Outlander No.5 is nowhere close to becoming a classic. The Fiery Cross pretty much extinguished my love for the Frasers saga.
The numbers say it all – it took me 382 days to finish. The first four books took me roughly a month each, so a total of 120 days.
I had heard the entire series being criticized for poor structure. Well, the first few books deviated from the routine plot outline, but the writing was superb, the story was engrossing and I saw no problem.
The ‘problem’ started with book five. I read and I read and I read – it’s 1400+ pages – and the story kept on dragging on and on and on; so I started to wonder…
How? How could Diana Gabaldon get so carried away with her own voice to waste it on pages and pages and pages about changing nappies?
And going to bed, and carrying stones, and basically people getting by. I used to think I would be happy to read any novel about Jamie and Claire, as long as I don’t have to part with them – just anything about their everyday life – making meals, going for walks – would do. Now that I was reading that novel… Not so sure.
There was the odd incident thrown in to stir the familial circle a bit and to then get completely forgotten. There was no build-up of any conflict, no suspense – just random spurts of activity that were wrapped up very much like separate stories within the larger narrative. No climax, no nothing -just a bunch of everyday stories under the general topic “Life of the Frasers” with an occasional murder/ revelation/discovery that either is not solved yet or gets completely forgotten by both the reader and the characters.
A lot remained unanswered to provide groundwork for books 6-29 (wild guess), but you can’t produce 1400-page behemoth of a book just to tease the sequels. Not to mention I forgot all of it. What will be imprinted on my brain forever, though, is Jamie gently burping the baby on his shoulder, Bree sniffing at the baby’s bum to make sure that, yes, it’s nappy change time; and Claire running out of whatever she used for her monthly you-know-what, because she gave up the last one to use as clout for the baby. Thrilling.
Do you share my opinion? Have you read a series you loved and got bitterly disappointed by an installment? Please share in the comments.