Saturday, October 18, 2014

Week 42 Review: Dragonfly in Amber

From Goodreads:
The second book of the Outlander saga... For twenty years Claire Randall has kept her secrets. But now she is returning with her grown daughter to Scotland's majestic mist-shrouded hills. Here Claire plans to reveal a truth as stunning as the events that gave it birth: about the mystery of an ancient circle of standing stones... about a love that transcends the boundaries of time... and about James Fraser, a Scottish warrior whose gallantry once drew a young Claire from the security of her century to the danger of his. Now a legacy of blood and desire will test her beautiful copper-haired daughter, Brianna, as Claire's spellbinding journey of self-discovery continues in the intrigue-ridden Paris court of Charles Stuart.

My Review:
So this was a really fantastic book! And like it says, it's a spellbinding tale, one in which while there was over 900 pages, and I read it in 2 days, and that time would've been less if I hadn't had a Thanksgiving dinner on the first day, and went to see The Maze Runner on the 2nd. Yeah. Because it was just so incredible, and I wanted to know what was going to happen next! to

So it starts off with Roger's POV, the nephew of the reverend that Frank was doing research with at the beginning of Outlander, the little boy that was there. Well, he's not a boy, seeing as it's 23 years later. And then Claire and her daughter, Brianna show up, and enlist him in finding out what happened to a list of men.

Because somehow, between the end of Outlander, and some time before this book starts, Claire came back to the 1940's. And the majority of this story is that time, the story leading up to her coming back. And it's a pretty heart-breaking tale!

There were a lot of intrigues, and lots of things happen, Jamie copies Charles' letters, to help his and Claire's cause to try and keep the battle where most of the Scotsmen die, and then their traditions are banned, from happening. Oh, and Claire gets a reputation for being a White Lady, seeing into the souls of men, and capable of destroying their privates, in both France, and Scotland, the rumours in France being started by Jamie, so he wouldn't be teased for not using a prostitute.

And there were some personal things, like Jamie promises to leave Black Jack alive for a year, so that a child could be created to be Frank's ancestor. And then he breaks that promise-for a good reason-and cuts off Black Jack's privates, which he so deserves, but don't fear-things turn out good for Frank being born!

But that breaking of the promise has some negative effects for Jamie and Claire. Because first she miscarries the baby, just as Jamie, as she thinks, kills Black Jack, which initially she blames Jamie for, but then really, it's just because it was a difficult pregnancy. And then to get Jamie out of prison for duelling, she has to gain favour from the King, which is supposed to be sex, but he uses her for her White Lady abilities, and then a quick sealing of the deal which was short, and well, yeah, just a few strokes, and then he goes and uses that for his mistress. So not fun for Claire, but it gets Jamie out so he can continue on with their plan!

OK, when Claire's resting after the miscarriage, and gets the note from Murtagh, the way it was written, "The hand is that of Monsieur Murtagh." I thought that meant it was Murtagh's severed hand, which would be gross and bad. Thankfully, it just means that it was written by him!

When I was going back to add some favourite lines, I reread over that Old Fox had claimed Jamie's men as part of his own, later on in the battle. Which sucks, because Jamie prevented that from happening at first, and then the Old Fox just slides it in. And I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing for the men listed!

When Jamie killed Dougal, well, I wish that Dougal had just a bit less headstrong-rush-into-things-without-all-the-facts mentality, to have let Claire and Jamie explain, instead of just barging in, calling Claire names, trying to kill her. It's not very nice!

 That Roger is Gellis' and Dougal's number of great's, grandson, and Claire came back to Scotland in 1968, the year that Gellis said that she came from, well, yeah, that's hard on Roger-does he help send Gellis-or Gillian, as she's known before she goes-to her fiery death after 10 years in the past, or keep her in the present, and have himself probably not exist? That's a hard thing to deal with!

It's song is Pompeii by Glee Cast, because I just started lisening to it when I was reading this book, and yeah, I just put it on repeat, and listened to it non-stop while reading this book! I mean, it's a great song, and nice to listen to it, and yeah!

