Sunday, June 22, 2008

Deliciously Outlander!

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Publisher: Delta (August 10, 1998)
Series: The Outlander Seies, 1
Genre: Time Travel/Historical Romance

Unrivaled storytelling ... unforgettable characters ... rich historical detail ... these are the hallmarks of Diana Gabaldon's work. Her New York Times bestselling Outlander novels have earned the praise of critics and captured millions of readers.

Here is the story that started it all, introducing two remarkable characters, Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser, in a spellbinding novel of passion and history that combines exhilarating adventure with a love story for the ages....

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.

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My Review:

In the two years that I have been devouring romance novels, I have come across the book Outlander many times, whether it was while searching for romance books on Barnes and Nobles, talking on LibraryThing, or simply listening to friend's recommendations. But for some unknown reason, I never picked it up. Oh sure, I always told myself--or the friends telling me to read it-- that I'd put in on my TBR lis, but I honestly never thought I would. I coudn't tell you why I didn't. After I've read it, I'm even more confused as to why I've never read the series before! I've tried going through different reasons. Was it because it was about time travel? No, I don't mind this theme. Was it because it was in Scotland? Once again, no, I love this location for a romance novel. Was it because of the title/cover? Honestly, I hate to say this, but this is possible. I have the unfortunate problem of sometimes judging a book by it's cover. If the name doesn't reach out and grab my attention, and the cover fails to also, I probably won't even pick it up and turn it over to read the summary. I regret this sometimes, like now, and I wish I could prevent myself from doing this...

But now that I have read it, I now know the reasons why everyone else has picked it up and loved it. It has a lush location, one that brings to mind strong, brawny men and rugged terrain. It is set in two different time periods, each one unique. It has it's moments of sweet sigh-and-wish-that-was-you romance along with it's more steamy, wild ones. It has a great plotline that does not simply revolve around the romance. It's more than that. It has plenty of spots of historical accuracy, which I didn't mind, though some have said that they might have liked it better it she had put less in there.

And then there is Jamie Fraser, the blushing virgin Highlander with a big heart-- among other things. ;) Like many other Outlander lovers, I feel in love with Jamie from the very start. What's not to love? He's innocent, but not so much so that he doesn't know what he wants. He's caring, though, yes, he does have his moments when he is slightly more callous. He was funny, yet serious. He was hard, yet soft. He was wild, yet gentle. And most importantly, he was a Highlander from the 1740's! (Okay, so maybe this is only the most important thing to me, because for the longest time, I've always wanted to have a good looking brawny Highlander from centuries past....*SIGH* They just don't make them like that anymore...)
Do I wish that Diana had made the love scense slightly more explicit/longer? Sure, at times I did. But the thing is, that was simply something I would have enjoyed, as a side dish, sort of speak. But unlike other books, that are so lacking in the writing/plot area that the author and reader both feel it needs more sex scenes to keep your attention *which isn't always bad....*, Outlander did not NEED it. Some of us may not have MINDED more, but it was not needed because it was more than satisfying as is.

Unlike some romances that seem to have little to no true plot line to back them up, Outlander has one that is to die for. Diana Gabaldon has an amazing talent-- the talent to be able to weave together a spectacular story, filled with more than just romance, and yet less than simple straight fiction. She combines the best of both worlds, and you love them both. She tells the story from Claire's point of view so smoothly that from the start, you find yourself not simply reading a book, but instead actually following Claire through the whole thing, as if you were but a few steps behind her! Very few authors take this plunge and write a romance novel from first person, and of those, even fewer can actually pull it off well. Diana has no problem with this. There is only one suggestion I have about the way Outlande was written, and it's not really to say that it was not written well--quiet the opposite, in fact. I would simply have loved to have heard Jamie's version of this wonderful story also.  I loved it from Claire's perspective, don't get me wrong! I just think that it would very interesting to read the same story from Jamie's.

Outlander reminds you what a book from the genre 'romance' is truly suppose to do for the reader. A romance book is meant to make you fantasize, to want, sigh over and dream about. Some of the books published under this genre lately have not accomplished that for me. Outlander does all of that and more. Through all of the roadblocks and troubles that both Claire and Jamie have in their own personal lives, they still manage, in the end, to stay together, making each other stronger, and showing their love for each other in new and unique ways.It's the little things, as people say, that matter most. And Jamie and Claire prove this, time and again. How many other romance H/H's do you know of that have to deal with: clan wars, being followed constantly by soldiers who will not hesitate to capture--or kill, having a price on their head, being tried as a witch, seeing death all around them, captured multiple times, tortured so much it makes the the reader physically and emotionally feel their pain, being so ill he was practically on his death bed, nightmares that we couldn't even begin to imagine, overcome rape, and, let's not forget, come from two different times and still be together, even stronger, in the end? True, there were plenty of rough spots along the way, but the thing is, they made it. What says 'romance' more than all of that?

By the end of Outlander, I was a jumbled mass of emotions. I was happy, because they were both together again; upset, because I knew, deep down, that it wouldn't last forever *or at least, not without periods of them being apart, not because they were having troubles, but for the obvious--she's from 200 years in the future...*; devistated, after hearing all of what Jamie had been through with the horrible Captain; and anxious to know what happens next. Not many books, especially romance books, can really do that for you. Oh sure, some leave you with many emotions at the end: confused, upset, and empty. But those are not the emotions you want a book to make you feel.

After years of putting it off, I now regret the wait. I do NOT, however, regret reading the book. I now plan on going to B&N and buying all 6 books in the Outlander Series. I can now join the hundreds of Outlander fans out there who are impatiently awaiting her 7th book. And did I mention that I loved how thick they are? Very few truly great books can be covered in less than 400 pages, yet so many authors cram it all into 250-300 pages. Sometimes this works out well, mostly it does not. Diana goes beyond, which I am happy for. Hey, if the book is over 500 pages, it's for me!

As if my gushy review did not say it enough, I am giving Outlander-- and the rest of the series-- 5/5 stars and a place on my 'One of my Favorite' list. Thought it is too hard to rank that list, I do know for certain that Outlander is easily towards, if not at, the very top. If I could give it 10/5 stars, I would. If you haven't read this phenomenal series yet, run, don't walk, to your local library/bookstore and get them--I promise, you will not regret it! If you have already read it, you already knew everything I've told you, but hopefully you enjoyed it anyway, and are willing to welcome me into the 'group'. :)

Hungry for more, I am now starting Firefly in Amber. I now have a new obsession *or two, actually*: the Outlander series and Jamie Fraser.

Since I can't sooth my itch for the second obsession *At least not the way I'd like...Dang!* I'll just have to go and work on the first one.

I bought this book and chose to review it.


Until Next Time,
*TBQ's Book Palace is a member of both the Amazon and Barnes and Nobles affiliates program. By using the links provided to buy products from either website, I receive a very small percentage of the order. To read my full disclosure on the matter, please see this post!

1 comment :

DBookWhore said...

I don't think yours is bad at all!! You at least had details!