First off, Davina Porter is hands down my favorite voice ever, no contest. I'm tempted to buy other audio she has done just to listen to a masterful voice actress. As far as Echo goes, I enjoyed it as much as any other Outlander book to date. I have an understanding that this feels like a transitional book (because Jamie and Claire can't live forever) but the character development of Roger, Brianna, Jeremiah and William are comforting for a potential new series. The thing I appreciate the most is an extremely long story that has such vivid detail and picks up and answers questions that may have been left in past outlander books. I actually get a little sad when the book is done because I know it will be some time before another new work is released. Thanks Diana and Davina!!
The design on the book cover is intentional. There are 4 storylines that weave throughout the book: Jamie and Claire's continuing adventures in the midst of the American Revolution; Lord John and his son, who are on the British side; Roger and Brianna and their children; and Ian. The story lines converge and separate, with a lot of cliffhangers at the end, which will obviously be concluded in the next, and possibly last book of the series. I strongly urge new readers to first read both the earlier "Outlander" books and at least the "Brotherhood of the Blade" about Lord John Grey. Most are in unabridged audiobook form -- only "The Fiery Cross" and "A Breath of Snow and Ashes" have yet to be released [contract reasons] "Echo" is less a stand-alone than the other books, although Gabaldon does provide backstory.
Davina Porter does her usual wonderful job with the narration and the voices. She really gets Jamie and Claire perfectly, along with the subsidiary characters. "Echo" has been long awaited, and lives up to the expectations.
I've listened to all the books in this series and love them all! I'm anxious for the unabridged versions of "The Fiery Cross" and "A Breadth of Snow and Ashes" to become available on Audible. You might think that 45 hours of listening is daunting, but this book includes many new characters and their integral roles with the main characters. I'm curious to see if D.G. is going to flesh out Ian's character in her next book since I felt like she teased us with his role in this book. I was however, disappointed with the ending, it just seemed to stop. D.G. is such a wonderful writer that I expected a better ending than she delivered. Don't let this stop you from purchasing the book, it is well worth it.
I have read every book in the "Outlander" series. Each book does reach back to the previous book but could stand on it's own because it does have a beginning middle and end. I felt that this book was disjointed and introduced characters and just left them hanging.(for the next book, I can only hope).Also situations were just left up in the air. It's not like an old time movie matinee, where you would come back the following week to find out what happens. This may take a year or two, and had I known this I would have waited for the next book to come out before reading this one. (this is just my opinion) If you truly love the Clare & Jamie saga nothing will hold you back. But for me I needed more of a solid conclusion at least to "the book at hand".
Really puzzled at the 1-star reviews - except for that of the first-time Gabaldon reader - no wonder you didn't like it, my dear! You MUST start with "Outlander"! One of the deep pleasures of this wonderful series is developing a depth of knowledge both of the individual characters and their complex relationships to each other. Do note that each book is 30-40 hours - there's a HUGE amount of background to the 6th book. 30 full and eventful years have passed since Claire and Jamie first met! It could not possibly make any sense to you. These are not meant as independent reads, and you simply cannot start with the 6th book. As for the ending - yes, a lot happened quickly, but it didn't feel a bit manipulated to me - quite legitimately thrilling cliffhangers IMHO. Left me wanting to start over with Outlander so I can spend more time with the characters until the next book in the series comes out. I am SO glad I was not put off by the negative reviews. This was a delicious read!
I'm hearing teacher voices
At this point, 6-7,000 pages into the epic series, Diana can take me wherever she wants to go. What's so great about this audio version of Book 7 is that it continues to feature voice actor Davina Porter, who must have performed nearly 300 hours in the Outlander series by now. Porter is magnificent, in part because she's able to create a variety of convincing male (as well as female) voices. This is a rare gift among audio artists. May she and DG live long and continue this partnership.
D.G. introduced me to the extreme novel...and I love them now because you get so involved with the characters.
Diana's books are always lengthy and so vividly detailed, her characters are three dimensional because she gives such lavish and loving attention introducing them to you....Echo is a let down as she spent more time on the battles that she did on the people.
