Warning: This review will contain spoilers. Hold on to your butts.
Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon
Star rating: ★★★ ☆☆ 3/5 stars
Summary: The fourth in the Outlander series, Drums of Autumn follow Jamie and Claire as they become settlers in America. Their daughter travels back to their time to warn them of danger in years to come but more immediate to meet her birth father. Her boyfriend-ish Roger follows her to the past once he realizes she left and proceeds to create a fucked up mess with her.
Reasons behind picking this book: I had started reading this book last year but gave it up after a while, I decided I wanted to finish it and since it is well over 600 pages, I thought it would be a good choice.
Review: Yikes, okay– let’s just start by saying Diana Gabaldon could really benefit from the wonders of editing. Seriously, there is so much in this book and so much of it is just unnecessary. I struggled with a lot of this book because it just drones on and on. I ended up every time the main villain, Bonnet, showed up forgetting who the hell he was. He was not memorable and yeah he sucked but I didn’t feel threatened as a reader by him like I had with Randall. There were just so many sub-plots I lost track of them and was confused.
Which reminds me of my biggest complaint, I am sick and tried of Gabaldon using rape as a plot device. In every single book so far there is a rape which moves the plot. In the first book, while I didn’t like it, I thought it worked. It was different enough and I thought it dealt with the situation well. But now? It’s just fucking old. Come up with a new way to drive your plots! They exist, trust me. It really makes her seem like a one trick pony.
Jamie and Claire feel out of character. Claire is fairly meek and passive while Jamie… I just didn’t recognize him. He was a real dick about things. Also, Claire seemed so unconcerned with dropping references to her time around people other than Jamie and Brianna. She used to be so careful and now she’s super blasé. I didn’t mind it from Brianna she doesn’t seem to have the forethought Claire does.
The initial meeting between Jamie and Brianna where he thinks she’s propositioning him was creepy and a little gross. I had to put the book down. At the end when they realize, I did smile to myself but God that was uncomfortable to read. Speaking of uncomfortable, if I have to read one more person wondering what color Brianna’s pubes are I will scream. We get it, she’s a red head and people have this gross obsession with ginger pubes, stop already. I swear, Roger mentions it at least three times himself and it comes up more than just him.
I didn’t enjoy reading about Jamie and Claire in this book, which is disappointing. I did enjoy Roger and Brianna up to when Jamie beats the shit out of him and then sells him into slavery. Then I started getting bored and annoyed by them too. I almost hoped Lord John, a character I’m not that fond of, would just marry Brianna as his beard.
Definitely not my favorite of the series and I’m almost hesitant to read the fifth after this one. Because I know Gabaldon is going to have yet another rape driven plot because that’s all she can seem to do.
Recommendation: Unless you’re really invested in these characters, I would skip this book. Compared to her other novels this one is not very compelling.
Up next: The Courtship of Princess Leia – A science-fiction novel