By: Diana Gabaldon
Release Date: December 30th, 1996
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Series: Outlander Series
Award: All About Romance (AAR) Annual Reader Poll for Favorite "Other" Romance & Honorable Mention for Favorite Couple (1998)
We are at book four in this series and now I find myself starting to, sadly, wane in my love for the series. This book, to date, is as far as I’ve read and I need a bit of a break after this one as I’m slightly disappointed in this book and, truthfully, I need to find time to read the books that follow this one. Spoiler alerts ahead, once again.
Okay, for all the fans of this series, here me out. I still love the characters. I still respect the hell out of Diana Gabladon. However, sometimes, some things are just too repetitive.
Jamie and Claire are in trouble. Life is difficult. People are raped. People die. Time travel happens. Wait, did I say more time travel? Yes, I did. Because, inevitably, Jamie and Claire’s daughter Brianna learns something distressing about the fate of her parents and she too time travels to try and help them.
Things I did enjoy about this installment of the series: Firstly and probably always I will always enjoy how detailed and historically researched Gabladon’s books are. This book feels like a very slow “passing of the torch” in a sense as our focus is shifted onto different, younger characters (i.e. Brianna & Roger). Brianna is a catch-22 character for me. Overall, I enjoy her and I enjoy the shift of focus onto her. However, I CANNOT stand her “do you know who I am” sort of attitude and her subsequent stubborn barreling through things, people and situations and hoping for the best. Yes, we’ve seen this from both Jamie and Claire but I feel that Brianna is a bit overdone still, I like her, maybe just because she is the child of Jamie and Claire. Another thing I enjoyed is that Claire runs into a slightly more supernatural aspect in the storytelling as she sees a ghost. This, combined with the time travel, reminded me that this story had these fantastical components beyond the complex story lines. I was grateful for the reminder. Lastly, a thing I loved, was the final meeting of Brianna and Jamie. Because, well, they needed each other.
Things I didn’t like: As with most of her books if characters would have actual conversations some issues could be avoided. This is extremely apparent here in Drums of Autumn. The repetitive feeling of “oh my, I love this character” quickly followed by “Oh, look, they’re miserable/being tortured/being raped/being killed.” It happens a lot in this series and while I do understand the world was diffrent back then and that if you’re in the middle of many complex things bad stuff will find you but honestly can one character, just one, even a minor character, have a decent time over the course of a novel? I know that nothing happening is boring and therefore not marketable but honestly, I sometimes think Gabladon enjoys ripping our hearts out. Some story lines and actions feel repetitive to the earlier ones as well.
Overall I cannot fault Gabladon for this novel except to say it’s not my favorite. It will probably be some time before I get into the next books as I have so many things on my to be read pile and I truly need to focus elsewhere but, for now I will say this: I have not given up on the series.