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Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

outlander

Click to visit Diana Gabaldon’s website.

Wow, it took me two months to read Outlander! Even though I loved the story, I needed to take frequent breaks from the book; possibly because it’s over 800 pages long. But even when I wasn’t reading the book, I would think of it fondly, referring to it in my head as “Claire and Jamie”. I would say to myself, “I wonder what Claire and Jamie are doing today?” because I felt that close to the story.

* CONTAINS SPOILERS

THE STORY
Reunited at the end of World War II, Claire Randall and her husband, Frank, visit Scotland for a second honeymoon and so Frank can research his ancestor, Black Jack Randall. After secretly witnessing a pagan ritual at Craigh na Dun, Claire returns to collect a plant only to faint upon hearing a strange noise emanating from the stones. When she opens her eyes, she finds herself in the middle of a fight between English red coats and a group of fugitive Scotsmen. One of the Scotsmen rescues her from the clutches of Frank’s ancestor, Captain Jack Randall, whom she instantly recognizes. Claire pays back the favour by treating Jamie Fraser, a young Scot who has dislocated his arm. The clansmen think Claire is an English spy and take her to Castle Leoch, their home ruled by laird Colum MacKenzie. At the castle, Claire is plunged into the politics of castle life, but finds a role as a healer. While she is still treating his injuries, Claire and Jamie develop a friendship and he educates her on the history of the clan. Still considered suspicious by both the MacKenzies and Jack Randall, and under constant threat of danger, Claire reluctantly marries Jamie in order to become a legal Scotswoman and alleviate some of the mistrust. Once married, Claire and Jamie discover an unexpected, but delirious passion and love for each other that could possibly be one of the sexiest literary romances EVER.

THE GOOD
Outlander is an exhilarating adventure right from the start. I became completely absorbed by how Claire adapted to her new life in 18th century Scotland. Diana Gabaldon is a former academic and at the event I saw her at in June, she explained how heavily she conducted research before and during the writing process. As a result, the story is so rich with details, you can’t help being carried away to the highlands with Claire. Outlander has everything I would have thought I would want in a good book: adventure, politics, history, the supernatural, romance, sex and laughs. Except …

THE BAD
Outlander is SO long … and a little repetitive. At times, the plot seemed to consist of: Jamie rescues Claire. We learn about Jamie’s family history. Claire rescues Jamie. He says something gushingly romantic and they do it. Repeat. — After about 600 pages, I lost the wind in my sails and wasn’t able to find my momentum again.

CONCLUSION
Outlander is positively one of the most enjoyable books I read this year. On her website, Diana says she used to tell people that if they could put down Outlander after reading three pages, she would pay them a dollar, but she never lost on that bet! Heck, I’ll give you the dollar if you don’t like Outlander, but I’m pretty confident most readers will enjoy this book. Just keep in mind it’s not a literary masterpiece, but a delicious historical romp. I’m hesitant about whether to read the next seven(!) books in the series, but I am definitely checking out the TV series that premieres in August.

4.5/5 Stars

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22 comments on “Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

  1. janceewright
    July 24, 2014

    I love Outlander. I first read it in high school and completely fell in love. For a while, I was that obsessive fangirl who wouldn’t shut up about Jamie. It’s been a while, and I can’t remember what book I got to, so I probably need to reread sometime soon.

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      July 24, 2014

      Well, there are quite a few books which intimidates me about continuing the series. I definitely understand why women are hot for Jamie, but I think I need to see a real live action Jamie to feel that pull of attraction. Are you planning to watch the TV series?

      Like

      • janceewright
        July 24, 2014

        I don’t have Starz, so probably not at first. If/when it comes out on DVD/Bluray, I probably won’t be able to resist picking it up.

        Like

  2. Marianne
    July 24, 2014

    If you want another fun historical romp one day, try Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor. 🙂

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      July 24, 2014

      Thanks for the suggestion! I feel like I know Kathleen Winsor, but I will have to look her up.

      Like

  3. Julie
    July 24, 2014

    You need to read the Outlander series in bits and pieces. When I started I read about 1 every 6 – 9 months. A break is needed between them. Now that I’m caught up (except for the newest one) I’ve had to wait the requisite couple of years. They are not quick reads and are an undertaking. Even after all these books I’m still confused about a lot of the historical things she talks about (the Jacobites etc)…but I do not consider those integral to the story so I tend to skim. But I do like her character development and unlike Game of Thrones aren’t killed off too quickly! In addition to Claire and Jamie it’s easy to get attached to the other characters too. Take a break and pick up the second book in the new year. You won’t regret it…I promise!

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    • ebookclassics
      July 24, 2014

      Okay, I guess I could do that because I would like to know what happens … but I was planning to start Game of Thrones, so that would be two epic 1000+ page series to read. Aahhh!

      Like

  4. Another Book Blog
    July 24, 2014

    Do you think this is something a male reader could get into?

    Like

    • Naomi
      July 24, 2014

      You should try it, and let us know! It would be fun to have a man’s perspective on it!

      Like

      • Another Book Blog
        July 24, 2014

        I’d be tempted but that’s a long haul haha

        Like

        • ebookclassics
          July 24, 2014

          Yes, try it! … maybe slowly like me. I think some of the things that might appeal to a male reader are the historical and political details of the time period. I actually enjoyed how much fighting with swords and guns, rescues and escapes is in the book.

          Like

    • Carolyn O
      July 24, 2014

      Yep.

      Like

  5. Naomi
    July 24, 2014

    I love your review- it made me laugh! I still have not read this, probably because of the length and the fact that it is a series. I worry that it would take up the next several months of my life, so I have avoided it. But, it’s good to know that you didn’t seem to have a problem putting it down for a while, then picking up where you left off. I think I would really like the historical stuff. And, from what I have heard, I might also like Jamie.. 🙂

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      July 24, 2014

      Ha ha, at least read it for Jamie. 🙂 I think you would be okay reading the first book and learning the origins of the story. Reading the whole series is a bit of a commitment. I don’t think I’m going to make a decision any time soon.

      Like

  6. Ngan R.
    July 24, 2014

    Thanks for the review! I was undecided about starting this because of the length but it seems like your perseverance paid off in enjoyment. Your review made me laugh, too.

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      July 25, 2014

      Thank you! The book is long, but I think it’s definitely worth it. I also think you would be okay just reading the first book to understand the origins of the series.

      Like

      • Ngan R.
        July 25, 2014

        Yes, maybe I’ll read just the first one, since I’m not sure I could read all the books in the series!

        Like

  7. lauratfrey
    July 30, 2014

    You inspired me to start reading. There are quite a few eye-roll moments for me, but, the writing is strong enough that it’s still a lot of fun. I am snarking on it on Goodreads but good-naturedly 🙂

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      July 30, 2014

      I laughed when I saw your comment on Goodreads, but it’s so true. I agree the book is really well written, but it often sinks into trashy novel territory. And I know everyone loves Jamie, but he’s a little too perfect, I think. Can’t wait to hear your final verdict!

      Like

  8. Ekaterina
    August 1, 2014

    Haha, funny part about the dollar! Now I’m owed two: from you and Diana 😀 But I agree the research was very thorough.

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      August 1, 2014

      Oops! I’ll write to Diana and ask her to send you $2 (surely she can spot me a buck). Have you tried reading any other books in the series?

      Like

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