Favourite lines: "Names got muddled with enormous frequency, especially in the Highlands, where half the population at any given moment seemed to be named 'Alexander.' Consequently, men had customarily been known by their place-names, as well as their clan or surnames. Sometimes instead of the surnames. 'Lochiel.' one of the most prominent Jacobite chieftains, was in fact Donald Cameron, of Lochiel, which distinguished him nicely from the hundreds of other Camerons named Donald." That is a lot of people with the same name! "He had never before been exposed to such a barrage of domesticity. In short, Fiona was driving him mad." That's too bad! "My dear woman, this is Scotland. Of course not liking whiskey is a crime." So arrest me, because I don't like any alcohol! "Hearts of oak are our men, stainless steel are their bums, It builds the national character." *snorts* that's a weird thing to have to build character! "The Scots, unaccustomed to receiving anything from the South by armed invasions and political interference, had risen to the challenge magnificently." So funny! "Though I've always supposed Mr. Macintosh was rather a lily-livered sort; most Scots I've known were relatively impervious to rain." And he invented the rain coat, it sounds like? Then I agree with Claire! "In most cities, the usual response of taxicabs to rain is to disappear, as though they were soluble. In Inverness, though, such behaviour would render the species rapidly extinct." I'll go with that, seeing as I've never been there, it sounds right! "He said one morning he came in early and turned on the light, to find a genuine Highlander dirk sticking in His Grace's belly. Said id gave him a right turn." Well, "his grace" deserved it, and much earlier, where it might have done some good! "I opened my eyes, to see the anxious face of Jamie Fraser hovering a few inches above me." That's a bit startling! "Maybe not, Sassenach, but I may." And we wouldn't want that! "He let go of the mantelpiece, took a step toward me, and crumpled slowly onto the hearth, eyes blank, and  wide, sweet smile on his dreaming face." You'd think that'd hurt! "I raised on one elbow to examine the remains. Not too bad, I thought critically. His eyes were screwed tightly shut against stray beams of sunlight, and his hair stuck out in all directions like a hedgehog's spines, but his skin was pale and clear, and the hands clutching the coverlet were steady." Just so cute! "I couldn't budge you, so I just laid a quit over you and left you on the hearth. You came to life and crawled in under you own power, somewhere in the middle of the night." and "'No. I couldn't have.' 'Yes, you could. Twice.'" And...he doesn't remember. Guess it's a good thing she does! "Tell me, are all Scots born knowing about politics, or is just you?" Yeah, he seems to know a lot! "Plainly this last qualification was at least sufficient to balance, if not outweigh, the book-drinking and flesh-eating." Yeah, money is a pretty strong motivator! "If Scotsmen were stubborn about anything-and, in face, they tended to be stubborn about quite a number of things, truth be known-it as the virtues of oatmeal parritch for breakfast. Through eons of living on a land so poor there was little to eat but oats, they had as usual converted necessity into a virtue, and instead that they liked the stuff." Since I don't know what it is, well, good for them, and yeah, funny about the stubbornness! "If you've had much to do wi' Highland Scots, then ye'll know that it's rare to find two of them in agreement of anything much beyond the color of the sky-and even that is open to question from time to time." This is fun! "...Herr Gerstmann humming in my ear like a demented bumblebee." That is a very strong image that comes to mind! "Forgot to eat? Christ, you did have it bad." Yeah, sounds like! "Pushing? Are ye meaning to visit the place, or move into it?" Who knows! It is a hospital, after all! "What d'ye think of 'Dalhousie,' Sassenach?" Dalhousie is a station on Calgary C-Train. Not a name of a child! "At least I don't expect you'll come home from a hospital wi' your privates plucked bare." No, I don't think that'll happen! "'Horrible.' I answered, beaming broadly." So I guess that means you liked it? "I'll leave it to you, Sassenach, to imagine what it feels like to arrive unexpectedly in the midst of a brothel, in possession of a verra large sausage." It'd be hilarious for all but the one who does it! "Seizing upon this unexpected manifestation of maleness..." Hilarious! Poor Jamie! "Why, the sausage, of course. Ye dinna think I'd let it go to waste?" I'd be more worried if something transferred onto it from hitting the one guy and breaking his nose! "I willna be reading the man's love letters. Evena plotter must scruple at something." That's a weird line to make! "After all, ye couldna expect a mere husband to hold the same sort of appeal as an inflamed bowel or a case of bilious spots, could ye?" Love this rhetorical question! "'Och, don't worry,' he said cheerfully. 