I'm astounded at the gushing praise. This is the worst book of the series yet. I wish I'd never picked up book 2 (which I loved) and got sucked in. I'm already invested in finding out what happens, fighting at first the grotesqueness of Gabaldon's continuous rape anthology (4 for 4 – called it, and this one wholly unneeded and ruining the whole premise/book, imo) and now just general crap writing. WHAT HAPPENED? And how inconvenient to discuss without major spoilers!
I give it two stars only because there was still some glimmer of good writing in there. A passage or two caught my throat or made me tear up. The rest...well, I was tearing up all right, but mostly in rage and incomprehension. And this one should have been a good one!
I was surprised to find that I really enjoyed the Brianna/Roger passages and anxiously looked forward to them – kept me up at night, even. My excited all-nighter soon turned to horror at the literary trainwreck I could not unsee.
Every single character quickly careened so far OOC that I was confused as to who was saying what and whose passage I was reading – because POV switches are separated by passages, not necessarily chapters. This was not helped at all by shoddy editing. Rather than keeping one character's dialogue in a paragraph together, as is usually the case, we would often start with a quote, follow with some description or inner monologue, and the next paragraph appears to start a new person speaking, but no, it was constantly just a continuation of the previous speaker, with no dialogue tags or obvious clarity. I was constantly rereading, which sucks when a book is nearly 1k pages. For instance:
“Say, I sure feel like doing something totally stupid and completely out of character.” I contemplated the weight of that statement, gazing at everybody's gleaming russet/amber/orange/roan hair. What would it be like, to lose myself so completely that readers are unsure if this is even the same series?
“How about we get naked and ride yon cedar to the moon? I hear it's great fishing this time of year. We could maybe polka. No? Here, a bit of whiskey. How about tango? Foxtrot?” Jaime blinked at me in surprise, not because what I said was so astounding, but because he'd thought this had been his paragraph until this very second.
Plus, characters were actually using the verbatim dialogue of each other. I wasn't sure is this was purposeful, to try to highlight how much we're all alike/not so different after all, or if she just didn't realize that (possibly hyperbole, but likely not) sixteen characters shared the same line, three folks from different cultures share a few others, and that would-be lovers using Daddy's pick-up lines is really skeevy and detracts from everyone's sexiness. Side characters were so similar as to be indistinguishable most of the time.
This whole book suffers from my worst nemesis and greatest fear – Middle Book Syndrome. You know the one; the entire plot focuses on Giant, Obvious, Idiotically OOC Misunderstandings, plural. Had anybody actually talked to each other, well, I reckon the story would have been more enjoyable even at only 12 pages.
Claire and Jaime didn't sound nor act like themselves, except for the ever-passionate love-making. Roger sounded more like Jaime than Jaime did, and Brianna was happy as Ma to yell and stomp her feet at any man, only everything she did (right down to foot stomping) was exceptionally toddlerish, ill-thought, and, yes, dangerous. Everybody makes bad decisions that they never would have in the other books (or even the beginning of this one, really), and I spent most the time yelling, “Och, ye wee idiot! That shite was as obvious 782 pages ago as it is now!” Even the good parts were ruined by our competent, strong, intelligent heroes and heroines...being totally not.
Verra disappointing. But the story...I have to know. It's a good premise with characters that, until now, I'd felt very invested in. Including Fergus, who not only didn't get much screen-time but was relegated to side character indistinguishable from any other if not for his hook. If only I could go back and warn her: More Fergus, less rape, and don't forget who everyone is. Oh, and try to make it sound less like the mountains of NC are just a quick jaunt from Wilmington for everybody, especially by wagon and no roads. Double-especially when making jokes about Europeans just not understanding how vast America is!