I wanted to love this book. I wanted to be excited every time I picked up the book like I was with the first three books in the series. However, this book left me completely unfulfilled and annoyed. I think for the first time I felt the "pieced together" way in which DG forms her novels.
Overall, the novel was entirely too long for what was accomplished in the novel. Almost half of the book was very boring and tedious. The beginning was largely unnecessary information, at least it was for THIS novel. I would not be surprised if DG's tendency to take bits and pieces of her former novels and make an insignificant moment mean something turned the beginning of this novel suddenly meaningful later on. But for the time being, the beginning of this book was nearly unnecessary. After the beginning, the basis of the action in the book was due to confusion and due to individuals simply not asking direct questions. I find this method of writing (whether it be a novel, movie or TV show) to be extremely aggravating. I am fairly certain there would not even have been a Three's Company show if not for people refusing to ask a direct question to solve the confusion.
There was much too much repetition in this book, especially in the details. How many times do I need to hear about someone's hair color or how large they are? I understood it the first time DG! I think it is more important for characters to have a conversation rather than her explaining what the exact color of different areas of the sky were at that exact moment.
The narration in the book was also off. The focus would change without indication and you were left trying to figure out who was the focus. It was often a process of elimination which allowed you to figure out who was the focus at a given moment.
One of my biggest gripes for the novel was DG skipping ahead to the next month when I did not feel as though she fleshed out a particular scene well enough. For example, when Brianna meets up with Claire for the first time in the past--it was pretty much "Hi Bree!" then it was a month later and everything is normal and we will not mention it again! Plus I did not feel as though Jamie meeting Brianna for the first time was as good as it could have been. It was a let down for me and did not feel quite like Jamie. With all the pages in this book, shouldn't the pinnacle of the excitement (which I consider to be Brianna's meeting with her parents in the past) have been given more consideration?
DG also seems obsessed with rape. Why is that? At her rate of rape nearly every one of us NOW is the product of rape as some point since the mid-1700s. Oh, and nipples nipples nipples. I don't know about you, but I barely notice the existence of mine throughout a general day--but every woman in these books seems very highly aware of theirs at every waking moment.
Also, I saw a major shift in the book in terms of the focus. Brianna and Roger were a large part of the book, and they are simply not as interesting as Jamie and Claire. There was not enough Jamie and Claire in the book and what there was of them did not feel similar to other books. Something felt "off" about their characterization. Also, I really enjoy the character of Roger but Brianna is a poorer version of Claire from the first novel. She is childish, obstinate and just plain aggravating. Two characters I quite enjoy, Fergus and Ian, were nearly written out of this novel. Ian's exit from the book was very sad and Fergus was nearly non-existent.
In addition, I would hope that the characterization of some of the Indian tribes in the book were accurate, because if they were not it could be rather offensive.
While this had some of the classic DG characteristics, like a clearly well-researched basis, it just did not draw me as well as #1-3. I fear how #5 will go over considering many people consider #5 to be the weakest of the series. This book was a struggle and very aggravating, for that I rate it between 3 and 3.5. A better novel than most could write, but not equal to the other novels by far. I think DG needs/needed a new editor.