'There's another bottle in the cupboard.'" I don't think that's what she's worried about! "Think it over, laddie. I'm a damn sight bigger than you. I wouldna undertake any rash ventures, if I were you. Faster, too." That's not a very nice thing to say to a dog, Jamie! "'What would have done with him, once you'd got him wrapped up in your plaid?' 'Thrown him out the window and run like hell.'" And that's even worse! Though teasing him about it is fun! "I hope it willna disturb ye, Sassennach, if I castle in my sleep." That's a lot of chess! "...and he tumbled to the ground in a flurry of plid and bare legs that would have revealed to a discerning observer that this particular Scotsman wasn't wearing anything under his kilt at hte moment." Which some of the ladies were wondering! "I always wanted to be a pirate, when I was a bairn. Pity I canna wear a cutlass." Yeah, too bad! "Whatever God meant you to be, Jamie Fraser, it wasn't a monk." Nope! "...I found myself thinking that I had always heretofore assumed that the tendency of eighteenth-century ladies to swoon was due to tight stays; now I regather thought that it might be due to the idiocy of eighteenth-century men." It could very well be! "If 'complaisant' was not the very last world that came to mind at the thought of Jamie Fraser, it was certainly well down towards the bottom of the list." Yeah, you could say that! "Have ye ever had seasickness while covered wi' nettle rash, Sassenach?" Sounds really unpleasant! "Well, Sassenach, all I can say is, it's a hell of a place to be wounded." Yeah, losing your privates must hurt! And Black Jack totally deserves it! "Insofar as I could gather, this meant 'lazy tower,' which made at least as much sense as applying the term 'North-facing Tower' to a cylindrical structure." So, pretty much none. Just loosely, at least, for the later! "Oh, it's fallen down a number of times. The folk that lived there just put i back up again' that's likely why it leans." Ah, so cute! "Then, with a hissing sigh of resignation, he got laboriously to his feet. With a moody twitch of his shoulder, he summoned Ian and the two of them turned, following Murtagh, who was already out the door. As he passed, Jamie reached down a long arm, hauled Fergus to his feet, and dragged the boy sleepily along." All so they don't bring ghosts into the house? So hilarious! "I dinna kien quite what its like to have to wash and dress your move your bowels in public, but I can tell ye that it's a verra humbling experience to have to stand there and explain to one of your father's tenants just what we did that's about to get your arse scalded for ye." I would imagine so! "You can boil them, too. Or mash them with milk. Or fry them. Or chop them up and put them in soup. A very versatile vegetable, toe potato." Yes it is. And as someone who made mashed potatoes (which is one of my most favourite of foods) well, technically it's yesterday when I write this, but when I post it, it's going to be 7 days. Yeah. "I'm going to stick ye upside down in yonder kettle an' ye dinna leave off pokin' me in the balls." Yeah, Small Jamie, leave Big Jamie alone! "Watch them sometime, when they're walking the fields together. I dinna suppose they even realize they do it still, but they do. Jamie always moves to the left, so Ian can take up the place on the right, guardin' the weak side." Aw, this is so cute! "'You,' I said to the invisible rooster, 'are living on borrowed time.'" Yeah, a middle of the night awakening is not fun! "There's a pot right by your bed,d clot-heid. ye must have stepped in it on your way out; why can ye no get it through your heid to use that one? Why have ye got to come use mine, every night in creation?" Because you're his mom! "Bangers and mash." and "Sausages with mashed potatoes. A nice traditional English dish, hitherto unknown in the benighted reaches of Scotland." And Claire's just the person to get it there! "No matter how much Ian's intrusion had been resented, I couldn't imagine a mole trying to strangle him in retaliation." So how bad is the real story? "We shouted at each other, I now that much. And I wanted to hit him, but I couldn't because of his leg. And he wanted to hit me, but couldn't-because of his leg." So it's inconveniencing them both! "Oh, womanly sympathy, love and food? Don't want a lot, do you?" Not really! "Aye, well, I dinna recall Adam's asking God to take back Eve-and look what she did to him." True. "How does it go? Why, I'll tell you, sir! it goes to the east, and then it goes to the west, and then half of it comes downhill to have luncheon, while the other half marches off to devil-knows-where! That's where it goes!" Sounds rather aggregating! "The Camerons have been drillled all day. By now, they've been marched to and fro so much that they can't tel tehir pricks from their arsholes." Well, that doesn't sound very nice! "The only saving grace of the matter, is that the English have been forced to turn themselves about as well, in response to our movements. They've turned Cope's entire force no less than