Customer Reviews for

An Echo in the Bone (Outlander Series #7)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

27 out of 33 people found this review helpful.

I was duped! Yea!

I thought "A Breath of Snow and Ashes" was the end. What a pleasant surprise to find out I have another opportunity to get lost in this world again. When I bought "Outlander", the woman behind the counter at Barnes & Noble told me that the book had originally been cat...
I thought "A Breath of Snow and Ashes" was the end. What a pleasant surprise to find out I have another opportunity to get lost in this world again. When I bought "Outlander", the woman behind the counter at Barnes & Noble told me that the book had originally been catagorized as a Romance novel. While I would agree that the relationship between Claire and Jamie is incredibly romantic and then some, there's so much more to to these books. If you haven't read the first six books in this series, read those first. And to further quote the B & N sales lady, "if you're just starting out...I envy you."

posted by DGMDGM on June 21, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

70 out of 77 people found this review helpful.

Letdown

If you have not yet finished the book, don't read this review!

Like most Outlander fans, I was hotly anticipating this book, but upon finishing it, I felt like I had been led on a lengthy preview of a "real" story still out there waiting. This book entwines several d...
If you have not yet finished the book, don't read this review!

Like most Outlander fans, I was hotly anticipating this book, but upon finishing it, I felt like I had been led on a lengthy preview of a "real" story still out there waiting. This book entwines several different concurrent story lines, yet resolves NONE OF THEM. The book has no conclusion.
All of the books are lengthy, but the first four in the series kept the reader completely engrossed because the actions were fast-paced with a series of mini-climaxes and revelations scattered throughout them, rather than following the traditional you-find-everything-out-at-the-end format. Now, the length is the result of too much useless detail rather than action resulting in too little development following a story twist. Once the story gets interesting, the reader is either disappointed by the extremes of an overly obvious or equally incredulous resolution or none at all. The style that made Gabaldon stand out from her peers has been lost.
Gabaldon's stories have always been somewhat realistic in their unfolding even if unrealistic in their premise. This is why her books have been so popular. In the past, we have seen how difficult it is for Jamie to grasp 20th century concepts, yet Wm. Buccleigh MacKenzie supposedly comes to the 20th century and is not at all concerned with cars, electricity, etc. and is not inclined to fight with anyone he encounters in the future? Claire loses Jamie and in less than a month sleeps with Lord John, yet in Dragonfly, she doesn't sleep with Frank until well after Brianna's birth? And speaking of frank -- she just blurts out "I know these things because I'm really from the future" to Jamie's family and they're just cool with that? My, did things come a long way in those 30 years since she was almost burned at the stake! Additionally, the reader is to believe that Fergus' parentage is suddenly established and he's a part of the French nobility? And Amanda is somehow psychicly linked to Jem? Fans were initially drawn in by the realistic depiction of a 20th century woman trying to live in the 18th century. It didn't take much to make the original story somewhat believable and that's what intrigued readers. Now, it is just too far-fetched to retain the original audience.
This book also contains too many references to Lord John's activities from her other series. How many careers does one English Lord have? Soldier, prison warden, governor, soldier again, spy . . . isn't he the jack of all trades!
Overall, I found this story to be a real letdown both in its lack of realism and its missing conclusion. I feel that Gabaldon has moved away from her original style that made Outlander unique. I waited on pins and needles for four years for this book. I'm not sure if I'll bother with the next one.

posted by DRayne on September 28, 2009

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  • Posted September 28, 2009

    Letdown

    If you have not yet finished the book, don't read this review!

