An Echo in the Bone, by Diana Gabaldon

kristinmayle's review against another edition

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As always, I really enjoyed the latest installment of the Outlander series. It's like seeing old friends that you haven't seen in awhile. But, also like always, I have a difficult time keeping track of the hundreds of characters invloved in the very complex storyline. And, I have a difficult time picking up where the last book left off.
So, for my own use, I'm going to write here where all of the main characters are at the end of this book, so that when the next one comes out I can reference this. Spoiler alert!
Thinking Jamie dead, Lord John Grey and Claire got married in order to save her from being arrested as a spy. But, Jamie was not dead and showed up at their house, chased by British troops. Jamie and Lord Grey escaped, and when we last leave them, Lord Grey had just told Jamie that he had had carnal knowledge of his wife. Claire, left behind in the hubbub, has to deal with William, who has just had the revelation that Jamie, not Lord Grey, is his father. Young Ian and Rachel have declared their love for each other, even though he is very violent and she is a quaker. William is also in love with Rachel, although he doesn't know she is in love with Ian. Jennie has left Lallybroch after Ian's death, and has come to america with Jamie. Fergus and Marsali are in Philadelphia, printing rebel literature.
In the 1980's, Roger and Buccleigh (inadvertant time traveler, who in the 1700's was responsible for Roger having been hung) have gone back in time to save Jemmy, who they think was forced through the stones by bad guy Rob Cameron. But actually, Rob just locked Jemmy in the tunnel underneath the dam where he and Brianna work. But, there is a time portal in the tunnel that Brianna discovered earlier, and Jemmy is heading right toward it. In their last scene, Rob has shown up at Lallybrock, demanding from Brianna the location of the Stewart gold in return for Jemmy. Also, Jemmy and Mandy seem to have some sort of telepathic connection.
Once again, this is just for my own use, to help me when the next Outlander book comes out.

sleeping_while_awake's review against another edition

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Before deciding on a final rating, I looked back through my ratings of the previous books. I was thinking that surely I gave Breath of Snow and Ashes or Fiery Cross more than 2 stars, as surely they were better written than Echo in the Bone but alas, I gave them each a paltry 2. And I bestow a 2 on this one.

It makes me wonder why I keep reading this series. There is something that is not clicking for me as a reader, but I don't think that I am alone in that regard. Ever since number 4, Drums of Autumn, it is clear that the author doesn't want to let go of her characters.

There has been such a determination against plotting out a cohesive, in-depth story. These books have so much historical research put into them, much of it rather subtle, which I appreciate. I don't think this long book format is really serving the characters at this point, and the author could do a series of novellas or related short stories which would have the same impact.

Echo in the Bone didn't evince the frustration of Fiery Cross. In fact it didn't evince much emotion at all from me. Claire and Ian each have a few poignant scenes, but overall it felt less on the scale than usual.

Not much happened, but then again, nothing much is really happening in these later books, which is sad to me because I liked the adventure of the earlier ones. Claire and Jamie aim to travel to Scotland to retrieve their printing press, but many detours occur, of course. How is that the main point of the book? To get a freaking printing press??

Once Claire and Jamie leave Fraser's Ridge, I thought the story started to move along. Later I found myself wishing they were back on Fraser's Ridge.

Brianna and Roger are back in present time with their children, Jem and Mandy. They readily adapt back to modern times, and Brianna gets an awesome job as an engineer. I liked her struggle and determination in a male-dominated profession, but it doesn't get as much focus as I would have liked. Brianna is slowly going through a cache of letters left written by Claire and Jamie. Whatever she reads correlates with what is happening to Claire and Jamie in their povs, so it's a nice parallel.

I have never been a fan of Roger. I find him and Brianna to be an odd match, but maybe I'm missing something. Their povs focus on daily life, which I found interesting, but it doesn't add anything to the plot until the very, very end of their povs.
SpoilerI think there will be some time traveling again, due to Jem's abduction and the want of the Spanish gold. I think that this was held off in the book until the end so it could come at a time convenient for Jamie and Claire's plotlines. Kind of frustrating, but whatever.

For most of the book, Brianna and Roger are just living their lives, discovering themselves. They do have some thoughts on time travel. Although I liked their parts, it's an example of how the latter books are less adventure and more on everyday occurrences.

Claire and Jaime's povs were the best as always. However, I found them to be less involved in the politics and hubbub than usual. Usually they are thick in the middle of things, and instead they're on the periphery. Claire did seem out of character at parts, but I don't know if it's due to a change in her growing older?

Ian's povs were the best, and I hope he does have some happiness. His povs have all the emotion and action that I'm really loooking for in these books.

William's pov, while unexpected, wasn't too bad. I liked the pov of a soldier in the American Revolution. Yet he spent a lot of time alone, and when he was with his unit, he remained detached. Much of the pov is in his head. It wasn't enough for me to become engaged, and I thought a missed opportunity to give a descriptive viewpoint of British soldier.

Lord John. I am so - bored - with him. Whenever I got to his chapters, I usually put the book down and did something else. He has the personality of a dish towel. Maybe I'm missing something, but he is not written as interesting. His main plotline really confused me, until the end, when I realized it isn't actually complicated, and it's fairly straightforward. Seemed like an excuse to keep him around by giving him a pov.

The few Hunter povs were fine. I liked them, and I missed the host of characters left behind on Fraser's Ridge, so they somewhat filled that gap/

Overall, no character was really immersed in the American Revolution. It seemed like everyone was skirting around it. The battles were short and the politics were less than usual.

