I would give 4-5 stars to the first 5 parts but only 1 to the sixth. It was wonderful to be back in the company of these characters, narrated by the excellent Davina Porter. True there is a lot of battle and history explained, but I was fine with that. I enjoyed the way she expanded on some of the minor characters as well.
However I found the ending downright annoying. The last part felt as if it was written in a rush to meet a deadline, left far too many things hanging, and included utterly unbelievable behavior by Claire. I don't need loose ends to propel me to purchase the next book - she has me hooked on Jamie, Claire and company. I also felt a little manipulated, as if she wants us to read more of her Lord John series (which I don't find very compelling), so she included elements which didn't make sense to the story--or maybe I'm just a bit disgruntled by the bizarre behavior she wrote in for Claire and Lord John.
I wouldn't miss a segment of the remarkable Outlander series, but I hope the author treats her legions of fans with a bit more respect on the next book. Sure we are eager for the next installment, but let's hope she takes as long as she needs to write it.
btw(I was glad to see the publisher's note about the earlier two books - will gladly buy those when they show up on Audible, unabridged with Davina Porter.)
Classical history buff, but find most of history fascinating. Love books, ballet, and basketball.
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.
As one who loves history but generally finds historical novels a bit dry and too full of battles, the Outlander series has been a magnificent gift.
Just finished listening, for the 2nd time, the entire seven volume series in anticipation of Gabaldon's 8th addition due out in June. Ha! Seven months absorbed in time traveling back 200 years. Delightful! This second listen/read (always more rich to do both at once with Gabaldon) was far more exciting and rewarding than anticipated. Noticed many more fascinating historical details and the characters were more alive to me than ever. Gabaldon's character development over this 20 year period is intimate and dynamic. Claire is now my age in An Echo in the Bone and quite the avatar of my idealized self. Adore her many flaws, echoing my own, as the wisecracking, irreverent, bull in a china shop. If only to have her sexual prowess!
What I especially love about An Echo in the Bone is the depiction of the Revolutionary War through the eyes of ordinary people, allowing me to finally understand the reality of that war. Her writing gets better and more colorful with each novel, astounding as her first volume, Outlander, was brilliant historical fiction, vividly penned with an impeccably crafted plot, surrounding characters whom you either passionately love or totally abhor. And so much humor and philosophical musing.
Why her books are listed as Romance is infuriatingly baffling. They are definitely the finest of Historical Fiction, if not masterfully scribed Literature.
I love this series of books. I love this narrator. I love that all the books in the series are now available on Audible (there were two in the middle that previously weren't). The Outlander series is what Audible is all about.
The series is the story of a woman who accidentally travels 200 years back in time and meets the love of her life. Whenever I explain this premise to people I get raised eyebrows, but the truth is that the books are more historical fiction than sci fi/fantasy. I read an interview with the author once in which she said she set out to write historical fiction, but just couldn't get into the mindset of an 18th century woman so devised the time travel in order to place a modern woman in the period she wanted to write about. That decision made the books even more interesting. All of the main characters are relatable and fleshed-out. The history is meticulously researched. The conversations, love stories, intrigue, etc feel organic. The descriptions of Scotland - both modern and historical - are amazing and make me love the country even though I've never been. I really have almost no criticisms of the writing.
Meanwhile, Davina Porter is one of the best narrators I've encountered in an audiobook. (Thank you, thank you to the narrator and audiobook producers or whoever arranged for the same narrator to read the whole series so far.) She manages to have a completely different voice for each main character and to my untrained ear moves effortlessly from one accent to another as the story dictates. Her American accent is not perfect, but it's still very good. She has a great cadence, sounds like she's read the book 100 times prior to narrating, and never stumbles over what must be incredibly difficult Gaelic words... (in fact, a friend of mine who is reading the whole series on paper calls me occasionally to have me pronounce the Gaelic words for her).
Clearly, these are some of my favorite all time audiobooks. Despite their length, I'm on my third time through the series. Speaking of length, all the books in the series are pretty long, but still only one credit so if you have an Audible subscription, they are great deals. In short, buy the books, you won't regret it.
I have loved the Outlander series so far, and even got a recorded books account just to listen to the unabridged two books that aren't on audible. I was extremely disappointed in this book. There were way too many characters that should either have their own series or be left out completely (Lord John already has his own series, we don't need to hear from him for half of this book too). And in the end almost nothing was tied up, so we are left completely hanging (unlike the other books, where the story lines were more completed). So now I guess we have to wait a long time for her to write another incredibly long book, where hopefully we wont be left hanging again.
I love this book series and can't wait for the next installment, which I must assume is coming soon since this book stopped so abruptly with many of the main characters in peril, both in modern day and in Revolutionary War era America. Davina Porter's voicing of the various characters and her uncanny ability to do the Scottish and Irish accents are truly engaging and amazing.
I think at this point, anyone that picks of this book is already hooked on Jamie, Claire, et al. (or atleast they should be). This anxiously awaited book did not let me down. My only complaint was the abrupt, multiple cliff hanger ending. Too much for such a ardent fan!
I love this series and reading it felt like coming home. These characters are written in such detail and the historical setting is so accurate that it is easy to visulize every scene. I have a lot of money invested in the audio verison of all of these books and I do NOT regret one penny. They are wonderful to revisit and I always look forward to the next one.
I've read/listened to each of the books in this saga. This one is severely disappointing. All of the prior books were well-done with good character development, interesting plot, fascinating historical research, and, above all, satisfying closure. The author seemed to show respect for the intelligence of her reader. This novel leaves so many open threads that it almost boasts the need for a sequel to finish it, leaving the listener to wonder if the author's real desire is merely more sales in the future. She would have been better off never writing this novel and if you enjoy the saga, stop before this one.