Monday, February 3, 2014

Book Review: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Pages: 870
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction/Romance
Pub. Date: January 1, 1991
Source: Personal Copy
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon--when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach--an "outlander"--in a Scotland torn by war and raiding Highland clans in the year of Our Lord…1743. Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into intrigues and dangers that may threaten her life...and shatter her heart. For here she meets James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, and becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire...and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives."
Claire Randall is reunited with her husband after serving as a combat nurse during the war. The year is 1945 and they are spending some time together at a bed and breakfast in Scotland.  Her husband is pretty much all the family she has ever known since her parents tragically died when she was young and she was sent to live with her uncle.  In the UK, it is common to see standing stone circles and Clarie comes across one in Scotland. She is in the midst of checking it out when she is catapulted back in time to the year of 1743 and in the middle of a feuding Scotland.  She has no idea how it happened or why it happened, but is determined to figure it out and in some way head back to1945.  Enter Jamie Fraser, a stubborn and extremely charismatic Scot who at first catches her eye, gains her friendship and then her heart.  Diana Gabaldon's epic novel has everything in it that automatically makes it to my "favorites" shelf. Outlander has a feisty heroine, an incredible love interest in Jamie Fraser, a fascinating setting of 1700s Scotland, and did I mention there's time travel? Gabaldon hit it out of the park on this one!

I loved Claire from the beginning of Outlander. I like that she is knowledgable, determined, and formidable.  I mean you would have to be to live in Scotland in the 1700s.  I know a lot of people had complaints about Claire because she "forgot" about Frank, her husband, but I didn't see it that way at all.  She went back in time and her husband didn't exist in the 1700s. What is she supposed to do? Become a hermit in the woods and consequently die?  Anyway, I didn't have a problem with her at all and was a big fan.

Jamie Fraser. Oh, man. He's the kind of book boyfriend I will always fall for.  Although I didn't always agree with his actions, I was a fan of him the moment readers meet him in Outlander. He's loyal, tough, good looking, and deep down, he's a good guy.  I really felt for him during various parts of Outlander, especially the cringeworthy ones towards the end. Poor Jamie.

So, those controversial moments in Outlander….if you read this book, you are probably wondering what I thought of them. Yes, I was annoyed that Gabaldon put some unnecessary (from my point of view) and controversial moments in Outlander, but I quickly got past them. I did have a hard time and found myself sort of cringing and getting frustrated, but overall, it didn't impact my enjoyment of the novel.  Outlander is violent, guys. It's violent, it's rough and it's crude. But it's 18th century Scotland. This isn't tea time at Highclere Castle.  So, with that said, it didn't bother me.  In fact, I felt it was similar to the sexuality and violence one would encounter in Game of Thrones, which I am also a fan of.

When I first encountered Outlander, it was on my "Book Lover's" calendar. (Yes, I am that nerdy.)  I thought OMG. Kilts, 18th century Scotland, romance, wars, castles, accents, and time travel? I knew it had all the ingredients to be my favorite kind of bookish cocktail.  And I was completely smitten with this book, despite the fact that it is one lengthy tome. Then I came across the trailer for the Outlander TV show coming to STARZ this summer and I completely fangirled. I can't wait! 

Will I be reading book two of the series, Dragonfly in Amber? Most definitely. It's another very long read, but hopefully I will find the time sooner than later. I can't wait to revisit Jamie and Claire's captivating world.

12 comments:

  1. Great review, Christina! It is true that this book isn't for everyone and there were some parts that bothered me but overall I did really like it. I am not sure if I will read the entire series. Something happens in a future book that really really bugs me. I didn't have a problem with the whole Claire/Jamie/Frank situation but I think it would be easier for people to deal with if Claire and Frank's marriage was more on the rocks.

    I agree that the violence and sexual content is similar to Game of Thrones, particularly the TV series. I do plan to check out the new Outlander TV series when it is on DVD. Hopefully the first episode will be free on the Starz website like it was for The White Queen.

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    1. Me too! OH NO! Something happens that really bugs you? Oh, great. I'm sure it will drive me nuts too. I completely agree about Claire/Frank--it would be easier if their relationship wasn't so great. Yes, I'm glad we agree about GoT regarding the similarities to the sexuality and violence. I think that is why I wasn't too shocked….I had heard that it could be violent/crude. I hope you can watch the show when it comes out! Thank you for visiting, Christina!

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  2. Welcome to the Outlander fold! I think you'll be quite surprised with the subsequent books in the series. There's a bit of "something for everyone" in them and while JAMMF is central it's Claire who is the heart of each and every one. Diana Gabaldon is incredibly good at weaving it all together...

    Oh, the fangirling...well, the world hasn't seen anything yet, until they see the Outlander fandom! Welcome, again!

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    1. Thanks, Marifel. I look forward to reading the rest of the books! Thank you for visiting!

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  3. Ah! I almost bought this book back when it was on sale for only $1.99 on Kindle. I really wish I had purchased it. It sounds incredible, and Claire seems like a wonderful MC. Maybe my library will have this one...

    Fabulous review!!

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    1. I definitely recommend it if you enjoy time travel, romance, historical fiction, action, etc, but you have to be ok with some violence and sexuality too---very Game of Thrones. Thanks for visiting, Lea!

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  4. Christine, so happy to have found you and your blog! Glad you enjoyed "Outlander" :) This is such an exciting time in *this* fandom in particular, because the series is being produced and because so many people involved with it are so engaged with the fans and so giving. Hope you continue with the series!

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    1. Thank you!! I am definitely getting excited for the TV show. Can't wait! I definitely plan on continuing with the series. Thank you for visiting.

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  5. Huh. For some reason I thought Outlander was like a Lord of the Rings type of book. I didn't have a clue this was a time-traveling romance. It sounds really intriguing, but I cannot even imagine trying to squeeze a 1000 page book into my reading schedule right now, especially one that is part of the series. Starz is the only premium channel I get, though, so I will definitely be watching the series when it airs...and now I'll know what to expect and won't be waiting for elves and dwarves to show up. Lol. Great review!

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    1. It was more Game of Throne-ish than Lord of the Rings..it's really only a fantasy/sci-fic in that there's time travel, but that is it. No fairies or trolls. :) I hope you get to read it though -- it's awesome….but it is long, so you have to make time for it! Thanks for visiting, Natalie!

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  6. Oooh! I think I should check this one out! I'm not big on violence, but since you loved it, then maybe I will too. And I'm all about the Starz TV shows! :D Almost 900 pages - this is one I'll have to buy for my e-reader!

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    1. If you can handle the violence in Game of Thrones, then I think you should be ok with this book. Yes!! It will be on Starz….hopefully it will fill my White Queen void. Thanks for dropping by, Leanna!

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