Title: The Fiery Cross
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Narrator: Davina Porter
Series: Outlander, #5
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Random House Audio (Imprint of Random House)
Date Published: November 2nd, 2001
Edition: Audiobook (Unabridged)
The year is 1771, and war is coming. Jamie Fraser’s wife tells him so. Little as he wishes to, he must believe it, for hers is a gift of dreadful prophecy—a time-traveler’s certain knowledge. Claire’s unique view of the future has brought him both danger and deliverance in the past; her knowledge of the oncoming revolution is a flickering torch that may light his way through the perilous years ahead—or ignite a conflagration that will leave their lives in ashes.
I think if you’ve gotten to book five in the Outlander series, then it’s pretty much a given that you’re a fan. Don’t get me wrong, the books are good. But they’re so long that there’s no way a non-fan would’ve gotten this far. They would’ve fallen off the wagon long ago. Because each book averages between 900-1500 pages (paperback) then five books could really be translated to more like ten or fifteen books by normal book-length standards.
So although I’m obviously a fan because I have gotten this far in the series, this book was a pretty big disappointment and quite easily the weakest in the series so far. Anyone who’s read anything by Diana Gabaldon could tell you that she loves her details. She loves to tell us each and every tidbit — right down to who’s on the rag and when boobie milk is leaking and uncomfortable. Does she go a bit far on the details? Some die-hard fans would argue that no, absolutely not; everything she writes is gold and should be read and devoured and read again. Although I am still a fan of this series, I really have to disagree. I can understand how some details would advance the plot or add to the personalities of the characters. But Gabaldon takes it a bit too far. We really do not need to know every single detail and if she edited out some of the more mundane and unnecessary details then these books could easily be hundreds of pages shorter, and probably a hell of a lot more enjoyable.
I decided to read this as an audiobook because I have a job where I am able to listen to audio while working and can still catch everything I’m listening to. Because I was disappointed in Drums of Autumn as well, I decided to go that route. So as far as the narration goes, Davina Porter is a flipping genius narrator. She is so good at creating different and unique voices for each character, no matter the accent, language, or gender. Even the men sound fantastic in this. She could seriously have 10 different people in a conversation at once, and I would be able to tell who was who. It’s pretty crazy. I haven’t listened to a ton of audiobooks, but this was by far the highest quality one I’ve ever listened to. She’s a really fantastic narrator and for that reason (as well as the absurd book length of these books) I will probably continue this series only as audio.
Despite the book being so darn long, really not much happened. I know that sounds insane and impossible. But I would say probably three major things happened in this book and they were very spread out. So in between those three things, mostly what we get is a day-to-day life of the Fraser’s. Fun. Even though I love these characters, I really don’t care about a lot of this. I want to jump into their lives when exciting things are happening as opposed to when they’re cooking dinner for ten pages or changing diapers and breastfeeding for twenty. The stuff that happens in this book is just normal every-day (for the year 1771) stuff and is not exciting in the least to read about, or listen to in this case.
Another thing that is really dragging these down for me is Brianna. I really, really dislike her. She is the ultimate b-word. To the extreme. She is so full of herself and whatever is going on with her. She argues constantly and has the shortest fuse imaginable. I can’t tell you how many times even Claire pointed out that “Brianna was on-edge today” and made some excuse for it on her behalf. Why are we making excuses for this woman who behaves like a child the majority of the time? She is extremely annoying and everytime we’re forced into her perspective I want to tear my hair out. She’s just…ahh! On top of all that, she doesn’t deserve Roger at all. I do not understand what he sees in her. She’s totally cruel to him all the time and he’s a sweet man who doesn’t deserve it. In some ways he needs to step up to the plate and take the lead a bit in their relationship, but at the same time she would probably just beat him up if he did.
But aside from the things I didn’t like I am still very much attached to the characters (Jamie and Claire especially) and the story overall so I can’t justify giving it any less than three stars. I’m excited about one thing in particular that happened at the end of this one as well, but I won’t say what to prevent spoilers. But it’s pretty awesome! I hear that the next book, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, is very good so I will definitely continue the series. I’m not sure if I will right away or wait a little while though.