Review of last two books in the series plus praise for Starz!
Echo in the Bone
Written in my Own Heart’s Blood
First of all, before anything else, I want to congratulate and offer my most profound appreciation to the Starz network and Ronald D. Moore for the excellent adaptation of the book series to film! Yes, of course, most of the credit goes to Diana Gabaldon for creating the series in the first place. All of the fans of the series already knew what an amazing and incredible job she has done with weaving history and fantasy so closely together that one is often unsure which is which! Diana has always been firm on the idea that the story could be adequately told in just one movie or even some sort of mini-series. She stood by her opinion and refused all attempts to recreate it until Sony and Ronald D. Moore approached her with their concept. Fortunately for all us, she was impressed enough with their presentation to agree to this series!
If you have seen the first preview episode yet, I highly advise you to go now and watch it. In fact, watch it more than once! I suggest this because it was so good that I was completely immersed in it from the very beginning and found that in watching a second time, I caught little things I had missed the first time! The only problem with watching this preview episode so early is the fact that now I must wait for what seems such an unbearably long time to see the next new episode!
I have already sang high praises for the series in previous posts about Outlander so am not going to repeat myself again on that. I also mentioned previously that I would wait until I was finished with the series of books to give more of a review on them. Well, I am half way through the last book, Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, or MOBY as Diana has affectionately nick named it. I am going to break my previous vow and comment on the remainder of the books now!
I do have to say that it’s quite a rather odd feeling… being almost finished with the series and knowing Jamie and Claire now as an older couple, then seeing their early life play out on screen! The key thing about these books and Diana’s writing is that we have come to know in such great detail (I will admit, sometimes far too much detail) all of these people and their life stories. It has been an incredible, heartfelt, and yes, very long journey with them through time. I mentioned that Diana weaves history and fantasy together so well that you are often not sure which is which. In the last two books, Echo in the Bones and MOBY, this was so much the case that I found myself googling names and historical events to either figure that out or find out more information on those people and events. Please do not take this as a negative! Take it as praise for her research and attention to details. There were many times when I was confused and thought she had dates, places or times a bit off… No, she did not, at least in most of the instances!
The confusing part was the going back and forth between events, times and various character’s perspectives of what was happening. That part, I would consider a negative… had the stories been presented in bigger chunks blocked out for each character rather than jumping between them so often, it would have been easier to keep track of what was happening. There was so much happening to everyone that it did at times feel overwhelming and distracting. Of course, if you have stuck with the books and made it to these last two, you are most likely such a fan of the series and the characters that you will struggle through those most confusing parts to find out what is happening to your beloved family! I refer to them as family because that is what they have become to all of the devotees of this series. Through Diana’s skillful writing and that often annoying attention to the smallest facts and details (you know… the ones that you grit your teeth at and mutter that she didn’t have to waste so many pages explaining?), she has created such realistic and believable characters and events that you feel you know all them intimately, yes probably too intimately?!
I have said previously, and Diana continuously reminds readers, these books are not romance genre! These books are a representation of all facets of life… the good, the bad, and the often mundane in between. Although, I will say that I am quite sure the Fraser family would dearly love to enjoy the mundane in between for a while because they don’t seem to get much of that! Echo in the Bone and MOBY deal almost exclusively with the American Revolution and go into extensive detail about it. They are less about romance and more about early American history, politics and the behind the scenes intrigues that went along with the war. If you are not familiar with the history and events of the Revolution, these books may be a real struggle for you to get through. I am an avid history addict and I had trouble following some of it so I would assume that those people who are not so enthralled with historical accuracies and military details would have serious issues with it! Perhaps that is why she used the back and forth format so often. It did give one a slight break from the ongoing battles, if only to dive you into it from some other side!
As per Diana’s usual format, it takes well over half the book, in both of the last two, to get to the most interesting and need to know parts! I did find Echo in the Bones much less frustrating in that aspect as the story played out well through out most of the book from beginning to end. The last book, MOBY, however has been a serious struggle for me to get through the first half. I may be an avid history buff, but I am not so much of a military history or battle expert. Much of the first half of MOBY is dedicated to the events happening around Philadelphia in the early stage of the war and the battle of Monmouth. I was immensely grateful for the few breaks when we joined Bree and Roger, even though they are separated in time now as well! I have now reached the half way point in the book and am happy to say that it has grabbed my attention back!
I do want to share here as well a link to a recent interview with Ronald D. Moore!
You can also find a chronology and description of the books on Diana Gabaldon’s official site:
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