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Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon | Rating: ★★★★★   

“I talk to you as I talk to my own soul," he said, turning me to face him. He reached up and cupped my cheek, fingers light on my temple. "And Sassenach," he whispered, "Your face is my heart.” 

Some types of love are stronger than you can imagine. And if there is one thing I've learned from reading Diana Gabaldon's incredible series Outlander, it's that love can endure almost anything. What strikes me most about this series is how it takes all its archetypes and throws them out the window. Gabaldon blends more than a few genres together and comes out with an intelligent story of love, loss, war and time travel. In Dragonfly in Amber we pick up quite quickly where we ended in Outlander and in this novel, we explore far more than we did in its predecessor.

If you thought the first of the series was breathtaking and full of romance, action and heartbreak, you're in for a new level with Dragonfly in Amber. Armed with the same bits of love, charm, soul and heartache that we'd come to see before, things are kicked up a notch. I am not altogether certain how to describe the sway of emotions readers will ride out during the novel. If I had to describe it, though, I'd say that this story is equal parts a warm embrace and a kick in the chest.

Diana Gabaldon's known for this. You get exactly what you expect in the richly drawn depths of history. It's breathtaking. It's a ride you can't explain. More importantly, it's not an easy one but such is the case of a good novel. I find that this one was even more packed with emotional baggage than Outlander. Which is saying something. You'll laugh. You'll swoon. You'll cry. You'll repeat these things until time bends and separates us on a massive cliffhanger.

Told in "then" and "now", Dragonfly in Amber weaves timelines together in a way that is graceful and full of life. Jamie and Claire go through the motions of life with the hope of living out their days together and changing history. This doesn't go without a hitch in their plans and we know this from the very first chapter. Somehow, the two are separated and we soon learn the how's and the why's. I loved the way that these two timelines balanced each other and showcased--once more--the chops that Gabaldon has when it comes to time-travel.

You're going to enjoy seeing Claire's journey in her present and the past she shared with Jamie. It is heartbreaking in the most incredible way. You're going to enjoy, even moreso, seeing what becomes of her daughter. Can you guess who the father is? Obviously you can. In Dragonfly in Amber we see a world of new revelations and historical references. We see the return of old faces and new. Sadly, we see the weight of loss that comes with the passing of time and not a single moment will go by in this installment without feeling something.

I enjoyed this one but I do have to say that there are a ton of trigger warnings to be noted. Violence. Sexual assault. Miscarriage. This will not be easy for everyone to read and you should, naturally, prepare yourself for this before deciding if Dragonfly in Amber is for you.

Ultimately Diana Gabaldon kills it with a tale that is thrilling and heartwarming and devastating all at once. The themes of love, of family and all of life's inbetweens are explored and there is a distinct sense of grit that comes with it. Gabaldon knows how to spin a story in a way that is descriptive and satisfying for her audience and there's no way of looking past this. I love the world she has created and look forward to exploring it more in the next installment--now that everything is out in the open.

Prepare yourself for all the themes you've come to love or expect. Prepare yourself for the setting to change frequently in all the best ways. Gabaldon truly outdid herself with the atmosphere and travels in Dragonfly in Amber and watching these scenes come to life just by reading what she writes is such a treat. 

That ending slayed me.

I have chills.

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