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Book 3: Voyager

Short Synopsis: Claire and Brianna trace Jamie's life after Culloden. Claire goes back in time again and travels with Jamie across the Atlantic to the New World. 

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I have a love-hate relationship with this book.   The scene where Claire walks in to the print shop and sees Jamie for the first time in 20 years is one of my favorites.  I love it when he faints.  I love it when he goes quietly to pieces over the photographs of Brianna.  I've gone back and re-read those pages more than once.  Then I take a deep breath and plunge into the French farce that follows, complete with a drunken Chinaman trying to sniff women's feet, fake excisemen getting themselves shot and then preserved in Creme de Menth, wee Ian getting drunk, accidentally killing a thief and setting the press on fire, getting his eyebrows burned off, and accusing his father of consorting with whores (mistaking his Auntie Claire for the aforementioned whore -- and why would he not since she's ensconced in a brothel with no clothes.)  Good grief that book is a roller coaster.   It will be very interesting to see how it is handled if the TV series lasts that long.

Edited by WatchrTina.
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I feel the same. This book stands out in the series for me, but not for being particularly good. Yes, I loved the reunion of Claire and Jamie, but the whole voyage and the stuff on the islands wasn't that interesting to me. The whole Chinaman thing bugged me as well.

 

The sexual assault of young Ian gets me as well. Good grief. 

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I liked the beginning of this book, but the last third of it was just exhausting to read. There was just one emergency after another and the poor characters never had time to regroup. I kept thinking, save some plot points for future books! You don't have to use them all here! She did give me a good shock when Geilis turned up again. I was not expecting that at all. Doesn't she get really fat? I wonder if they'll have Lotte do Geilis again or have to find someone else. That would be a lot of prothetics.

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I had the same experience with this book.  All the initial reunion stuff and the fight-breakup-reuniting at Lollybroch after the reveal of the second wife (whose name I can't begin to spell without referencing my books) and Claire realizes just what his life has been and how unfair it was for her to drop back into it and not expect some fallout is fantastic.  But it's like Gabaldon didn't trust those great character moments to carry the story and plunged into first all the French farce stuff and then went full bore Pirates of the Caribbean for the last half.  The pacing was exhausting and at times I really had to check myself to remember that they'd only been back together for maybe four days and of course they hadn't had time to have that conversation yet.

 

I couldn't make heads or tails out of a lot of the slave/voodoo/channeling/whatever that was toward the end and just didn't care enough to try to figure it out.  I do really love that this book managed to make chapters and chapters of people doing historical research interesting though.  Of course you knew they'd eventually track down Jamie, but I actually got their excitement every time they found another glimpse of him.

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the last third of it was just exhausting to read

"Exhausting" is exactly the right word.  When wee Ian is kidnapped onto that ship I was dismayed.  When Claire gets kidnapped onto a different ship in the middle of the ocean I nearly lost it.  It made me laugh when, in a more recent book, Jamie and Claire flatly refuse to be on different ships at any time.  They're learning.

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I completely agree about this book.  The first half is great, heartbreaking, tension building. Once that reunion scene though...

 

There are decent parts after, I did not mind the actual voyage or Claire meeting Lord John.  Fergus'wedding is one of my favorites and there is the whole turtle soup episode.  But yeah we really needed to see more conversations and reactions about their time apart.  

 

I truly hope if the show gets here they will eliminate the character of Mr. Willoughby.  That was one head scratching, walking stereotype.

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Oh God, Fergus' wedding is hysterical with the priest babbling about missing body parts.  It was also quietly moving when Jamie gave Fergus his name, although I couldn't help but wonder how a person could get to be 30 years old and never thought to just make up a last name if he felt he needed one.  The turtle soup thing is also one of the funnier things I've ever read.

 

I was fairly ambivalent about Lord John as a character and couldn't understand why he'd warrant his own spinoff series until his meetup with Claire. I liked that scene a lot but was once again ended up a little aggravated with Claire.  You're wringing your hands about why Jamie hasn't gotten around to telling you about Willie, yet you've been through how many kidnappings, pirate-induced injuries, outrunning the British navy, etc., in that short amount of time?  Even Lord John is astonished they've only been back together a couple of months at that point.

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I truly hope if the show gets here they will eliminate the character of Mr. Willoughby.  That was one head scratching, walking stereotype.

From interviews I've seen with the author it sounds like his sole original purpose in the plot was to teach Claire how to do accupunture on Jaime so he wouldn't be sea sick. Everything else about him just developed later. I don't see why she coudn't have just taken a class on eastern medical techniques when she was training to be a doctor...

 

I don't remember anything about turtle soup. Guess I need to reread.

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Heh. I'm working on rereading Outlander right now. Do you know where it was? I'll just go read that scene.

