Genre fiction, trashy to literary--mystery, action, sci fi, fantasy, and, yes, even romance. Also history. Listener reviews help a lot!
I turned my nose up at the Outlander series for years, thinking that these books were nothing more than silly, schlocky romances. It was the listener reviews on Audible that convinced me to try the first book in the series, and *much* to my surprise I became an enthusiastic fan, both of this series and of the complementary series by Gabaldon that features Lord John Grey.
Davina Porter's wonderful narration makes the audio versions of these books better than their print incarnations. I also find Jeff Woodman's interpretation of the Grey novels delightful.
Loved "Outlander" and "Dragonfly in Amber." Thought "Voyager" was the best of the series so far, and indeed rank it as one of the most enjoyable books I've ever listened to. "Drums of Autumn" was a bit of a letdown, partly because "Voyager" was so good and partly because of the prominence of the character I have come to think of as "Bratty Brianna" (actually I use another adjective, but not on a public site). But "Drums" had an action-packed story that kept me turning the pages (or the audio equivalent).
"The Fiery Cross," unfortunately, moves more slowly than an icebound Highland stream in January. The detailed descriptions of the difficult everyday life on the American frontier in 1771--a time without toilet tissue or disposable diapers, as we learn in not one but several accounts of baby Jem's "exploits"--take up far more than is reasonable of the massive page count in this book, which lacks the edge-of-your seat action of Jamie and Claire's previous adventures. Brianna is still around. She has become a little less bratty now that she's reunited with Roger (nothing wrong with Roger except that he's not Jamie Frasier), but the constant references to her breast milk got nauseating.
The next book in the series, "A Breath of Snow and Ashes," is in my library, but I'm going to wait and bit and rest up from (or perhaps, better, try and wake up from) the Fiery Cross before moving on. The reviews seem to indicate ABoSaA is a better story, so I'll keep going.
I have been thoroughly enjoying the Outlander series. The first book, "Outlander" was just brilliant, and I also liked "Dragonfly in Amber" quite a bit. "Voyager" left a bit to be desired and "Drums of Autumn" was a good story but had slowed down the storyline and needed an editor badly. Gabaldon has become enamored of deeetaaaaaiil. She clearly does a lot of research into the subjects she writes about, even including excruciating detail about how things smell and what seasickness is like and the diets of Scottish farmers and... well... a lot of detail.
And in "The Fiery Cross" she really let loose. It's almost as if she can't help herself. It took several hours just to get through the first day of the novel. The book is much, much too long and clearly is intended as a transition to get the reader into the life of Jamie and Claire in the American wilderness. But there were many places where I just wanted them to MOVE ON ALREADY.
Why did I continue listening? Well, principally because Davina Porter is an absolute genius at narrating these books. I cannot praise her enough. She is simply perfectly brilliant. She has the wonderful Scots brogue down pat, and it contrasts beautifully with British accents she uses - several different ones. And her Scots brogue is distinctly different from her Irish brogue. And she delivers non-English as if she were a native speaker of each of the languages, from Gaelic to French to Mohawk to Iroquois. She even figured out how to deliver French spoken with a Gaelic accent! The only thing she can't do is American English. The Americans in the novel all ended up sounding like British. But that's OK. I'd listen to these books just to listen to her amazing skill and range.
I finished because I had to move on to "The Fiery Cross" as I'm not ready to abandon this wonderful saga. Gabaldon is that amazing a writer.
It is about time The Fiery Cross was made available in the unabridged version!!! I love this whole series and was devastated at the abridged version of this book! It was total butchery! Diana is an amazing writer encompassing history and romance with action/adventure, myths and legends and time travel all within an amazing story! And NO ONE could narrate these books other than Davina Porter! Her ability to give each of the characters their own distinct voice allows the reader to know who is speaking without being told and she has a firm grasp on each personality so that it makes the listener feel as if they are not only a part of the story but a part of the family as well. Can't wait for book 8!!!
Mostly boring. I've listened to the other 4, had to get through this one. I like the characters but the story isn't compelling enough anymore to keep me caring about what happens to them next. Not interested in farm life in North Carolina in the 1770s. Yawn.