four times, and now he's strung his fight flank out nearly to the sea, no doubt wondering what in God's name we'll do next." This is quite hilarious! "Given the behaviour of the Father and the Son, the Highlander army had better hope that the Holy Ghost doesn't choose to descend today." Yeah, they'd better! "I had it when I went out." Jamie, stop teasing! Claire wouldn't be happy if you lost it! "At last he lay back with a dismal sigh, and mumbled his consent to let a 'wumman' lay hands on his private parts." Because you don't want Jamie's inexperienced hands with Claire's  needles to sew up said private parts! "Someone, he supposed, had tripped over a furze bush." Well, what the English think was a furze bush, instead of a Highlander warrior! "Didn't realize your husband was in the habit of roasting and eating small children, did you?" Ah, Such liars, these English are! "I had no fear at all of assault in the darkness; even had I not been known by now to all the Jacobite troops occupying the city, the prevailing horror of fresh air kept everyone indoors." This is hilarious! "Perhaps I'd better add some garlic to the list; worn in a silver pomander-locket about the neck, it was supposed to ward off disease. What it actually did do, I supposed, was to keep disease-ridden companions at a safe distance-equally satisfactory, from my point of view." Yeah, either one works! "'You must tell me if there is some way in which I might repay your generous service.' 'There is. I want to take my husband home to bed. Now.'" Though I think not for the purpose that first pops into people's heads, seeing as said husband is sick! "Scottish clansmen fought according to their ancient traditions. Disdaining strategy, tactics, and subtlety, their method of attack was simplicity itself. Spotting the enemy within range, they dropped their plaids, drew their swords, and charged the foe, shrieking at the tops of their lungs. Gaelic shrieking being what it is, this method was more often successful than not. A good many enemies, seeing a mass of hairy, bare-limbed banshees bearing down on them, simply lost all nerve and fled. Well schooled as it might ordinarily be, nothing had prepared Jamie's horse for a grade-A, number one Gaelic shriek, uttered at top volume from a spot two feet behind its head. Losing all never, it laid back its ears and fled as though the devil itself were after it." With Jamie still attached! So much fun! "And you're needed such attentions, Grandsire, I'll see to it myself. It's no pleasure to me to be stickin' my fingers up your hairy auld arse, but I expect it's my filial duty to save ye from exploding in a shower of piss, no?" This is hilarious! "I always thought there was some reason why 'Scot' rhymed with 'plot.'" This, too! "I dinna suppose the English would hang him." Yeah, they're unlikely to hang a horse! "Its  flame strengthened and rose, revealing what I had suspected from the sound of that vigorous Gaelic expletive-Mary, invisible save for a pair of wildly scrabbling hands, face smothered under a pillow and body flattened by the prostate form of my large and agitated husband, who despite his advantage of size, appeared to have his hands well and truly full." Seems like it! "I didn't think she was going to consider an armed Highlander an adequate substitute for her absent lover." I don't think so, either! "Sorry, cully. If you think that's bad, just wait 'til he gets back on." Yeah, Jamie is pretty big! "I'll tell ye, Sassenach; if ever I feel the need to change my manner of employment, I dinna think I'll take up attacking women-it's a bloody hard way to make a living." Yeah, first the laundress who took you hair, then the housekeeper who got him in the balls, and then Mary who scratched him when he thought she was Claire! Poor Jamie! So funny! "Lord, ye gave me a rare woman, and God! I loved her well." Yes, you have Jamie. "'You're going to get your head chopped off, you old Scotch cur!' 'I expect I shall, you ugly old English b***t!'" That sounds like Jamie's Grandsire! "I? I who read souls for the King of France? This will be pie." Yeah, it would be, in comparison! "Finally, they had left, with their forms and badges and cars with flashing lights, to oversee the removal of Greg Edgar's body from the ring of stone, to issue ta warrant for the arrest of his wife, who, having lured her husband to his death, had fled the scene. To put it mildly, Roger thought dazedly." I would say so, seeing as she went over 200 years in the past!

This was just such a fantastic book! And such a compelling story, and while it's enormous, it's just the kind of book that I just adore to bits!

Author: Diana Gabaldon
Series: Outlander #2
Read: October 11th-12th, 2014
Source: Own. Well, technically my mom, but since she only reads e-books now, yeah!
Reason Why: Loved Outlander, and it's a Historical Fiction 2014 Book, Prequel & Sequel Challenge 2014 Book, and a WTC Book!
Publisher: Dell
Published: November 2nd 1993
5/5 Hearts
5/5 Books
5/5 Stars

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