Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander #2) by Diana Gabaldon

dragonfly in amber diana gabaldonSaturday nights are not the same since Outlander went on hiatus. My plan for filling up the time until the series returns in April is to catch up on all 8 books in the series. I know I’m not alone in devouring this series- in the current NYT paperback mass-market bestseller list the first four books in the series all appear in the top twenty. Reading one book a month will make the time fly by, right?

These books are long, verra long indeed, and the audiobook of Outlander book two, Dragonfly in Amber, runs over 39 hours! Each book is like its own mini-series, and I think the phrase “these books are like crack” fits well here. I like that Diana Gabaldon just goes for it and adds so much historical detail to her epic time travel romance. You get your money’s worth with these audiobooks and I looked forward to the adventures of the Scottish hottie Jamie and the time-traveling Sassenach Claire. And look, there was a nod to Dragonfly in Amber in episode 8 Both Sides Now:

Dragonfly in Amber Outlander Starz
Jamie: Dinna fash, Sassenach, we’ll be back for season two!

Since Dragonfly in Amber came out in 2001 I don’t know what I can really add to the conversation by reviewing it, though I’ll add some impressions. Let’s go with a (spoilerific) top 5 list:

1. Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ! This book starts off on a very ominous note with a flash-forward to Claire back in the present day. You may even think you’re reading the series out of order, but you’re not. What happened with Jamie back in the 18th century? So many things! But it will take some time to piece it all together. I got a little impatient at the beginning but soon I was absorbed in the story.

2. New characters! We meet Brianna Randall (Fraser) (Claire & Jamie’s 20 year old daughter!) and historian Roger Wakefield. They listen to Claire’s story about her time with Jamie and through these recollections we learn what the heck happened. These two characters have a smallish role in this book, though it looks like they will become major players later on.

3. Political intrigue, danger, and suspense! Jamie and Claire try to use what they know of the future to save Scotland from the war that threatens the lives of their clansmen. They make a great team as they play this dangerous game and try to gain allies. But can/should they change the past, and what are the consequences? Diana Gabaldon is a master storyteller and makes all the history so engrossing.

4. Claire & Jamie! They grow a lot as individuals and as a couple. They are better together and make each other stronger, and when things go wrong it’s usually when they are apart. They are both magnets for danger so there are many bumps in the road, though plenty of swoon-filled moments as well.

5. The audiobook! Davina Porter’s narration is again wonderful. Her performance is so steady and consistent, and her voice makes it easy to get lost in the story. There are a lot of different voices for Porter to convey and she is expert at making all the voices sound distinct. I was always surprised seeing the time fly by when I was listening.

Are you reading the Outlander books to tide you over until April? Here are some more ways to pass the time, courtesy of Starz:

waiting for outlander dragonfly in amber



10 thoughts on “Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander #2) by Diana Gabaldon

  1. So many seem to love the Outlander series. I am not familiar with it. I’m not sure if I would have the patience for such a long story. I enjoyed your post about it though.

    Pat @ Posting For Now recently posted: First Chapter – First Paragraph Tuesday Intros
    1. Lucy says:

      I know what you mean, Pat- these books are long indeed! But the pages fly by. If you watch an episode or two of the show that will give you an idea if you’d like the books.

  2. I read this series years ago…very addictive!

    Laura@Library of Clean Reads recently posted: Belches, Burps, and Farts Oh My! by Artie Bennett
    1. Lucy says:

      Yes, so addictive! I’m so late to the Outlander party 🙂

  3. Can’t wait to dive in. Still trying to decide between book & audio version.

    Amy @ bookgoonie recently posted: Deadly Sting by Jennifer Estep
    1. Lucy says:

      As you know, the narrator is great- but sometimes I just wanted the book version to pick up to read when I had a few minutes. I’m reading book 3 in print, but miss the audio – I’m no help at all!
      Can’t wait to hear what you think of DiA 🙂

  4. Alisa Selene says:

    I miss Outlander SO much right now..Sat. stinks without it! *sigh* !

    1. Lucy says:

      Aye, Sassenach, Saturday’s are not the same!

  5. Dianna Miller says:

    I read Outlander when it was first published but did not read the subsequent books in the series until this year. I decided to read Outlander again to refresh my memory in preparation to watching the series, and got so caught up in it that I purchased the entire series. I am on book 6 “A Breath Of Snow And Ashes.” Yes the books are long with over 100 chapters, but you get so caught up in the saga that it’s hard to put down. The series itself bears little to the actual stories. While good on its own if you haven’t read the books, it becomes a real letdown if you have read the books. The screenwriters put stuff in the mini-series that never took place and left out important parts that did take place. I don’t know if I want to watch the 2nd part of the series “Dragonfly in Amber,” as it was even better than Outlander. As a matter of fact I think it was the best of the series so far. I would hate to see how they would mess it up in a mini-series. In reading their plans for Outlander how they would not caption the parts where they spoke in Gaelic because they wanted to stick as close to the story as possible gave me great hope that this mini-series would be as wonderful as the books only to be let down by the actual series. While I knew they would leave parts out I did not realize that they would focus so much on the intimate scenes and leave gaping holes in the story itself. I was quite disappointed in the mini-series itself to say the least. The books are very intense and very detailed in history itself. The intimate scenes in the books are small and glossed over very nicely. Much is left to the imagination which as an avid romance reader, I found refreshing. Romance novels have truly become written pornography these days. And the mini-series focused more on the intimate scenes than it did on the history itself, which I found repetitive and flat.

    1. Lucy says:

      Thanks for your comments on the book vs. the tv show, Dianna! I’m sure I’d have a different opinion on the Starz series if I had read the books first. I’m glad that the show did give me the push to catch up with the series though. The series really whets your appetite for more, and the books provide so much more historical detail as you mention. You’re right that the books are totally absorbing and easy to get lost in. It must be such a challenge to adapt this series!

      Dragonfly in Amber is wonderful, and I’m having a slower time getting into Voyager, though I’m sure it will pick up. I can totally understand your reluctance to watch the series, considering your fondness for the books.

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