Thursday, March 27, 2014

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Published June 1992 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: downloaded to my Nook

Publisher's Summary:
Claire Randall is leading a double life. She has a husband in one century, and a lover in another...

In 1945, Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon—when she innocently touches a boulder 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 border clans in the year of our Lord...1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire's destiny in soon inextricably intertwined with Clan MacKenzie and the forbidden Castle Leoch. She is catapulted without warning into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life ...and shatter her heart. For here, James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a passion so fierce and a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire...and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

Her husband is two centuries away, she is related to her lover's mortal enemy, and her neighbors think she's a witch.

My Thoughts:
Sometimes I stumble across a book and pick it up because I'm drawn into it by the publisher's blurb alone. Sometimes I'll read a book because I get caught up in all of the buzz about it. And then there's Outlander which I was forced (yes, forced!) to read. I'm looking at you, Cheryl.

Clan MacKenzie Crest
I had never heard of this series until I started blogging and two things about it immediately put me off: time travel and the fact that it was part of a series that, at that time, was six novels and over 7000 pages long. I had no intention of starting something that might suck me into that much of a commitment.

But some people are persistent and when I found it was a Nook Daily Deal for only a couple of bucks, I bought it. A Goodreads readalong scheduled for February and March convinced me to read it sooner rather than later.

Soooo....yeah, after 764 pages, I'm not really sure how I feel about Outlander.

On the one hand, it turned out that the time travel thing didn't really bother me (although I think it might if I continued with the series). In fact, I enjoyed seeing how Claire juggled her modern sensibilities and medical knowledge with the knowledge that she couldn't let the truth about where she came from be known. Certainly it is a rollicking adventure, filled with intrigue, narrow escapes, very bad guys, and lots and lots of sex (frankly, well more of it than I needed to read about but which I know a lot of people really enjoy about this book!).

Clan MacKenzie tartan
What held me back, then, from thoroughly enjoying Outlander? The violence and brutality. I know, I know, it was a much different time and place. Still, three attempted rapes on the same character seemed excessive to me. And when Jaime literally beats Claire to teach her a lesson, my feminist hackles were raised, especially when she forgave him and he admitted to being turned on by it. Later he even says to her "...dinna suppose anyone's tried to hurt ye on purpose before, Sassenach." What??? He had just don't exactly that earlier! Don't even get me started on all of the brutality inflicted on Jaime. And every bit of every scene of violence is told with excoriating detail, including what it takes to try to mend the damage. It began to feel more than a little gratuitous to me.

The question now becomes, will I continue the series? You know by now that I'm not good about reading series any way, so even if I had loved this book, the chances are good that I never will pick up Dragonfly In Amber (the second book in the series). But...there's a part of me that really does want to see how Claire deals with the dilemma of changing the past and her own past (which is actually the future). And will she ever go back to Frank, her first husband? I suppose it comes down to this - if Dragonfly In Amber shows up as a Nook Daily Deal or on Barnes and Noble's clearance shelves or someone puts a copy in my hand, yes, I'll read it.

What might make me change my mind? The upcoming Starz series by the same name. The scenery, sets and casting look great and I'm a sucker for anything set in Scotland. Heck, the actor playing both Jack and Frank Randall even comes from the same clan as my ancestors. Now I just have to talk The Big Guy into paying the extra for the Starz channels!


  1. I loved this book as it was my first venture into time travel.

  2. That scene has caused lots of discussions over the years! This is one of my favourites, at least the early books, so I really hope the series is fantastic so that we can get the later books made as well!

  3. Very good review. I am not reading on. :D

  4. I felt like the book was a glorified bodice ripper. Too much about how he made her hot and not enough substance, plot, etc. I really expected more, considering so many people liked it.

  5. I don't like time travel either. Violence and brutality don't sit well with me either.

    THANKS for your honest review.

    I think I will pass. :)

    Silver's Reviews
    My Blog

  6. I have friends who have been pushing and pushing me to read these books for years now. I have yet to relent, and for much of the reasons you describe in your review. I just can't bring myself to be interested in the books. I may watch the series when it comes out on DVD. Maybe.

  7. This is one of those books that I've always felt like I need to read because everyone's read it but I think you just confirmed my desire to skip it!

  8. Well if you wait a few years, I'm sure the STARZ series will be out on DVD! :--)

  9. I like a good romance every now and then but one that's over 700 pages? I don't know. And the violence? Hmmm. I don't think this is my cup of tea! Good for you for getting through it! ;)

  10. I like a good romance every now and then but one that's over 700 pages? Probably not. And the violence and her forgiving him? Meh. But good for you for getting through it! But having it on TV might make me at least watch it! ;)

  11. I enjoyed rereading Outlander with the Tuesday Book Talk group on GoodReads. It was my third time, and I think maybe I liked it best this time through because I knew what was coming and so wasn't as shocked as the first time through. I have to say that like Outlander or not, Gabaldon is one heck of a storyteller. FYI--book three, Voyager is my favorite of the series.

  12. I must still read Outlander. Thanks for the reminder

  13. I've been on the fence with this book/series, too. I tried the audio many years ago, but couldn't get interested. When the NOOK deal popped up, I went ahead and got it. Now to see if and when I ever get around to reading it. Just finished a chunkster (600 pages of East of Eden), so it may be a while. I need some quick brain candy!

  14. I enjoyed the review! Definitely not my type of reading, but I'm sure it might appeal to those who enjoy time travel novels and Scotland.