tmoney’s #CBR5 Review #1: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

I’m an avid reader and member of several book clubs, but it took a recommendation from a friend for me to read Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I had never heard of the series, but the same friend had told me to read Gone Girl, so I downloaded the book onto my Kindle, not really aware of the length of the darn thing.

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That’s the biggest impression I took away from Outlander-the length. The book is 850 pages, and it would have been a great book, had an editor existed in any way. Much like most movies that are two and a half hours long and should be two hours, this book could have been 600 pages and still told a really unique story.

Outlander is the story of Claire Randall, a British nurse from World War II, who visits Scotland with her husband, Frank Randall, on their second honeymoon after the war in 1945. Her husband is a decent guy, but he’s obsessed with his heritage and doesn’t inspire a lot of passion from either Claire or the reader. Claire and Frank decide to go traipsing about the land and end up in a stone circle. She touches one of the stones and is transported back to 1743.

That is pretty much the only fantasy part of the book, so don’t worry if fantasy really isn’t your thing, this is a romance novel that happens to have a bit of time travel thrown in. Claire is unfortunate enough to meet up with her husband’s ancestor, an awful man, but she is saved by James Fraser (Jaime) who is everything a girl could want in a Scottish Highlander, all broad shoulders and gleaming red hair. However, he happens to be a 23-year-old virgin who is covered in whipping scars and tends to enjoy pain a little too much. Jaime and Claire have a cute sparring relationship that turns into more, until Claire has to decide whether to stay in 1793 or go back to her real life and her husband.

Along the way, there is a witch (or is she?), a castle full of interesting people, disgusting descriptions of illnesses and injuries, and two characters that you grow to care about. However, I will warn you that if you are looking for well-written love scenes, this is not the book for you, as they are plentiful, but not very sexy. There is also a long meditation on God’s love and a prolonged gay-rape scene that is incredibly uncomfortable to read. Both scenes, which are very long indeed, do nothing to help develop characterization or move the plot.

Overall, I don’t plan on reading the rest of the series, not only because they are really long books, but also because I just don’t care anymore what happens to Claire.

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6 thoughts on “tmoney’s #CBR5 Review #1: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

  1. And you have talked me out of the book!
    I have started reading some historical fiction as of late and I like it, however, the fantasy part is not my thing…I think I got all I needed from the 1 page review…even 599 more pages would be too much for me to deal with let alone the 849 that are actually there!

  2. My Psych of Women teacher talked this book up to me, telling me it was awesome feminist historical fiction….

    …I read it, and though, or not

  3. You’re right, of course: It is a giant romance novel long on historical detail, graphic descriptions, and with a tendency towards the Perils of Pauline. People seem to love it or hate it. Unlike you, I loved it. It’s not a great work of literature, but I found it a fun adventure story (horrifying rape scene excepted) and I did want to know what happened to Claire, and more importantly, to Jamie. Och, Jamie. I read ALL of the books in one fell swoop (and reviewed them for CBR IV), and I will read the 8th one when it comes out.

    On Facebook, the Pajibans have established a group page for fans called Je Suis Pajiba should anyone be interested.

  4. Anyone who premises their review on how many pages a book is shouldn’t be doing book reviews in the first place. Your “review” read like a 7th grade book report. Your uninspired and infantile reasoning was quite stupid, frankly. Obviously, “big” books are too much for you. What are you an avid reader of, exactly? Comic books? Do yourself a favor and leave book reviews to people who actually can handle reading books more than 500 pages.

    • Alexis – there’s no need to be rude about this review. The Cannonball Read is a volunteer effort to read and review 52 books in a year – check out the About page above to see why we’re doing this. Just because someone prefers shorter books and says so, is no reason to jump down their throat. tmoney didn’t like the book, but she put herself out there with her review and honestly said why. If you think you can do better, then I invite you to join us next year for Cannonball Read 6, so you can see for yourself how easy it is to read and review 52 books in a year.

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