5 of 5 stars to ‘Written in my own heart’s blood’ by Diana Gabaldon

WIMOHB

So invested

James Fraser has come back, presumably from the dead, to find that his wife has married his best friend. William has discovered that he is really the illegitimate son of General James Fraser. Oh, and did I forget to mention that they’re in the middle of the American revolution? But at least they know their only daughter is safe, back in the twentieth century…or is she?

If there was ever a cliffhanger in the Outlander series, ‘An echo in the bone’ was it. I’ve been dying to find out what happens to Jamie and Claire. The story picks up right in the thick of the action, and the blunders, misunderstandings and consequences make for entertaining reading. Once again, I found the war and camp scenes tedious at times, but that really just made it more authentic.

The storyline with Roger was fun, but I’m not sure it really added much to the story. The plot with Brianna was understated. I was a little surprised by this, as Gabaldon is not one to shy away from what could have been a seriously thrilling encounter. It was a little too vague for my liking.

I enjoyed seeing a more ‘human’ side to Claire in this installment. She’s been through so much and always appears so strong and put together. Sometimes she can come across as hard because of her efficiency, so this softer side was endearing.

I’ve never before stuck with a series for so long. Usually by book four, I find the story begins to repeat and the characters start to annoy me, but I can honestly say that I’ve never been more invested in a set of characters as I have been – and continue to be – with the Frasers. Another pearl from Gabaldon!

5 of 5 stars to ‘The Shadow Prince’ by Stacey O’Neale

Shadow Prince

Fantastic start to a great series

Rowan, only heir to Queen Prisma of the Fire court has spent most of his life in the mortal world, training and perfecting the art of fire. When he receives the call to return to Avalon, Rowan is intrigued and also hesitant. Queen Prisma has decided to abdicate her throne to her son, but Rowan knows that where the cruel Queen is concerned, there have to be ulterior motives at play. And he is right. Queen Prisma has set one task for Rowan to complete before he ascends the throne, to kill the innocent halfling daughter of the Air court King. Can Rowan complete his evil task and can he face the consequences of his actions?

It’s short, but if this novella is any indication of the rest of the series, I’m very excited! O’Neale has created a wonderfully complex, vivid world in a few short pages, an outstanding achievement for any author. Rowan’s character is swoon-worthy romantic, with just the right amount of ‘boyishness’. I absolutely loved the banter between Rowan and the Hound. It revealed so many parts of his character without ‘telling’ and was humorous and very ‘male’ at the same time. The creation of the world was unique, the plot fast-paced, the writing superb.

This author is one to watch out for!

5 of 5 stars to ‘A breath of snow and ashes’ by Diana Gabaldon

A breath of snow and ashes

An uncertain future

The American revolution looms before the Frasers. Jamie walks the tight-rope between the crown and freedom, but will soon have to jump, plunging his entire family into war. Many decisions will have to be made, and consequences faced as Jamie’s time-travelling family adjust to life in these harsh times and make the ultimate decision – stay or go?

Every time I close an Outlander novel, I think: what more could these people live through? I am astounded at the extent of Gabaldon’s imagination. Claire and Jamie have lived through every possible adventure, tragedy and joy – and yet I know that Ms Gabaldon will find even more amazing adventures for them in the next book. Never have I felt as invested in the lives of character as I do with the Frasers.

The first part of this installment was charming in it’s descriptions of life in the times. I thoroughly enjoyed the politics and ebb and flow of life on Frasers Ridge. Just when I thought I’d reached a point where the story was starting to slow, Gabaldon threw Claire into a new adventure that Jamie had to rescue her from, and the rest, was a tumultuous race to the end.

There was a wonderful sense of family and the purity of a simple life on Fraser’s ridge. The Mackenzies added depth, variety and freshness to the story, without detracting from Claire and Jamie’s stories. Gabaldon very cleverly played with the questions of morality and predestination once again, with particular use of Roger’s character.

The end was quite a shocker, unravelling the carefully laid foundations of the last few novels. I feel as though I’ve been thrown back into the beginning with Claire and Jamie – and I’m excited to find out what they are going to make of their new and uncertain future.