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Customer Review

79 of 90 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too much 'adventure', not enough reality, August 12, 2009
By 
This review is from: Voyager (Outlander) (Paperback)
Like many others, I loved Outlander. I must have read it 3 times in as many weeks. I enjoyed Dragonfly quite a bit and thought it a well written, if painful, continuation of the story. I had high hopes for Voyager, but now I have no plans to read the continuing saga.

I'm willing to give the author leeway in a lot of areas and I must admit that at times Voyager really did enthrall me. Some of the moments between Claire and Jamie were all I hoped them to be. But those were the few bright spots in what I thought was a largely disappointing book.

The areas I can't get past....

1. Some of the plot points were downright ridiculous. I found the mysticism of the first two books a nice balance between the tangible and the unexplainable. The 'weirdness' factor in this racheted up quite a bit and I found myself, instead of being open to the possibilities, skipping pages until something more realistic happened. In addition, some of the logic was sketchy or way off. The most painful leap, to me, happens when one character does another character a favor. This favor could have been done several years earlier, in my opinion, with really no excuse as to why it wasn't done so. My only conclusion is that it was for selfish reasons - so why does a great friendship come out of this?? There were so many times when I was reading and thinking "Really? You can't see any other way out of this?"

2. The 'coincidences' in this book are so ASTOUNDING it makes the plot seem extremely contrived. I can't shelve my logic long enough to accept all of the little convenient plot twists that happen. Coupled with the mystical weirdness, I found myself saying "Hmmm... You don't say," way too much. I'm open to the sense of fate the first two books inspire. Nothing in this book felt like fate - just like a failing story needing more 'twists' to make it interesting.

3. The writing is painfully repetitive; a good editor was obviously lacking here. I also found myself getting irritated with little details that seemed wrong. Is Jamie's scar on his right or left hand?? I'm pretty sure it's on his left, but Claire seems to find it on his right at times.

4. All of the main characters do things extremely out of character at different times. Some of what Jamie, Claire and Jenny do were so surprising to me, I really thought less of characters. I don't expect them to be perfect (they made plenty of mistakes and bad decisions in the first two books), but they shouldn't do things completely out of left field. You would expect wisdom and determination at their ages, especially with all they've survived. Instead, you wonder, at times, if you even know them at all.

5. It was more of an adventure story than the reunion story I had hoped it would be. There was so little time devoted to Jamie and Claire as a couple, I found myself longing for some boring times just so I could be with them. And, since I found the adventure largely unbelievable, I was irritated with the plot.

There are a lot of other problems I have, but there is really no sense in cataloging any more. I was glad to see Claire and Jamie reunited, but I do regret what this book has done to my sense of the characters and story. Coupled with the mediocre reviews of the later books, I have no intention of reading further. I figure if I give it some time, I'll be able to read Outlander again with some of the joy it brought me initially - the author can truly be proud of that work. I'd rather let my own imagination, however, continue the story.
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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 26, 2010 2:25:11 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 26, 2010 2:27:36 PM PST
Plot points can hardly be judged ridiculous by someone who skips pages that might reveal them. The same may be said of "seeming" coincidences, had one read more one may have found the "missing" explanation. Who reads books for "believable" adventures. Isn't real life "real" enough? For that matter, why would anyone looking for reality read a time travel novel??? It IS interesting that the reviewer wants a book with less plot twists, less dynamic characters, less adventure and more "boring times".

Posted on Apr 18, 2012 5:18:06 PM PDT
I am almost finished reading this book and plan to read the rest in the series because I want to know how it all plays out. That said, I happen to agree with this review in that there are so many twists and turns and separations and seemingly impossible reunions that one wishes for some change of action to see a deeper understanding of the history of these times in a new land among different people through the author's eyes. Sometimes less is more. Granted the author is very creative and talented and the characters that began in the Outlander are now more mature in age and in character but it seems like she has pushed the edge between the exercise of her many gifts and the emotional endurance her readers can stand.

Posted on Jun 15, 2013 9:48:59 PM PDT
N. Elliott says:
I totally agree with this review. In particular, after Claire and Jamie FINALLY reunite, they jump almost immediately into a whole long series of adventures/action. The fact they were together again seemed almost secondary, to the characters too.

Also, one other comment on the whole book series, Jamie NEVER asks Claire about her time other than a few simplistic questions (who is John Wayne?). I have to think he would be dying to know more. I know if I ran into someone from 200 years hence, I would have lots of things to ask them!!!

Posted on Jun 17, 2014 6:43:12 AM PDT
Summer says:
I completely agree with this review. I loved the historical fiction but the absurdity of some of the plot diversions were more than a little disappointing. I felt the characters became lost in the shuffle and I lost interest. I know that my preference is for strong character development rather than extraordinary/mystical/impossible adventure while stepping out of total reality. I didn't finish this book but rather picked up one of my all time favorites, 'Pillars of the Earth' by Ken Follett and began to retread it again. I find real people facing situations true to their inner selves and their circumstances.

I may return to this series in time but I highly doubt it. Once a character has betrayed their well-defined personality, I no longer trust them with the investment of my time.

Posted on Aug 1, 2014 9:16:19 AM PDT
I agree with your frustration, as I found Claire to be less than forthcoming during the reunion with Jamie. It took over 200 pages (in the paperback) to get to that and while well written, Claire's lack of emotional expression was disappointing. I know that this is fiction but the author has written a love story, so I expected it to be more romantic given that 20 years of separation had occurred, she gave up her life to be reunited with Jamie and you would think she would have been a little more emotional about the reunion.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 1, 2014 9:17:49 AM PDT
Definitely agree, there is a n entire side to that converstaion that is missing. Although Jamie does refer, at different times in various books, to discussions he has with Claire about her time. Perhaps it's because he doesn't know what to ask about that he doesn't ask?

Posted on Oct 10, 2014 9:02:59 AM PDT
MGWysham says:
This review perfectly expresses my own frustrations with Voyager. So many hard to believe coincidences and strange scenarios, until you just shake your head and say, "Come on!" Anyone reading the Outlander series is walking in with a certain level of suspension of disbelief, but my own suspension of disbelief snapped after the umpteenth bizarre plot twist. On top of that, Jamie especially seemed to lose a lot of his shine, in his repeated prevarications and downright lies. Just how much leeway are we supposed to give him simply because he was afraid Claire would leave?

Posted on Dec 6, 2014 8:55:03 AM PST
This is my favorite Outlander book but I must agree with your review. It's spot on. The plot does get stretched until it becomes ridiculous and the characters are quite shallow. I'm so glad to see other readers catching Jamie and Claire acting out of character. I thought it was just me that felt that way. The redeeming grace is Jamie and Claire are finally reunited and for that Voyager goes to the top of the list. The sad news is with each successive Outlander book I find I like Claire even less. I plan to finish reading this series but my enthusiasm has taken a major hit.

Posted on Jun 4, 2016 11:00:42 AM PDT
You have said what I said after I read the first book after tossing it about a quarter through (after I watched the series), managed to get though the second, and skimmed through Voyager. However, my comments enraged fans on the Gabaldon Book Forum and then on Facebook. I was even chastised by the writer herself. She is adamant about not needing an editor. Looking back on that, I laugh. The TV series is a different experience. I watch every episode four or five times. Sam and Catriona were excellent. I love the Claire and Frank part of Season 2, Episode 1. Love the supporting cast. I want Jamie and Claire to find Willie and his Irish wife in America. Please bring back Finn!!
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