's
An Echo in the Bone at Amazon
These 3 links lead to affiliate programs.

Published by Random House, 2009
ISBN-13: 9780385342452
Challenges: 100+
YTD: 93
Source: Bought (see review policy)Rating: B


Sandy Nawrot 12/14/09, 6:07 AM  

I've yet to start Breath of Snow and Ashes yet. I think I burned myself out. I will finish them though. Maybe I'll just stretch it out until the final book. Can you imagine all the insanity that is sure to come in that one? I get chills just thinking about it! I fear, however, that when it is over, I will grieve. My life has been consumed by this story.

Julie P. 12/14/09, 7:03 AM  

I admit that I didn't read this one closely because I have most of the books and haven't gotten around to reading them yet!

Amy 12/14/09, 7:15 AM  

I liked it but was disappointed in the end. Too many cliffhangers for me! It did answer a lot of questions and give me my little Outlander fix though.

Chris 12/14/09, 7:28 AM  

The last 100 pgs or so were the best. I do wish she'd get to the point sometimes. That was a lot of book!

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) 12/14/09, 9:05 AM  

I remember loving the first few novels in this series, but then and I don't know how, I lost interest. Ii think I would have ti start over again at the first books, which I loved to see if I would want to stick with the Frasers through all of these books and pages.

bermudaonion 12/14/09, 9:57 AM  

I'm not sure I want to get started with this series because it seems like it requires such an investment of your time. I'm not sure I could stay focused on 45+ hours of audio.

Melissa 12/14/09, 6:39 PM  

I loved Outlander but had such a hard time getting into Dragonfly in Amber that I'm nervous about trying to get into it again and finishing up the series. And I don't know that I could handle 45 hours of audio on anything...

Melody 12/14/09, 6:50 PM  

This is the series I'd love to read but yet at the same time initimidated by the thickness of the books. ;)

Esme 12/14/09, 8:22 PM  

I have not read this series at all-even though it does appeal to me.

Nise' 12/14/09, 8:53 PM  

I am in the middle of The Fiery Cross and agree that Davina is wonderful! I hope to get to Echo soon!

Jenners 12/14/09, 10:05 PM  

I've heard so much about this series but am still not sure if I want to read it!

Alice Teh 12/15/09, 1:17 AM  

I've heard so many good things about this series. I haven't read any of Gabaldon's works but I know my friends love them!

Connie 12/16/09, 10:15 PM  

I've been picking this book up in the bookstore and putting it down for weeks now. Why, oh, why, does Gabaldon assume that we are as in love with Lord John as she is? LESS PLEASE.

S. Krishna 12/22/09, 10:14 AM  

I've gotten through the first three books in the series, I think. I want to pick up the rest, but they are soooo long and I feel like a lot of what happens is filler to make the books long! Still, I will be picking them up again at some point!

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