*Contains spoilers for the first 3 books (including this one!) and TV seasons!
“Are some people destined for a great fate, or to do great things? Or is it only that they’re born somehow with that great passion — and if they find themselves in the right circumstances, then things happen? It’s the sort of thing you wonder…”
So, Voyager has always been one of my least favorite entries in the series (please note that I still gave it 4 stars, because…Outlander). Part of the problem is I’ve read it A LOT — when I first got into the series, I reread every book I already had before starting a new one. This became unfeasible around book #5 or #6, since rereading them took approximately 2-3 months at that point. So I’ve read the first few multiple times, and have had a lot of time to consider them.
My main issues with Voyager:
Voyager starts with Claire discovering that Jamie did not die at Culloden. So we spent the whole first section of the novel catching up with Jamie. And guys, I love Jamie, but I’m not here for him. I want Claire, or at least Claire + Jamie. So devoting what translated to hours of an audiobook with his 20 years without Claire starts to drag. Plus…it’s a pretty depressing 20 years.
I don’t like how Gabaldon turns Frank into such a villain. I feel sorry for Frank. His wife disappears for several years, reappears pregnant and raving, and then pines for her lover while Frank raises her child and (begrudgingly, I admit) supports Claire’s dreams to be a doctor. There’s no need to turn him into a philandering racist. He’s Brianna’s daddy — let us all think nicely of him.
When Claire does return to the past — oh my god, I get that they’ve been separated for 20 years and have missed their sexytimes, but she asks him NO QUESTIONS about what’s happened during that time. Yes, he should have mentioned Laoghaire and Willy and John. But she doesn’t ask anything! It’s 80% into the novel that someone even mentions Murtagh! How could Claire not be dying to know how Jenny and Fergus and all those people she lived with for years were faring? I certainly was, and I KNEW THE ANSWERS.
And finally, the whole Mr. Willoughby thing makes me really uncomfortable. I’m dreading to see how they translate that to the television show. I get that it’s set in the past, but Gabaldon wrote it in present day and probably could have eased up on the stereotypes at least a little! When we find out at the end what he did and why, I was cheering for the man who they referred to as “the little Chinee” for 800 pages for standing up for himself. I did like the pelican though.
Now, there’s a lot of good about this book. Once Claire and Jamie reunite and end up on the boat looking for Ian, the pace picks up and things get more exciting. The big bad in this book works wonderfully — you really cannot kill a witch. And I loved Claire’s time on the plague ship, watching her kick all sorts of ass. And I like the time on the island with Lawrence Stern and the crazy priest and the goats. Young Ian remains one of my favorite characters in the whole series, and we don’t even get to know him until this book. I also love the beginnings of Fergus and Marsali, before he turns into a total ass. So really, the back half of the novel works for me. And I’m excited for the next novel, in which Bree discovers…things. I missed Bree and Roger in this book, and can’t wait to see them again.