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One of my favorite parts is at the beginning, when Geordie (I think that was his name?) finds Claire and Jamie in the printshop and says, "And it not even noon!"

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It's on board ship toward the end.  The chapter is called Turtle Soup.

Oh, heh...I had that chapter dog-earred. La la la... I remembered that scene, but when I remembered it I wasn't thinking about the soup.

Edited by Petunia846.
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In the scene where Claire is with Joe Abernathy, and she's looking over the bones - did anyone else realize they belonged to Geillis?

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Minerette yes I made the connection at the end of the novel when Gellis finally meets the true death.  I knew there had to be a reason why those bones showed up at the beginning of the story so I kind of had my eyes open for the payoff.

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Yeah, most of the way through the book I was thinking that they were going to be that other woman, the sister of the preacher guy, who had all the emotional problems. That was a good fake out, but yeah, once they battled it out in the cave I figured it out.

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I liked the beginning of this book, but the last third of it was just exhausting to read. There was just one emergency after another and the poor characters never had time to regroup. I kept thinking, save some plot points for future books! You don't have to use them all here! She did give me a good shock when Geilis turned up again. I was not expecting that at all. Doesn't she get really fat? I wonder if they'll have Lotte do Geilis again or have to find someone else. That would be a lot of prothetics.

Yes, IIRC Geilis does get really fat. I can see a tv show leaving that out. TV, IMO, is not keen on larger ladies for the most part.

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They might allow Geillis to get fat here, though, since she's an antagonistic character. Bad people are always allowed to be larger before hero characters are. In my totally biased, larger-lady-who-watches-tv opinion. Sigh. 

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I really hope the series makes it to the 3rd season (and, with the way things are going, I don't think this will be a problem), because, well, Young Ian!  And Lord John!  And more Roger!  I love Jamie, but these three are my favorite male characters in the books.  I adore Ian, and does provide quite a bit of comic relief throughout Voyager.  Although, he's just one of those people that things just seem to happen to; and mostly not through fault of his own.

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Doesn't she get really fat? I wonder if they'll have Lotte do Geilis again or have to find someone else. That would be a lot of prothetics.

Have no fear. If there is one thing Ron Moore loves, it is a fat suit.

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I was a huge Battlestar Galactica fan right up until whatever the hell the last season was supposed to be. But one of Ron's earliest crimes was putting super hot Lee Adama in a fat suit for half a season. I need my eye candy.

To keep this on topic, this is the book where the series went off the rails for me. However, since the show has reignited my obsessive fangirl love (I think I read Outlander and Dragonfly in Amber 10 to 15 times between the ages of 16 and 19), I'm going to try and approach the later books with an open mind.

Edited by ohhellsyeah.
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Yeah, I'm rereading this one right now and I just got to the part where they depart from Scotland to track down Ian. I remember all kinds of crazy things that still have to happen before the end and yet when I hold it in my hands and feel how thin the right side (the unread pages) is I remember how exhausted I was by the end of it the first time.

 

One thing I never noticed or didn't remember from the first time I read through these books is that Marsali is only 15 when she "marries" Fergus and Fergus is about 30! Not terribly abnormal for the time, maybe, but I'd forgotten there was such a difference between them. No wonder Jamie was mad when they announced their intentions.

 

As far as the books after this one, my opinion is they get worse before they get better, but they do get better, so I would encourage anyone to power through and keep going.

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Oh, five is the worst! (In my opinion and in the opinion of many friends of mine.) The sixth book is actually my favorite.

 

I was reading Voyager last night before bed and everything was nice and calm on the boat, Duncan had some issues, Mr. Willoughby caught a bird, Marsali wants to know about birth control...and then suddenly all hell breaks out with some other boat pursuing them and I just shut the book. I just said to myself, I can't handle that tonight, time to go to sleep.

 

I do enjoy a lot of the plot points that happen later in the book, there are just so many of them. And the characters never have a chance to recuperate from one before they get plunged into another. It's like she thought this was her last hurrah (which might be, because I know she just had a three book deal to start with) and just threw everything she'd ever brainstormed into the book. I wish she'd picked like three of them and stuck with those.

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I did not like book 5 the first time I read it but after reading again I would rank it as 2nd best after book 6. You have to get past the first part of it. Now I love that part!

Voyager is like 2 different books in one. First reading I was sure Claire or Jamie were going to go back through the stones to warn Brianna at the end(this was before I realized Jamie could not time travel).

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I came here because I was rereading parts of Voyager and wanted to see what other people thought, but I'm also starting book 5 (91 pages in) and now I'm worried!  I'm gonna stick with it no matter what, but I've definitely slowed down my pace from previous books.  I keep getting distracted by rereading older books or other things completely.  91 pages and we're still on the same morning, yeesh.

