REVIEW – Voyager by Diana Gabaldon

Book Cover Image: Voyager by Diana GabaldonTitle: Voyager

Author: Diana Gabaldon

Narrator: Davina Porter

Audio Length: 43 hours, 19 minutes

Synopsis (Courtesy of Powell’s Books): “Their passionate encounter happened long ago by whatever measurement Claire Randall took. Two decades before, she had traveled back in time and into the arms of a gallant eighteenth-century Scot named Jamie Fraser. Then she returned to her own century to bear his child, believing him dead in the tragic battle of Culloden. Yet his memory has never lessened its hold on her… and her body still cries out for him in her dreams.

Then Claire discovers that Jamie survived. Torn between returning to him and staying with their daughter in her own era, Claire must choose her destiny. And as time and space come full circle, she must find the courage to face the passion and pain awaiting her…the deadly intrigues raging in a divided Scotland… and the daring voyage into the dark unknown that can reunite or forever doom her timeless love.”

Thoughts: Warning – There will be spoilers for those who have not read the second or third novel.

Claire and Jamie are back in this third installment of the Outlander series, and Ms. Gabaldon does not miss a beat when it comes to putting Claire and Jamie through their paces. Theirs will never be a boring relationship, but that is what makes the entire series so exciting!

The first third of the novel see Claire and Jamie separated not only by location but also by time. This section was actually difficult for the reader to sit through because the need to have them together is so strong. Seeing each character without the other though allows the reader to recognize each person’s strengths and weaknesses. For example, Claire is such a strong female that one never truly worries about her fate. Also, as she is actively searching for news of Jamie, it helps ease the tension a bit. However, Jamie without Claire is a whole other beast. The reader is left to question Jamie’s intelligence on more than one occasion and is left with serious doubts that Jamie can survive without the intervention of others on his behalf. Thankfully, their reunion eases a tension that the reader is not quite aware exists. For me, it confirmed that I have a strange, overemotional connection to the Frasers of Lallybroch.

One interesting point of discussion for this novel, and throughout the series in general, is the idea of fate versus free will. Jamie especially is continually coerced into acts he does not want to commit and are completely unforeseen because of outside forces. In Dragonfly in Amber, both Claire and he did everything in their power to change history, all to no avail. The same occurs in Voyager many times over. Does this mean that Jamie and Claire are making the decisions or are their decisions already decided by a greater force than them? Given how much happens to them both, it does make one wonder.

One of the best things about the series is the portrayal of their relationship. It is a mature, healthy relationship that makes no demands of each other and is filled with mutual respect. Tolerance, respect, conviction, honor, and trustworthiness are extremely important to both Claire and Jamie, and this comes through with every action they muster and every word they declare. Jealousy, spite and pettiness have no place in their lives, nor would they tolerate it in the other. In spite of their dramatic lives, their love and their relationship can be used as a standard for everyone.

Even though Voyager does not end with a huge cliffhanger, the reader knows without a doubt that there are more adventures to follow. The whole series has a bit of a Dickensian quality to it. Every character is important and most likely will appear again at some point in time in the series. This makes it rather difficult for a new reader to pick up the story mid-series, as he or she will not be able to reach the same level of understanding or emotional involvement that readers of the full series will have. Yet, for readers of each book, this connects each novel and enlivens the entire storyline so much that one truly does feel a connection with each character.

Davina Porter is an absolutely amazing narrator. She brings life to each character, but none more than Jamie and Claire. With accents that range from French to Scottish to pidgen English, Ms. Porter hits them all. Her interpretation of each character enhances the story so much, that I am not certain I want to read the books anymore. Listening to the different characters is so much more entertaining. It is no wonder that Ms. Porter has won accolades for her narrations. She is a narrator like no other.

Fans of Jamie and Claire will not be disappointed with Voyager. In fact, everything they face in this novel only confirms that individually, each character is special but together, they are a force that can take the world by storm. With four additional books in the series, and the potential for at least two more yet to be written/published, I suspect that Jamie and Claire will get the opportunity to do just that!

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6 Responses to REVIEW – Voyager by Diana Gabaldon
  1. Michelle
    November 3, 2010 | 9:07 PM

    LOL! I don't normally post spoiler warnings, so I must have been feeling particularly careful!

    You know, there are times through each of the three books where I lose interest and question why I am reading them. Then, as the stories progress I become more and more enthralled and, before I realize it, I'm almost finished.

    One of the notes I did not include in my review is the thought that Jamie and Claire are some of the most well-connected, unluckiest people on this earth. They know everybody important and invariably find that one friend who can help them out of their perilous situation. Then, everything that can go wrong does. They cannot catch a break. While it makes for interesting reading, it does get a bit old at times. I can't imagine how she is going to continue the series through another two books.

  2. JaneGS
    November 4, 2010 | 2:02 AM

    Voyager is my favorite of the novels in the series. While I enjoyed the first two books, I prefer the older Claire and Jamie, and think their reunion was believable (if time travel can be deemed believeable :)). I also love the voyage to the Americas and exotic locale, etc.

    Great review for a wonderful book.

  3. Michelle
    November 4, 2010 | 2:27 AM

    Time travel is believable…I think. It makes me rethink visiting Stonehenge, that's for certain!

    I do like older Claire and Jamie. I think they are more believable, more likable. There is a maturity to their relationship that is definitely refreshing and at the same time quite poignant. I have the fourth book queued up for my next audiobook. It should be interesting.

  4. stacybuckeye
    November 5, 2010 | 4:47 AM

    I'm reading through The Exile (Outlander graphoc novel) right now. Love me some Jamie and Claire, although I do not picture them like the graphic novel shows. I prefer my way! 🙂

  5. Michelle
    November 6, 2010 | 1:26 PM

    I have that one too and might read that this month when I need something quick to read for review. I agree that I'm not quite pleased with the way they are depicted in the graphic format, even if Diana Gabaldon thinks they are perfect. "My" Jamie is MUCH more rugged and less boyish…and a lot hairier. They make so much about his arm and chest hair, but there is none in the graphic novel. It bothers me, but it won't prevent me from reading it!

  6. Michelle
    November 9, 2010 | 1:07 AM

    So, what are your thoughts on a certain scene in England? Is it behavior uncharacteristic for Jamie? Does Gabaldon justify rape? I'm curious.

    I'm getting ready to start listening to Drums of Autumn. Davina Porter is amazing, and I don't feel like taking considerable amounts of reading time away from shorter books. TG for audiobooks!

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