The strange twist near the ending didn't make me angry or think Claire acted out of character. I think it was way too rushed.
Spoiler When Claire is informed Jamie is dead, in the next few page, in the same chapter, Lord John proposes marriage. She accepts due to the impending threat that she will be arrested as a spy. As for Claire's spy activities, the reader has only gotten a few sentences regarding this, so it seems like a convenient excuse for this marriage situation. Additionally, I was surprised there was no discussion of alternatives. No discussion of get me out of this city. Put me on a boat, etc. Then, once they're married the charges clear up so nicely with no explanation!

This book does set up a plotline for Fergus that may prove interesting later. Maybe when the tv series gets to the later books they can inject more cohesion and action.

psalmcat's review against another edition

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Holy COW, Diana! Is there ANY research that you've done that you have NOT included in the book?? So this covers less than two years (1776-1778) three countries (U.S., Scotland, and France), and 40 CDs!!!

I had to stop a couple of times and 'clear my palate' for a day or two, but I had to get back and finish the story...
...which left me hanging as far as Jemmy's fate, not to mention Claire, who is now a bigamist, and the whole Ian mess.

bibliocat4's review against another edition

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When I first started this book, I wondered if this would be the last in the series. Now I know that there will be more!! How can she leave us hanging like this?

loreofthebooks's review against another edition

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While Gabaldon is a fantastic writer...this book...did not make me happy. Too much flipping around, too much back and forth. I don't care about Bree or Roger so much. Their kids are cute, and honestly the depressing thing is, she could have sent them back, prologued them to explain how their life was going then just went to Claire and co. And it would have been so much better.

It was just a mess. At least there was sort of a plot in this one, although rather disappointing.

I was so much more interested in things going on in Scotland and Scotland than I am in the Revolutionary War. So I liked them going back to Scotland, I just thought how long it took them to actually be underway to go there. Jenny and Ian and Young Ian were great as well.

Anyways...the 8th book is next.

shonatiger's review against another edition

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So consistent, all of these books. Great writer.

acampbell1230's review against another edition

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Reviews at: Bright Copy Book Review

I did feel like this one was a bit more fast-paced than the last few, but it's starting to get a bit annoying/repetitive in plot and characters. How are there that many travelers and how many times do people have to go back and forth?

This one was a bit too long to recall everything that happened, so instead of a full blown review, I'm just going to list my likes and dislikes

the take on American history & running into random famous figures
Ian's homecoming!!! Brought me to tears
the Hunters

So many people/times going through the stones
Claire's belief of Jamie's death & subsequent marriage to get out of trouble
all the shit with Arch Bug
Ian & Rachel being soooo in love but barely talking to each other
Anything to do with John Grey & William
Anything to do with Brianna
Jenny being a bitch to Claire

Basically, I just want the books to focus on Claire & Jamie and the history and her doctorly duties. I don't care about Brianna because I dislike her and I don't care about John or William because they're boring and think they're better than everyone else.

mdabernig's review against another edition

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So much about this book was frustrating and the complete nonsense at the end makes me want to throw things, but there was enough good there that it at least wasn't a complete waste of time.

Too many characters, the author's obsession with Lord John, the complete BS that was the end portion of the book (which required us to believe that Claire would just accept and agree to certain things within weeks of Jamie's ~death, forget everything else that happens there. If only I could forget everything else that happens there...) and just not enough time on people we care about. I mean there was a whole subplot regarding Fergus and he had about 20 lines in it - one of the lines was amazing, but at the same time, I want more. Fergus has been so badly done by in these later books.

Ian continues to be wonderful and I hope the addition of Rachel doesn't ruin his character.

All in all, I would have given this another star if it hadn't been for the ending. I did skim at times because I don't care about William and Lord John (I was praying for more Brianna/Roger stuff, that's how bad it was! lol) but the Jamie/Claire stuff was good, the got back to Scotland, even better and I actually loved the future stuff and seeing them re-settle in Lallybroch and reading letters from the past. It was a lovely plot device that really worked. If only that had been our main focus...

lenarae's review against another edition

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I'm not capable of saying whether these books are actually good or not because I love them SO MUCH!! So five stars for all these books!!

aubreyreverie's review against another edition

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I think this book should go down in history as having the most epic number of cliffhangers, ever. Echo might be my favorite book in the Outlander series, besides Outlander itself.

In this book, the story splits and follows each different character - there's the story of Jamie and Claire, young Ian and his quest for love with his dog (love Rollo!), Brianna and Roger and their young weans, Lord John and new characters were introduced that helped to make the book. Now granted, just like with DG's other work, the middle (and bulk) of this book is without a plot. It's mostly day-to-day, and some very important events happen that don't seem to have as large an impact as they should have.

Some of the difficulties I had while reading this book:

It's set during the American Revolution, so there's a lot of battle scenes. I had a hard time keeping track of who was a rebel and who was a loyalist, or perhaps if those were the same...

There are a lot of letters in this book, too - I found myself skipping over them to get "back to the action" of the plot. I missed some important stuff because of this.

While I liked that the book followed all of the different characters, the splitting off and separation between chapters irked me a bit. I wanted to finish reading on Roger and Brianna and it'd switch to Young Ian. I kind of lost my thunder a couple times and found myself putting this book down more often than I did any of the others.

Things I really liked:

Without giving too much away, that by the end of the book, everything came pretty much full circle. By that, I mean that all of the different places and characters kind of became connected.

It left me majorly wanting more - I want to find out how she finishes it! Like right now, not in 2013!

Now that all that is being said, this book was hard to read, because it was so complicated. It took me longer to read it than any of the other Outlander books, and not just because of the length. But if you made it this far, you MUST read this book. You have to know how it ends!