 

But anyway, I really really hope they either nix Mr Willoughby, or seriously retool him (it would be nice to get a little diversity, so I'd rather they keep him but not if they don't seriously alter his character because damn it's painfully racist).  The one thing I did like about him was that his reason for betraying Jamie was basically "fucking white boy giving me a white name and trying to take my cultural identity".  It's not like Yi Tien Cho is that hard to pronounce, show a little respect, goddamn. 

 

I admit to being slightly nervous about the aging for the show.  I know Claire is supposed to remain fairly youthful looking, but there's a difference between reading about it and having to look at a 30-something actress and believe she's mother to a 20 yr old.  Not to mention Jamie....

 

But I'm excited to see the reunion on screen with Sam and Cait's chemistry. 

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But anyway, I really really hope they either nix Mr Willoughby, or seriously retool him (it would be nice to get a little diversity, so I'd rather they keep him but not if they don't seriously alter his character because damn it's painfully racist).  The one thing I did like about him was that his reason for betraying Jamie was basically "fucking white boy giving me a white name and trying to take my cultural identity".  It's not like Yi Tien Cho is that hard to pronounce, show a little respect, goddamn. 

I've also been rereading the series (more skimming my favorite parts) and I've found myself going over the Mr. Willoughby stuff several times.  It's really painful to read because it is so horribly racist, though it felt true to the time.  However, I really like Yi Tien Cho exactly for who he is and what he brought to the story.  Apart from his own interesting storyline, I did like how he challenged Jamie's hero complex in the best way he could.  Jamie's hero complex was definitely something that needed challenging.  Yi Tien Cho wasn't some brothel orphan child that Jamie saved from a bleak future.  Mr. Cho was a man of strength and all Jamie saw was some tiny poor drunkard that needed saving.  Then he felt like it was his right to reshape him for his own use simply because he'd 'saved' him.  Jamie is, more or less, a good person, but I think he definitely needed a good punch in the gut and I'm glad that it was Mr. Willoughby who did it.  

 

One character that truly infuriated me in Voyager was Geillis.  I knew she wasn't a good person.  She was a murderer and a rapist, probably clinically diagnosable as a sociopath.  And yet somehow her casual racism was so shocking it made me feel a bit ill.  To describe her slaves in terms of animals (for example, using "foaled" to indicated a female slave who'd given birth) to Claire of all people was so disturbing.  Claire, a woman from her own time, more or less.  I was of course disturbed that she casually murdered and raped.  I was also disturbed she owned humans.  But that casual racism just pushed me over the ledge.  I do wonder if they'll keep this for the show.  

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I will chime in for those coming up to or starting book 5. Power past that first section and you might like the rest of the book.  There is a bit of info for future reference in there though.

 

CatMack, I think Jamie explains at some point that "Yi Tien Cho" if pronounced just a bit differently is something vulgar in Gaelic, to explain why he gave him an English name.

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I don't remember much about the book other than the reunion, but I do remember being horrified by portrayal of Mr. Willoughby. However as far as the naming issue goes, I live in Taiwan and literally everyone has both an English name and a Chinese name so I'm not entirely sure if that part would necessarily read as racist or not. As far as I know that is a custom distinct to Chinese speaking countries.

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I really like Yi Tien Cho exactly for who he is and what he brought to the story.  Apart from his own interesting storyline, I did like how he challenged Jamie's hero complex in the best way he could.  Jamie's hero complex was definitely something that needed challenging.  Yi Tien Cho wasn't some brothel orphan child that Jamie saved from a bleak future.  Mr. Cho was a man of strength and all Jamie saw was some tiny poor drunkard that needed saving.  Then he felt like it was his right to reshape him for his own use simply because he'd 'saved' him.

 

This was my read on it too.  Jamie clearly meant well and he certainly treated him better than any of his counterparts but he still didn't really treat him as a man deserving the same respect that he would have considered his due.  Yes, he says he renamed Yi Tien Cho because his name sounded very much like a swear word in Gaelic, but I found myself wondering during my own rereading did he ever really explain that to the man or give him a choice about it?  Jamie has such a highly developed sense of his own honor yet it seems like it never really occurred to him that Yi Tien Cho might as well.  I do believe it's a lesson he took forward though.

 

It's hard to read but probably not too far off of attitudes at the time about "heathens."  I imagine if and when the show tries to tackle him they'll probably play up his relationship with Claire and their mutual interest in medicine.  They generally seemed to respect each other.  The scene where they convince Jamie to let them try acupuncture to cure seasickness by talking about how nonstop vomiting can twist up a scrotum never fails to make me laugh.