    Like most Outlander fans, I was hotly anticipating this book, but upon finishing it, I felt like I had been led on a lengthy preview of a "real" story still out there waiting. This book entwines several different concurrent story lines, yet resolves NONE OF THEM. The book has no conclusion.
    All of the books are lengthy, but the first four in the series kept the reader completely engrossed because the actions were fast-paced with a series of mini-climaxes and revelations scattered throughout them, rather than following the traditional you-find-everything-out-at-the-end format. Now, the length is the result of too much useless detail rather than action resulting in too little development following a story twist. Once the story gets interesting, the reader is either disappointed by the extremes of an overly obvious or equally incredulous resolution or none at all. The style that made Gabaldon stand out from her peers has been lost.
    Gabaldon's stories have always been somewhat realistic in their unfolding even if unrealistic in their premise. This is why her books have been so popular. In the past, we have seen how difficult it is for Jamie to grasp 20th century concepts, yet Wm. Buccleigh MacKenzie supposedly comes to the 20th century and is not at all concerned with cars, electricity, etc. and is not inclined to fight with anyone he encounters in the future? Claire loses Jamie and in less than a month sleeps with Lord John, yet in Dragonfly, she doesn't sleep with Frank until well after Brianna's birth? And speaking of frank -- she just blurts out "I know these things because I'm really from the future" to Jamie's family and they're just cool with that? My, did things come a long way in those 30 years since she was almost burned at the stake! Additionally, the reader is to believe that Fergus' parentage is suddenly established and he's a part of the French nobility? And Amanda is somehow psychicly linked to Jem? Fans were initially drawn in by the realistic depiction of a 20th century woman trying to live in the 18th century. It didn't take much to make the original story somewhat believable and that's what intrigued readers. Now, it is just too far-fetched to retain the original audience.
    This book also contains too many references to Lord John's activities from her other series. How many careers does one English Lord have? Soldier, prison warden, governor, soldier again, spy . . . isn't he the jack of all trades!
    Overall, I found this story to be a real letdown both in its lack of realism and its missing conclusion. I feel that Gabaldon has moved away from her original style that made Outlander unique. I waited on pins and needles for four years for this book. I'm not sure if I'll bother with the next one.

    70 out of 77 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2009

    Not enough Jamie and Claire!

    I waited 4 years for this book and am....disappointed. Far too much of this book was devoted to Lord John. I don't find him a sympathetic, interesting character, I just don't care about him.

    If I'd wanted to read a signficant story line involving Lord John, I would have bought one of the Lord John books. I feel cheated so little of this book directly involved Jamie and Claire.

    I suppose it's a necessity to read this book to continue on with the Outlander series, but I certainly hope the next book actually IS an Outlander book.

    44 out of 51 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 2, 2009

    So disappointed I could have cried.

    The Outlander is my favorite series of all time. When I head the new book was finally coming out in September, I did a dance. However, I was totally let down by this book. The book did not start to get interesting until 2/3 in and then none of the story lines were finished. Like I read in someone else's book, it was like a preview of a book to come. The last hundred pages or so is when it starts to get interesting and then it just ends. Now I have to wait years again to find out what is going to happen. I have no problem with a cliffhanger at the end of a book to keep you anticipating the arrival of the next one, but not ever story line. I do require some closure. This series in the past has been so great I did not need a cliffhanger to anticipate the next book. There was too much focus on William and the war and not enough story. I was outraged with how this book ended.

    28 out of 37 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 21, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    I was duped! Yea!

    I thought "A Breath of Snow and Ashes" was the end. What a pleasant surprise to find out I have another opportunity to get lost in this world again. When I bought "Outlander", the woman behind the counter at Barnes & Noble told me that the book had originally been catagorized as a Romance novel. While I would agree that the relationship between Claire and Jamie is incredibly romantic and then some, there's so much more to to these books. If you haven't read the first six books in this series, read those first. And to further quote the B & N sales lady, "if you're just starting out...I envy you."

    27 out of 33 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 2, 2009

    ECHO Jumps the Shark

    First of all, for those of you who think ECHO might have made more sense if you'd read the LORD JOHN novels... Actually, no, it doesn't. I read all three LORD JOHN volumes last year, and I still haven't the faintest idea what's going on in the Lord John sections of ECHO IN THE BONE.

