Two days ago, Diana Gabaldon released Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone, the long awaited ninth installment of her popular Outlander series. It’s been more than seven years since the last installment. So, I have been reading and ruminating for approximately 48 hours as I sit down to write this review. I’ve got a good many thoughts about this novel – it is more than 950 pages long on my Kindle, after all – but I’m not sure how many of them I can share without this review becoming nothing but a minefield of spoilers. I’ve decided to make a bullet point list of things that you should know going in.
- You’ve watched the show and are now interested in reading the books. Can you start with this or any of the others and read them out of order? NO. ABSOLUTELY NOT. These books are densely plotted with extensive character growth and world building. You’d only be lost.
- Honestly, it’s been so long since the last installment, you should probably do a reread of the entire series before tackling this one. There are so many callbacks that are critical to the plot of this one that if you are not up to date or fully immersed in the story that you will only be lost.
- Is it a slog like the book that spent three whole days and six hundred pages covering a picnic? No, lots of stuff is happening across a wide variety of plot lines. It might be helpful to keep a list handy to help you keep track.
- There is not nearly enough Lord John Grey. That’s all I have to say about that.
- It feels like everything and nothing are happening at the same time.
On to the most important part of any review: did I *like* the book? I’m… I’m not sure. There were some portions that felt like a blow to the stomach. There were other moments that were just lovely. There are also several plot lines that I’m not going to go into that were infuriating, whether it was due to issues with the characters or because of the sheer amount of wtf that occured. Of course there was the in depth attention to historical detail, which was a plus in my book, but is not everyone’s cup of tea. Was this book ever going to live up to my expectations? How could it? I’ve been invested in these people since the 1990s.
Ultimately, I think I kind of wish that the series had just ended with that lovely scene at the end of Written in My Own Heart’s Blood. Have you read it? Please let me know how you feel about it in the comments below.