A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Outlander, #6)

A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Outlander, #6) - Diana Gabaldon 1st read: June-July 20112nd read: Feb 20123rd read: Dec 2012-Jan 20133rd read thoughts:YIKES! I'd forgotten just HOW MUCH takes place in this book! It wears me out just thinking about it.Not only do we have all the history stuff, but we've got so much personal drama... and frankly, some of it seems to go on and on. The stuff with Malva and then the whole "bring Claire and/or Jamie to justice" thing seems to take MONTHS. Yet, in reality, it's only a month or two. Almost unbearable, all the little details stuffed in there... all the events.This book makes me cry so many times in so many places... Yes, I get that this book is a turning point for Jamie and his stand for liberty in the Revolutionary War. I get that there needs to be a lot of the historical events leading up to that war, but... while I find all that happened in North Carolina fascinating (and I do - I had no idea how much happened there because we're always so focused on Boston and Philadelphia), there is almost too much to absorb.And bringing Stephen Bonnet, Lord John, and William back in brings both a sense of completion and a sense of leaving many things hanging. But the LJ and William stuff is, obviously, a set up for the next book, where both play larger roles than they have in the Outlander series yet.While I'm sad that there aren't more love scenes between Claire & Jamie, there are many times that their love-making is referred to - but only as almost an afterthought in a sentence. THEY are the primary reason for these books, despite the many other characters and pairings (like Roger & Bree) who are now entrenched in our hearts.Dunno if this is DG's way of trying to show a more "mature" love by showing us more of their thoughts about the other and their conversations. But Jamie & Claire are TOUCH people; they need TOUCH to feel connected, and that's why, IMO, many fans feel that this book lets us down. We're used to Jamie & Claire needing to be and feel connected by physically connecting to one another; and we love to read about those joinings, because they're so... Jamie & Claire.The Malva-Tom-Allan Christie story arc is... maddening, heart-breaking, and so, so sad. It's interesting how we must see and hear things every day, and yet our own impressions of what those things really mean are often so wrong - as in the case of this family. We see the events through Jamie's, Claire's, and Roger's eyes... and yet, could even I, one who is almost never fooled and can put the pieces together to make the right picture at the end, didn't predict what the eventual outcome of this story would be. Fascinating!And the Wendigo Donner stuff... YIKES! Who'd have known?The storyline involving Jocasta-Duncan-Ulysses-Phaedre... another big YIKES!The Bugs... well, it wasn't completely unexpected. My issue is more with what happens in Echo In The Bone with the Bugs. But it's still so sad....And Major Donald MacDonald... until this re-read (probably my 3rd, at least), I didn't pick up on his demise until this time. I think that there are so many details in these books, that I often focus only on Claire & Jamie and the main characters, thus losing the fine points. And Major MacDonald is a fine-point in this book. It's fitting, based on his last visit to Fraser's Ridge... and then it seems almost cruel. Another thing that I "lost in translation" so to speak was the significance of Murtagh's "reappearance" and how that battle seemed to settle Jamie's mind and spirit with regard to BJR, Murtagh, and Culloden. I'm hoping that bodes well for Jamie, since we've seen him lay Dougal to rest... and in Daily Lines from book 8 (MOBY), we see that Ian seems to be visiting Jamie; sure hope that means good things, too.This book was almost exhausting! I found myself putting it down so many times, simply because I knew what was coming next, and I couldn't bear it. Or because of all the "devil in the details" that seemed to muddy up the main story. Sometimes, it seems as if DG puts her characters into situations SIMPLY to force her readers along with her, as she reveals some neato history facts she's discovered... or to put us into the "You Are Here" mind frame. And sometimes, those very devices back-fire and make me want to put the book down and keep it down.But alas, DG is such a fantastic writer... and Jamie & Claire are so much ingrained into me, that I can't leave them for long.