Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone by Diana Gabaldon

Reviewed by Katy Zignego (Library Staff)

I have been reading the Outlander books for about twenty years, and I say now with the greatest affection that it’s time for the saga to end. The adventures of Jamie and Claire–and now their children and grandchildren–have been ever so entertaining, but I sincerely hope that the next book–the tenth in the series–will be the last.

The ninth book in the Outlander series, Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone, seems to acknowledge that the end is drawing nigh: author Diana Gabaldon teases the idea of Claire’s eventual death right in the title. (Spoiler: She doesn’t die.) But the 800 or so pages of GTTB only advance the story about one year, plodding through the seasons on Fraser’s Ridge one meal and bear attack at a time.

The reason for the slow development is that the reader is following five major storylines: one for Jamie and Claire, one for their daughter Brianna, one for their nephew Ian, one for friend Lord John Grey, and one for William (whose connection to the family is a major spoiler and so won’t be revealed here). When you split 800 pages into 5 sections, each storyline only gets a modest 160 pages. So instead of a rushing river of pounding narrative–as it was in the days of just Jamie and Claire–Outlander has become a delta of meandering streams.

I don’t want to see this grand adventure series continue into books eleven, twelve, and fifteen, following each of the different storylines to yet more storylines. Outlander gained its popularity on the strength of Jamie and Claire’s epic love story, and they don’t deserve to become supporting cast in their own saga. My message to Diana Gabaldon, as both an adoring fan and a discerning reader, is this: Bring Jamie and Claire’s story to a close with a bang, not a whimper.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC GABALDON)

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