    As to the rest... This book is a meandering, aimless, cumbersome morass of contrived, sloppy, poorly motivated perils-of-Pauline plot devices and convenient coincidences. Minor characters come and go without sufficient identification; minor subplots come and go without sufficient explanation or follow-through. The characters are tedious and bland. Indeed, I found Jamie and Claire so banal and inane in this book that I cannot share other readers' regret that they only appear in about 25% of the novel; as it was, I kept winding up skimming their ridiculously pointless conversations--as well as the love scenes that came across as oddly clinical and voyeuristic throughout the book. And Claire's medical adventures were so repetitious and minutae-driven, she actually wound up making blood and pain exasperatingly dull.

    The first 4/5 of the book just reads like a punishingly vast info-dump for the author's historical research. Yet while conveying a mind-numbing quantity of logistical details about the Revolutionary War, Gabaldon completely fails to convey any sense at all of the personal or political passions that led the Colonies from unrest, to rebellion, to all-out war. Until reading ECHO, it never would have occurred to me that a novel set in the American Revolution could be this dry and lifeless.

    And the final 1/5 of the book reads like a panicky, rushed rough-draft that the author never went back to develop and polish. The main characters behave like wooden chess pieces being manipulated around a game-board in the author's manic attempts to shock! and surprise! the weary reader.

    By the time I got to the sloppy, mid-stride, I-think-my-book-must-be-missing-some-pages "cliffhanger" stopping point of the book (it cannot reasonably called an "ending")... I realized I don't CARE what happens next. I waded all the way through this train-wreck of a novel thinking that surely it would start getting better; but it never did.

    The author totally jumped the shark with this book, and I'm through with this series now.

    26 out of 35 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 25, 2009

    Disappointing

    It's as if she hit a certain page number and just stopped writing, not caring that several threads were left hanging. Past books were complete in themselves--loose ends were tied in a way that could lead to something else, but didn't have to. In this book, a lot of things are left hanging, almost as if she forgot she hadn't finished that story line. I don't know. Maybe the publisher was pushing her and so she just stopped writing and sent in what she had and they printed it--knowing that fans would buy the book, no matter how bad it might be.

    But even more disappointing than the unfinished feeling of the book is that it's boring. There are a couple of mysteries that keep you reading, but they're not exciting mysteries. I couldn't put the previous six books down. I'd read late into the night and then pick it up the next morning before leaving for work. Not this one. It was easy to put down and not return to for a week or so.

    Maybe she's lost her touch. After all, she writes an 800-page book every two years. Not many people could keep that up with any consistency, so I guess we should be glad there were six intelligent, well plotted and charactered books for us to enjoy. After this, though, I'm not sure I'll purchase the next one.

    If you're a fan, you'll read it. If you're not a fan, DON'T read this book first. You'll never read another of her books after this one.

    21 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 30, 2010

    Diana, you lost me.

    This is the seventh book in the Outlander series which is about Claire, an accidental time traveler from 1945, who, while second honeymooning with her husband in the Scottish Highlands, ends up in 1743. While there, she meets, falls in love with and marries Jamie Fraser, a red-headed, gallant soldier.
    In An Echo in the Bone, it is now 1776 and they are living in North Carolina but in the process of heading back to the Highlands. Their grown daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren have time traveled back to the 20th centruy and are dealing with family and time traveling issues. A third subplot revolves around the characters of Lord John Grey and William.
    Diana Gabaldon is one of my top three authors, but she lost me on this way too long and unengaging tome. The pace was laboriously slow in most parts and the timing of events in the three subplots was confusing. The redeeming feature of this story was the last quarter; but yet the ending was still a disappointment.
    Diana, in your next book in this series, stick with Jamie and Claire's story. Forget Lord Grey and quicken the pace. Go back and reread your first book to remind yourself as to why so many fell in love with your writing.

