narfna’s #CBR5 Review #104: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

outlanderWell . . . that was certainly an experience. Parts of it I LOVED and parts of it were SO WEIRD I didn’t even know what to do with myself.

It’s clear that Gabaldon pretty much wrote whatever the hell she wanted to, ignoring a lot of steadfast  “rules” in the process. The result of this is a book that could fit into dozens of different genres, and that contains dozens of scenes that make you go “wait, did she just write that?”

For those of you not familiar (and I’m betting there are still some of you out there), Outlander is the first book in Diana Gabaldon’s titular series about a nurse from World War II-era England who travels back in time two hundred years to Scotland, and among other things, is accused of being a witch, becomes a healer, is forced to marry a handsome young Scot, and deal with a psychopathic Englishman, all the while dealing with her reduced freedoms as a woman and navigating both the smaller and larger political and historical issues that she alone knows are coming.

It’s a long book, and it’s hard to describe. Even if you think you have a pretty good idea of what to expect, I guarantee there will be at least once scene you won’t see coming at all, and more than one that will make you need to put the book down, like under your pillow or in a freezer or somewhere else that is safe and away from you while you alternatively cool down/stop being weirded out/insert overextended emotion here. It’s a romance, and an extremely well-researched historical novel. And it’s speculative, and a bunch of other shit as well.

And I enjoyed it. And I was weirded out by it. And it made me need to go take a cold shower.

The most notable thing about it, of course, is the central romance between our time-traveling heroine Claire and young Scottish virgin, Jamie Fraser, which was extremely swoonworthy, excepting one notable scene involving corporal punishment. I realize Gabaldon needed to have Jamie conform to time-specific ideas about male/female relationships, but I really think I needed to see Claire be more vocal about refusing to be subjected to anything like that in the future, and I needed to see Jamie agree. The scene at the end with Jamie and Randall was . . . interesting. And I’m still not entirely sure what the point of all of it was.

Also, there was probably more sex in this book than in any other book I’ve ever read. Just . . . there’s so much of it. So, so much of it. I kind of wish she’d been a little more spare with it, because after the first three or four times so close together, the scenes sort of began to lose their spark.

Anyway, I’ll definitely be continuing with this series, but probably not until after the first season of the TV show airs on Starz next year. I’m very much looking forward to seeing what Ron Moore can do with this story (and with it being on Starz, I’m sure the sex scenes will get their due as well).

And with that, I have finished my Double Cannonball goal for the year, and so now I shall go collapse into my bed and not wake up until Thursday.

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Malin’s #CBR5 Review #121: Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon

This is the fourth book in the epic Outlander series, and I really wouldn’t recommend it as a starting point (as things won’t make a whole load of sense if you begin reading there). Obviously, this review may also contain spoilers both for earlier books in the series, as well as this one, so skip it if you want to avoid such things.

James Fraser and his time traveller wife Claire, have rescued their nephew Ian Murray from the kidnappers who took him to the Caribbean and are now in America, ready to start a new life away from the Scottish highlands. After a period accepting the hospitality of Jamie’s aunt Jocasta, Jamie accepts a land grant from the governor of North Carolina, which he agrees to settle and find tenants for. Having had most of their fortune (a cache of precious gems), being robbed by river pirates, they’re unable to ship Ian back to his family, but Ian’s quite happy living in the woods of America, befriending the natives and settling the land with his uncle. Jamie finally gets to meet his daughter, when Brianna, having discovered in an old historical document that the Frasers are going to die in a fire in 1776, goes back in time to Scotland and takes a ship to America to find them and warn them. She is followed by historian Roger MacKenzie Wakefield, who wants to marry her.

Of course there is all manner of intrigue and complication – river pirates who rob and rape, murders, hernias, bear attacks, a surprise visit from Lord John Grey (one of my favourite supporting characters in the series) and his stepson, an epidemic of measles, inconvenient pregnancies, a paternity mystery, people being beaten to a pulp and sold to Indians, quests to get said individuals back from the Indians, and so forth. Full review on my blog.

Captain Tuttle’s #CBR5 Review #3 – Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

I read this book years ago, and didn’t realize that it was the beginning of a series. I’ve heard/seen a few others talking about the whole Outlander thing, and coincidentally found my original paperback copy, which promptly fell apart when I opened it. Luckily I figured out how to do the library book on the Kindle thing, so I was pretty happy about that.

It’s a romance/time travel/historical novel. We start with Claire and Frank, reconnecting after WW2 by re-honeymooning in Scotland. She was a nurse, and is interested in plants and herbal remedies (remember that for later). She goes exploring, and steps through the rocks of a henge. Instead of just walking through, she hears weird sounds, and ends up 200 years in the past. She (coincidentally?) encounters her husband’s ancestor, who’s not such a nice guy; then she falls in with a bunch of Scots.

Claire acts and talks like a modern woman, and uses her medical/herbal knowledge to help people out, including young and studly Jamie Fraser. They fall for each other, and oh my goodness, do they have lots of the sex. Gabaldon gets pretty detailed with the naughty bits. Claire and Jamie go from peril to sex to peril to sex, and back to peril again. It gets pretty tedious after a while, and it’s an awfully long book, but I figured I was in for a penny, in for a pound.

Outlander is not an un-put-downable book, but it’s plenty serviceable, especially if you like the romance aspect of it. The historical element is interesting as well – Gabaldon also gets pretty detailed about life in 18th century Scotland. I had to look up a few things, just to make sure I understood what was going on. If a book makes me want to look something up, then it’s ok in my books (so to speak).