I absolutely adore reading - my love for books has had a huge impact on my life! I'm going to grad school to be a children's/YA librarian.
“He was dead. However, his nose throbbed painfully, which he thought odd in the circumstances.”
Thus begins the third book in the OUTLANDER series, in which we learn that–despite his best efforts–Jamie Fraser did not die on the battlefield at Culloden. He isn’t pleased. Back in the 20th century, Claire is equally shocked by the revelation of Jamie’s survival–but much more pleased about it. We hear Jamie’s story as he moves forward, trying to forge a life from the bits of his soul and his country that are left, and hear Claire’s brief recounting of the twenty years since she left him at Culloden, while Roger MacKenzie and Brianna (Claire and Jamie’s daughter) draw close to each other as they sleuth through the clues of the past, in an urgent hunt for Jamie Fraser. Can they find him? And if they do, will Claire go back to him? And if she does…what will happen then?
To be honest, it would be easier to describe what doesn’t happen than what does. The story moves from the ghosts of Samhain in the Scottish Highlands to the streets and brothels of Edinburgh, to the turbulent open sea and the adventures of the West Indies. Printing presses, sedition, murder, voodoo, Chinese foot-fetishism, kidnapping, turtle soup, and a number of other things. Behind them all, though, is Jamie’s question:
“Will ye take me, Sassenach? And risk the man I am, for the sake of the man I was?” (source)
I have had this book out from the library since the end of August, but I've been continuously renewing it for the last four months because I knew that I wouldn't be able to enjoy it as much if I were only glimpsing at it in between studying. And as painful as it was to see this book sitting in my bedroom, tempting me to take just a peek at its pages every time I glanced its way, it was well worth the wait. Oh boy. So worth the wait.
I adored Outlander but wasn't as impressed with its sequel Dragonfly in Amber, so, while I was hopeful about Voyager, I tried to keep in mind that it might not live up to my expectations. It's the third book in an exciting but extremely lengthy series and it would have been entirely too easy for Gabaldon to permanently lose the momentum that she'd built in Outlander. But Voyager sucked me in from the very beginning. Even though I read this in the midst of preparing for my husband's and my very first married Christmas - during which we hosted his family for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day - I finished the 1000+page long tome in four days, as I read it every chance I possibly could (Dan got quite a few chuckles when he'd peek into the kitchen, where I'd be stirring something on the stove with one hand and holding this book in the other).
So what did I love so much about this book? Well, it expertly tells so many stories. I loved how Gabaldon filled the reader in on what had happened to Jamie and what had happened to Claire during their separation. She accomplished this without info dumping, and even though I was anxious for Claire to get back to the eighteenth century, I didn't feel a need to skim through these parts, because they were just as exciting and interesting. When Claire and Jamie did finally reunite, things weren't as simple as they'd expected. This is one of the things that I love about the series in general - unlike most romance novels, where the biggest conflict that the love interests encounter are as trite as Can I trust him? or a basic misunderstanding that could be solved through simple communication, Claire and Jamie face very real problems. They face these problems with intense emotion, and there were moments when I was biting my nails because at a few parts, it seemed like they actually might leave each other. But they always worked things out, not because one or the other simply gave in, but because they worked together to solve their problems. And, of course, this book is filled with humor, drama, adventure, and just enough smut to keep the reader completely absorbed all through its hundreds and hundreds of pages.
If this book had been good but not great, as was the case with Dragonfly in Amber, it would have been very possible that I'd abandon this series. The books are entertaining reads, but they're very long and for me to retain interest in the series, they need to be AMAZING. Voyager is. I'm probably not going to be able to finish the series until the summer, which kills me, but I will most definitely be revisiting it. I think it's very possible that this might just surpass Harry Potter as my favorite series. I wish I could continue with it now, but I've got too many books to read before school. So, in the meantime, I'll be pressing it on all of my bookish friends and living vicariously through them. I've said it before, but I'll say it again -- if you like history, romance, adventure, time travel, or just a totally original story, and you don't mind if it's crazy long, you need to read this series. It's phenomenal.