    20 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A DISAPPOINTMENT

    I have been a Gabaldon fan for years. I love the Outlander series. This book, however, was a total disappointment. After waiting years for this installment, I found the characters to be only ghosts of themselves. I wanted to KNOW William the way I had a chance to KNOW Brianna and Ian but it didn't happen. His character was so flimsy. The first 700 pages of the book were like wading through the Great Dismal. The last 50 pages were almost laughable. The chapters were reduced to a page or a page and a half as the author gave each and every character an outrageous cliff-hanger type ending. Laoghaire disgusts me and Jamie's jealousy of her made me completely sick. Readers haven't forgotten that she tried to kill Claire and very nearly did kill Jamie. Furthermore, Lord John should stay in his own books. I was dizzy from all the different points of view and saddened to have waited so long for something so thin. The ending was sporadic and not well thought out. I laughed to read that Jamie "watched the shore fade slowly from sight" when in every other book he was puking his guts out before the ship was even away. So many things weren't logical and so many things were omitted. I have read the other six books over and over again but I won't give this one a second look.

    19 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    She's back!

    And I've never been happier! Don't get me wrong, this is a massive tome and should not be undertaken lightly, but that doesn't stop me from recommending it to everyone I know. Diana's writing is as strong as ever, with her beautifully drawn, only-too-real characters and her sometimes meandering path into heart-pounding action. She's up to her usual tricks, tying you up in emotional knots and leaving you there in agony, but I'm not complaining. I thought she was able to strike a healthy balance between history and personal moments for the characters. Honestly, I was expecting to see more of the war, and I was pleasantly surprised that we instead took a trip back to Scotland.

    I see from other reviews that some readers were as stunned by the ending of the book as I was - as though everyone was mid-action and suddenly the curtain dropped. She's always left you with questions when previous books were over, but never so abruptly! I'm still getting used to it, but I'm not saying it's a terrible thing. Just different and unexpected.

    16 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 25, 2010

    SO UPSET!!

    I have read all the Outlander books over the years and loved them. I even convinced my husband to start listening to the audio versions while he was driving and got him hooked as well. But, with Echo in the Bone, I told him not to even bother. I plowed through this book hoping that it was going to finally hit it's stride and get better. But, it never did. I truly don't care about Willie and Lord John to the degree which with they were written about. As side stories or minor characters they are fine but in this book, they seemed at the forefront and Claire and Jamie were the minor characters. And as many other reviewers mentioned - the ending! It was rushed and fumbling. Claire and Lord John, just like that?! When I finished the book and closed the cover, I said out loud "What the h---?" I could have cried I was so disappointed. I don't know what happened with this book but I can only hope the next one redeems itself.

    15 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 29, 2009

    Step away from the book!

    I just finished this book after anxiously awaiting it's release for the last 4 years and I can say that you will be better off pretending that you never learned there was another book in our beloved series. This book sucks! Did Diana Gabaldon really write it? Is she tired of Jamie and Claire? Does she think that all of us who have followed the exploits of Jamie and Claire really care for Lord John and William? If I wanted to know about Lord John and William I would read that series! LJ and Wm are fine as peripheral characters but they run the show in this book and we only catch occasional glimpses of Jamie and Claire and even less of Roger and Bree. What we do get seems more like an afterthought just to appease us than a part of the story line. Does she think we won't notice? I've gone from being disappointed to being angry at the quality of this story. Save your time and money. Pretend A Breath of Snow and Ashes is the last book in the series. Can I say it again? This book sucks. I want my money and my time back.

    14 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 25, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Loved it, another winner

    If you haven't read Outlander and the next five volumes, go back and start from the beginning. The series is worth the investment of time. I discovered the series mid-summer and Echo came out just as I finished the last page of Snow and Ashes. Diana is telling the story from several points of view. At first I was almost tempted to skim past to get to my old favorite characters, but I stopped myself knowing I would want to read it all. I think the decision to tell William's story is brilliant. How else could she tell the British side of the American revolution and make us all care. As for Brianna and Roger, even back in the 1980s, I want to see what happens .. I especially love the connection they hold to Claire, Jamie and the eighteenth century. Small touches, such as Roger's desires for reading by candlelight just work to make that connection stronger. I love that Brianna frets about how to keep her kids, as they grow up, away from singing, screaming time traveling stones. I was quite surprised by the absolute cliff hanger that Diana Gabaldon chose to deliver with this book. After spending such rewarding time catching up with these beloved characters, it was shocking to find she left it pretty much as unresolved as possible. I was on page 814 expecting at least a few more chapters, but there were none. But all I can say is 'I trust there will be a #8?', and I've heard via some posts that DG is planning to write at least one more in this series, perhaps two. Lucky us!