Probably anyone who's gotten this far in the Outlander series is doing it as a labor of love (& they're definitely best done in order), so overall it gets 5 stars, even if 4/4 doesn't seem to lead to 5. My minor gripes with this entry in this wonderful, absurdly bloated epic (& they said Stephen King was too wordy!) don't keep me from basically thinking it's great; terrific story, great characters, great history, great performance.
1. With the story itself; we see more of Bree in this one, & it ain't all pretty. The tantrums & snits she comes up with are not at all surprising, considering what her mother said & did at times (but she grew out of it), but they're even scarier coming from an Amazon like 6-foot tall Brianna. She tends to punch when someone --usually tho not always, poor ole, good ole Roger-- gets her mad (which is not difficult). The girl is in serious need of anger management. It makes her considerably less of a sympathetic character to me. Granted, she has some major things to deal with, but it doesn't justify her beating up her man....& then she turns around & hesitates be mean to someone who really deserves it (like S Bonnet).
2. The narration: Davina Porter does a truly awesome job yet again, but...at times in this entry she slides just over the line & becomes a bit overwrought. She still is spot on with the characters' voices & dialogue, but this time she has a tendency to over-dramatize text --the 'stage directions,' as it were. Such as when the thunder crashes, she really bears down on the CRASHED. Sorta like; ...the..night..passed...slowly... and then thedaypassedquickly. Rather as one reads a bedtime story to a young child, with LOTS of emphasis & acting out of words. It's not drastic, just somewhat short of the very-near perfect touch of her performances of the earlier books.
My one last gripe is that Claire & Brianna both tend to totally ignore the fact that they are in a completely different world than that of the 20th century. They just stomp around as if it's 1968 America, like huge loud, quintessential "ugly" Americans crashing a formal tea ceremony & demanding some dang burgers & a beer & Honey get me a real chair, I ain't gonna sit on the floor & where's the TV! Claire & Bree are basically on an alien planet... & then they get mad at the 'natives' when some huge communication gap yawns because they've completely steamrolled social custom & the mores of the time. They repeatedly forget that people ended up dead a lot in the 18th century for far less provocation than they offer at times; just chatting someone of the opposite sex at a party could lead to guys dead at dawn, but neither of them really pays much attention to what comes out of their mouths.
Have listened to all Diana's books (twice)- including the abridged version (hated it). The detail and depth of her stories are what makes them so great, not to mention Davina's wonderful narration. I am in love with Jaime- and appreciate the research that went into the historical part of the novels. Would love for this series to go on forever. Great listen and well worth the credit!
The entire story could be told in five minutes -- but it took this book more than 30 hours to do it.
It wasn't a horrible book because if you have come this far you have grown to love the characters. But, not a whole lot really happens. There is a lot of the characters we have grown to love going through their every day lives... dayyyy byyyyy dayyyyy.
I'm a 24-year-old woman who loves to read. The longer the book, the better. The Stand, The Help and The Hunger Games are my favorites.
This has been a long time coming. For me, it's been 3 years of requesting this at least once a week. Fantastic series with a fantastic reader. Now I can finish the series and see what happens to all the characters. Thank you audible for making this available.
For new readers, I strongly recommend starting with Outlander and working your way forward. What I love about these books is that they don't fit into any specific genre. There's romance, bloodshed, betrayal, time travel, Etc., but please don't let the fact that this is a bit of a science fiction read discourage you from trying it out because there's so much more to this series. I mean, who can resist a scottish warrior.:) I myself finished Outlander in 2 weeks, and that was during my Freshman year of college, and it happened to be the end of the semester.
As I've said, these books are very different which is hard to find these days. Davina Porter is an AMAZING narrator also. Like I say, start with Outlander if you are new to this series and don't let the fact that this book is list in the sci-fi category discourage you from at least trying it.
Seriously. After waiting all this time for the unabridged audible version, I finally got started listening to this and am now thinking abridgment might not be such a bad thing. I am pretty sure that fewer than 8 hours of time in the story pass in the first 8 hours of the recording. I got very impatient for the story to start moving, and when it finally seemed to get along, the multiple storylines separate and backtrack over the same time again. I am still only to part 3 of the recording, but at 16 hours in, it isn't too early to say that even fans are going to need a lot of patience with this book.
Read them all and you will read them again and again.
Davina Porter is the best Narrator of Diana's books.
She gets the voices so down that you know who she is talking about
before the book tells you. Recommend, recommend!!!!