I realize that Jamie & Claire cannot live forever and Echo is obviously a transitional book, moving us toward their ending and more into the lives of others that come after.
I believe Diana tried to convince us that William has the warrior instincts of Jamie, but not the boldness or passions as he was raised by John. The nature vs. nuture thing.
I believe she tried to inspire in us the fear of father vs son on the battlefield....but it came across as so much of a history lesson that the drama we crave got buried. I was very bored with the amount of time spent developing battles.... There were so many other things brought to the story in the end that could have been fleshed out during the meat of the story. We were hurried thru so much of the stuff that D.G. normally makes us see and feel deeply.
One personal pet peeve...In an interview about Echo, D.G. promised that she would reveal why Jamie could dream the future, how/why he saw Claire in the future, and resolve the Jamie GHOST from Outlander....where he stares up at Claire and Frank's room BEFORE Claire falls thru time. Nope. Not in this book.
If you love Jamie and Claire, buy the book because it is the next stepping stone in the saga and you need it to build your bridge to the end. Just don't expect it to leave you breathless like the others.
At this point, we aren't reading these books for the historical battles. Unfortunately, that is what you get in spades in Echo. While the plot line for our beloved characters in interesting and shocking, you have to drag yourself through all the war intrigue and battles to get to it. The last 100 pages are filled with things we need to know but it feels like the publishing date rushed her to throw down the end story so what we get is a very abbreviated telling of these important and exciting events. This book SHOULD be wonderful. This story SHOULD be a payoff. Maybe the next book will give us what we all want. Jamie, Jamie, Jamie and surprising resolutions for all our favorite characters.
As for the narration, Davina is perfection like always.
Good writing has ... a balance and a rhythm. You can feel that much better when it's read aloud. --Laura Hillenbrand, author of Unbroken
It has been five years since "An Echo in the Bone" was published, and the long awaited Volume 8 is finally imminent (June 2014). Although readers are now five years older, the forthcoming "Written in My Own Heart's Blood" will apparently pick up the story on the same day (well at least one of the same days) "Echo" ended.
I started listening to this series four years ago and listened to them all in sequence (along with the Lord John Grey books--and a lot other books in between). I just recently finished "Echo," so I guess I timed it right. I can't imagine how frustrating it's been for fans of the series who read "Echo" when it came out to have had all those cliffhangers hanging all this time. You've probably re-read the book in anticipation of the new one; it's certainly a good idea to do so.
After three books set claustrophobically in frontier North Carolina and stories centered almost exclusively on Jamie, Claire, Roger, and Brianna, in "Echo" we *finally* get off of Fraser's Ridge--with a vengeance! If almost nothing happened in "Fiery Cross" and the action was slow (and mostly depressing) in "Snow and Ashes," then "An Echo in the Bone" seems determined to make up for it. Not only do characters from previous books (notably Ian, Lord John, and William) now take center stage right along with J,C,R&B, we are suddenly world and time travelers again. The action covers much of the American east coast, has great scenes in Scotland (in TWO story lines, 200 years apart!), and for kicks throws in several scenes in London and France. We meet historical characters, including Benedict Arnold and a naked Ben Franklin. Even Rollo the Wolfhound gets featured actor status.
The mind reels and the plot jumps can be hard to follow, but I enjoyed "An Echo in the Bone." I'm especially grateful for the action-packed pace after the previous two snoozers. I think you do need to have read "The Brotherhood of the Blade" in the Lord John series to fully appreciate "Echo," but that should not be a hardship; in my opinion, "Brotherhood" is, all things considered, Diana Gabaldon's best novel to date. And I'm glad I won't have to wait five years to find out what happened in Philadelphia that day.
Love! Love! Love! I don't know how she continues to do it and, oh my goodness, how long do we have to wait for number 8. Along with J.D. Robb and Janet Evanovich, Diana Gabaldon has me hooked. And I have shared that addiction with several friends and now they are just as bad as I am. Don't stop writing, pleaaasssseeee.