    14 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 30, 2010

    I am deeply saddened.

    I LOVE the Outlander Series. I waited with baited breath for this book to come out. Only the excerpts added to the author's website could, in a small way, alleviate my anxiousness for the newest book. As a reader, I truly appreciate the craft of writing and have often thought to myself that it is unique that most of my favorite authors also are Ph.Ds in different areas. Ms. Gabaldon's research and story crafting far outshines many of the mainstream authors. And...basically, I LOVE this series. However, I truly disliked this book. That, for me, colored my opinion about the entire Outlander series.

    I know from the her website, Ms. Gabaldon has had a lot of irons in the fires - so to speak. However, getting caught up in extra activities is certainly no excuse for putting out a book such as an Echo in the Bone. This book was clearly written with little forthought to previous story lines - and continuity. I am deeply saddened at the quality of the craft in this book.

    First, this book gives every appearance that it was written in snippets. As time allows, an author may write a scene or chapter then leave it to do something else. While that may often work, it takes some editing and crafting to put it all together. Other books in the series had that appearance also. There was none of that crafting apparent in this book. The story jumps all over the place. I felt truly saddened for those folks who have never read the Lord John books because much of the story line in Echo begins with events that took place in that mini-series of novellas and short stories.

    Second, I am not sure that Ms. Gabaldon understands that we LOVE the series because we can feel an affinity with Claire and Jamie. Like another reviewer stated - it felt like they were the after thought in this book. The touching story of Jamie and Claire is why we read the books. The extraneous and historical events are interesting (at least I think so); however, in this day of drive by divorce and hatefulness - it is comforting to read about a relationship based on caring, respect, and true love. This is our escape and why the books have been successful.

    Now, the cliffhangers...in my opinion, none of the cliffhangers were that effective. Why would Claire leave Jamie in Scotland to go back and take care of the children? Why would she and Lord John get together? I can understand the issue with the boat sinking and all - give the 18th century form of communications. There needed to be more chapters or they should have been restructured. And the business about Bree, Roger, and Jem and all in the 1980s is just plain stupid.


    PLEASE....I agree with everyone else - this is just a blatant attempt to sell more books. I am afraid that the customer base for the next book may have been significantly reduced because of this book. I certainly won't wait with baited breath for the next one. If and when it comes out, I will likely read it but....I won't go out on its publication date and purchase it as I have done for the last four books.

    I wish that I could recommend this book to new readers. I have shared this series with most of my co-workers and all of my family(my sister-in-law got me started on the series). However, I would only recommend this book to die hard fans. I didn't even purchase this book for a good friend and my two sisters in law as I had originally planned to for last Christmas. So...I guess the jumping around paid off for the publishe

    12 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2009

    SAVE YOUR MONEY - Borrow from the Library

    What a disappointment. This book jumped all over the place, from Bree and Roger in 1980 back to 1776 back to William (yes, William is a character in this one) back to Jamie back to Lord John back to Claire back to Ian back to...you get the picture. The Lord John books began the decline and were steadily worse, but this one has no reason for being written. It started several storylines and resolved none of them, just to make us buy the next book, I guess. The characters act out of character. It couldn't decide whether to tell the story through letters, first person or third person, so they were all mixed in. See Letdown's review for more details. Outlander is my favorite book, and the first three books are my favorite series, but this one will not add anything to your permanent collection.

    12 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 4, 2009

    An unexpected pleasure

    I can't wait for this latest book. As a man in his 60's I avoided "historical romances" like the plague but a friend whose opinion I respected introduced me to the fourth book in the Outlander series, saying it would surprise me. I devoured that book and immediately searched out the other 5 in the series. I loved them all.

    To classify these novels as "historical romances" does them no justice - they do swash a lot of buckles and there is certainly convincing romance and sex but, like all good fiction the character draw you in so that you care about them. Wonderful excapist reading!