Edited by nodorothyparker.
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My problem with Mr. Willoughby wasn't (just) the way Jamie treated him specifically (because you can pin that on character development etc) but the way the book treated him in general so yes, I do hope they change it up for the show.

Edited by glitterpants.
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Yeah, while there were some nice moments where you got to hear his story and see that he was a man of intelligence and honor, they were few and far between as he was largely treated throughout the story as a long-running joke.

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What exactly do ya'll mean about the way to book treated him and how he was a long running joke?  I'm not trying to be deliberately obtuse, I just really don't understand.  I didn't see this on my reads through those chapters and I'd like to go back and reread with your thoughts in mind. 

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I just finished the third book for the first time. And everyone was right. There is entirely too much going on this book. If/when it makes to third season, I see a lot of things being cut out.

 

I don't even know how to solve the problem of Mr. Willoughby. I realize that there are a lot of historically correct elements there, but I also don't think the TV series should portray everything about him from the book.

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Oh man, I'd forgotten how hilarious and also touching Marsali and Fergus' wedding is. We're going to get a third season, surely, right? I mean we have to, because I really need to see that scene on my TV.

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I’m just finishing a re-read of Voyager now, and agree with most of what’s already been said. The first half is great, but then after Lallybroch it’s like she throws everything in but the kitchen sink, and none of it as meaningful as what came before. That being said I still like it a lot and there is some great stuff in the book, and hopefully with the show they can cut out a lot of the chaff of the second half and make it better.

 

Speaking of re-reading, I actually skipped books 1 and 2 this time around and started with Voyager. It’s been a while since I’ve read Outlander and Dragonfly, and I kind of like the fact that some of the details are hazy while I watch the show – I think it helps me enjoy the show on its own terms and not constantly noticing when they change a line or minor plot point. With the long wait between each episode though, it’s verrrry tempting to re-read from the beginning… I don’t know if I’ll be strong enough during the mid-season break…

 

I seem to remember A Breath of Snow and Ashes (book 6?) being my least favorite.  I think that was the one where Claire gets

gang-raped

? Ugh, even typing that…

Edited by Keeta.
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I hope they cut Mr. Willoughby from the third season.  You could do it without him.  As many others have said - there's SO much there they'll need to edit copiously. The key arc is tracking Jamie, the reunion, and following Ian.  There are a lot of ways to approach that in the spirit of the book and a lot of capers that aren't necessary to that story.

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I hope they cut Mr. Willoughby from the third season.  You could do it without him.  As many others have said - there's SO much there they'll need to edit copiously. The key arc is tracking Jamie, the reunion, and following Ian.  There are a lot of ways to approach that in the spirit of the book and a lot of capers that aren't necessary to that story.

Without Mr. Willoughby Jamie would have died from seasickness and vomiting non-stop. We need Claire to get her accupuncture tools and skills together somehow!

 

I understand the reluctance to air the portrayal of Mr. Willoughby exactly as written, but surely we could have him somehow? Even with all the ridiculous antics I got the feeling that Jamie, and later Claire, respected him.

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I feel like the show should be able to portray Mr. Willoughby and the racist attitudes towards him, without being racist itself.  Especially with more opportunities for non-verbal storytelling than the book has.

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Without Mr. Willoughby Jamie would have died from seasickness and vomiting non-stop. We need Claire to get her accupuncture tools and skills together somehow!

Well I don't see why Claire couldn't have just taken some kind of Eastern medicine class in medical school, realized it would have helped Jamie, and brought back the needles for it with her stash of antibiotics when she decided to go back.

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Well I don't see why Claire couldn't have just taken some kind of Eastern medicine class in medical school, realized it would have helped Jamie, and brought back the needles for it with her stash of antibiotics when she decided to go back.

Well, it already pushes the boundaries of belief that one could learn accupuncture from one random Chinese guy over the space of only a few months, so I guess that would work almost as well.

She's just the McGuyver of medicine, isn't she?

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I just reread (for the 1566th time...I kid) 

"Is that you, Geordie?"...

 

..."It isn't Geordie.... "It's me, Claire."

 

Oh man, I do really want to see this scene one day.  

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I just reread (for the 1566th time...I kid) 

"Is that you, Geordie?"...

 

..."It isn't Geordie.... "It's me, Claire."

 

Oh man, I do really want to see this scene one day.  

Heh, I just dug my book out a few days ago just to read that scene.

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Totally love that scene. And then Claire sharing her pictures too.

 

I refuse to accept a world in which we won't have a season 3.

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Totally love that scene. And then Claire sharing her pictures too.

 

I refuse to accept a world in which we won't have a season 3.

The whole thing from that opening, to the pictures and everything.

 

Heh, I just dug my book out a few days ago just to read that scene.

I did the same thing, thingamajig.

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