Short version: Better writing than most of the books so far, but hardly any plot – which is extremely disappointing in a 1450 pg book! How to best summarize this book? Claire & co. do mundane things, and because they are Claire & co., we're supposed to enjoy it. I think. One important plot point actually happens...and it was one I despise and think completely unnecessary.
It took me nearly a month to read (didn't grab me like some of the others), and I was sick for a large portion, so my recollection is not pristine. I don't think there was an actual rape in this book (finally!), but a previous rape was still the major focus of the book. However, all the 'plotting' surrounding this situation comes to naught. Repeatedly. So...what's the point again?
I guess she did clarify one thing I bashed in a previous review – here she says Claire never told Jaime about a certain someone trying to kill her. I find it incredibly hard to believe that she didn't, and I thought she did, but I'm not about to reread to see. I think DG banks on that.
The swapping between viewpoints was a bit clearer this time, though Bree seems to have changed dramatically, and not for the better. There were some incredibly unbelievable points, like a very wounded buffalo continuing to stand still and complacent while people scream, someone touches him, and then finally kills him. Also, Jemmy develops at an extremely slow and unhealthy rate (until the last chapter), not talking or walking until well past eighteen months, and doctor Claire assures Bree that it's plenty normal. It's not. He's a generic infant well into toddlerhood, and he doesn't begin to speak or get around until she finally decides he could potentially be important-ish at the very end.
Roger also changes quite a bit, though more towards his initial self that I really liked. Then she dumps on him, lights him on fire, pisses on the ashes, and dumps on him again. There are a lot of missions that literally amount to nothing, just to have them wander around pretending like things are happening. They're not. We almost think something is finally going to happen...but it, too, does not.
It's basically a hedonistic revelry in her own characters, almost seeming like an unending fanfic, complete with plenty of sex, some new fetishes, and absolutely no plot. I like the characters, but I like them way more when they're accomplishing things. Obvious 'middle book' that does not seem to be a complete novel on its own, despite being the length of seven novels. It has better writing though, so it's not completely boring until you close the book and think, “So what, exactly, happened? Was there any point to this one besides sales and contractual obligations?”
I still miss the good Fergus.