    11 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Echo is apt title - it echos in your bones long after you put it down

    Another great book from Diana and one which I feel compelled to comment on for several reasons, but mainly to respond to a previous review. 1st, yes there are several major climaxes in this story that did not reach their conclusion by the end of Echo. That's good news - we're going to get another book....right, Diana? *grin* 2nd, this is definitely Diana's style and her work. Granted, there were a couple of instances where I was left asking, 'wth just happened?'. Claire may or may not have taken Lord John up on his offer, but Lord John would MOST assuredly have made his offer, out of his love for Jamie. The Lallybrock section and the return to Scotland - I do not get the impression that this area is complete - yet. Jenny's never been one to go unheard or unheeded - we'll hear more on that note in the next book.

    I'm a voracious reader, but Diana's books are the only ones that I can read, over & over, and never tire of. She has a definite gift. Her characters come alive in every respect, and they stick with you, long after you've read the last page, and put the book down. I love the title of book 7 for just that reason - these books echo in your bones. And while certain aspects of the book may have been shocking, or not what one expected - well, isn't that part of the point? Diana wrote the book, not me or you. Perhaps mainly frustration at so many loose ends caused the previous reviewer to vent? Lord knows Diana left us all hanging on this one! And we can only hope that she won't take 3 yrs to write the next one. On that, I believe she has a great deal of material she's already written - we'll see it in the next book(s). And the excerpts on her website - well, she has the right to discard whatever she chooses to discard, does she not? She is, after all, the author.

    Finally - buy this series - you will not regret it, ever. This series should be in your library, in hard bound, if possible. If you love big books and wordy authors, history and some romance - you'll love this series. I guarantee it!

    Wonderful Job, Diana! Thank you! Now....tell us you're busy typing away on the next one!!?? We're going nuts out here! *grin*

    Recommended Reading:
    Everything by Diana Gabaldon, The Kushiel's Series by Jacqueline Carey, Anything by Margaret George but especially The Memoirs of Cleopatra, All Phillipa Gregory but especially the Wideacre Trilogy, All Wilbur Smith and especially the River God trilogy (1st 3 in the series), All Dean Koontz & Stephen King

    9 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 3, 2009

    Total letdown

    I am so disappointed and am not even halfway through. The plot is too segmented between Brianna in 1980, Jamie and Claire in 1777, and Lord John and William in 1776. It plods along with redundancy. Since there is no conclusion to storylines as the other reviewers have said, I am taking the book to Half Price Books to sell.

    9 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 4, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Too much, and not enough

    While I am a huge fan of the whole series thus far, I was sadly disappointed in Echo in the Bone. I don't know if the issue is with the writing or the editing, or both.
    The Outlander series has always been about Jamie & Claire, who in this book have a minor role. Unless you are a fan of the Lord John books, or are dying to learn the most minute, inane aspects of William's life in the military, feel free to skip most all but those sections relating to Jamie, Claire, Brianna & Roger. The first three-quarters of the book slogs along, and then at the end, quickly compresses the meat of the (largely implausible) story into the last pages.
    I feel that one of the strengths of Gabaldon's writing has always been in creating in-depth characters, and describing their feelings and thoughts. This is sorely missing in this book; the characters that we have grown to love are now two-dimensional. While there are very enjoyable sections of this book, Gabaldon tries to do too much, and in the end, loses the story and the reader.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    I cannot Wait Till this Book is Released!!!!

    Gabaldon has written a great series and you cannot help but fall in love with Jamie and Claire. She has created characters that will remain with you throughout your life. I'm not one to wish the summer away, but I cannot wait till the fall!

    8 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 24, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    I LOVED IT!!

    I love fictional storylines with the true life history going on around them. This is a little different than I'm used to reading, but I'll have to say, I loved it!! ...I have a couple of other favorites of the year that has to do with exotic, luscious terrain and finding one's true essence. Check out EXPLOSION IN PARIS, by Linda Pirrung and BREAKING THE RULES, by Barbara Taylor Bradford...

    7 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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