Outlander

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Outlander
by Diana Gabaldon
★★

A nurse, Claire Randall, is vacationing in Scotland with her husband Frank in 1945. While hiking around some ancient stones, she touches one and is transported to 1743. Trapped 200 years in the past, Claire must learn how to survive in the midst of the feuding English and Scottish. After meeting a Scottish warrior, Jamie Fraser, her life becomes even more complicated.

I really struggled with this one and it’s suppose to be a “fun” book. It’s a bit of time-travel and a bit of historical fiction, two things I really enjoy. It also has a big dose of romance thrown in and that’s not really my thing, but so many people love this series that I thought I’d give it a shot. I read the first 200 pages and just couldn’t get into it. Finally I made it to the middle and took Sandy’s suggestion to listen to the audio instead. Honestly, that’s the reason I finished the book. The audio version helped and I enjoyed it a bit more.

**Spoilers ahead, don’t read if you plan on checking this book out**

Here’s the thing, I just felt myself rolling my eyes over and over again. Claire is wrestling a wolf, really? Everyone is trying to rape Jamie and no one seems to think that’s a problem? Every few minutes someone seems to get kidnapped or thrown in prison or attacked in some way or another. Wait, what’s that? Oh, it’s the Loch Ness Monster… seriously, I’m not kidding.

The only part of the book I really connected with was the section where we meet Jamie’s sister. Everything calms down a bit and we get some time to stop worrying about who is about to be beaten next.

**SPOILERS OVER**

So, all-in-all, I’m glad I finished it, because now I know what all the fuss is about.I won’t be reading the rest of the series anytime soon though, it’s just not for me. Maybe if I’d started it a few years ago, maybe if I hadn’t become so spoiled by excellent writing recently, who knows. It’s certainly not the worse thing I’ve ever read and I do understand the appeal. If you love romance, have a stomach for some brutal descriptions of violence, this one might be for you, but it was a miss for me.

19 comments:

Jillian said...

I 100% agree, and I only made it to page 50! I never quit books, but I couldn't finish this one. People keep telling me it gets better after 100 pages. Apparently not. (I do think it's because I'm spoiled by what I've been reading for the past two years. I'm afraid Outlander just doesn't compare. A part of me wants to finish it one day, though, just to see if I'm wrong...

Kristi said...

I think I made it about 100 pages before I quit. I just couldn't get into it. I'm glad I'm not the only one. Per your review, I probably won't try again. I'm not big into romance, or historical fiction. Sorry it didn't work for you.

Jeanne said...

This title is in our "Lie-brary" game, and the first lines we made up for it are so much more appealing than the real first line!

Sandy Nawrot said...

I think I got through four books in this series and got burnout. Good Lord the audios, while very very good, are between 30 and 50 discs long! There is a lot of sex and even beyond that, rough sex. But I did really enjoy this book overall. Love time travel, love Jamie. Who knows if I will ever finish the series though.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Jillian - I have such a hard time giving up on books. I don't know why. I think it's the OCD part of my brain that says I have to finish what I start. Plus, so many people love this series, but it's just not for me.

Kristi - Definitely skip it. It doesn't sound like something you'd like and if the first bit didn't hook you, it's not worth slugging through.

Jeanne - I've never heard of that game. I'll have to check it out.

Sandy - If you hadn't suggested the audio version, I don't think I would have finished it.

Allie said...

I read the first 6 books (there are 7 out now), a few months before I began my project. While there were scenes that I thought were ridiculous, I enjoyed them overall (I will say the the 6th book gets ridiculous...just crazy).

I might try and read them again when the whole series is finished to see what happens, but I don't think I'll enjoy them as much as I did. My literary diet as changed.

Natalie~Coffee and a Book Chick said...

I picked this book up because my writing teacher from a few years ago strongly encouraged me to and felt that I would just love it. I ended up HATING IT, which I felt horrible about. I couldn't get into it, thought the romance was extreme, and was so annoyed with the end, that I just knew I couldn't pick up the second book at all. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who didn't like this one, I thought I was for the longest time!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Allie - "My literary diet as changed." That's exactly it. I think that I might have enjoyed these a couple years ago, but you described it perfectly. It's hard to go back once your literary diet has changed.

Natalie - Oh man, I'm so glad I'm not alone on this one. There were so many parts of the book that annoyed me.

Kailana said...

See, I enjoyed this book, but I still have never felt a big desire to read on in the series... Instead I have read this book twice. I'm strange...

Carl V. said...

I had always thought this was a big "must read" novel, but yours is not the first of recent reviews I've read where readers were not impressed at all. I wonder if it was just a bigger deal at the time? Sorry you didn't enjoy it and surprised you kept slogging through it. I'm not that loyal to books. If it doesn't grab me early enough then I am on to something else.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Kailana - That's funny. Usually if I like the first book in a series I want to read the whole thing.

Carl V. - I had heard the same thing about it. I gave up on it after 200 pages back in February, but I gave it another chance in December because I thought maybe I just wasn't in the mood for it.

nomadreader said...

Well that doesn't inspire me to actually pick up this series! I'm still somewhat curious, as like you I enjoy time travel and historical fiction but do not adore romance. I'll take your advice and consider the audio. I sometimes like rolling my eyes while working out!

Jenners said...

I've considered trying this for the exact reason you said: so many people seem gaga about it. But I've held off because it seems like such a big commitment. Now that I've read your review, I'm not all that interested anymore. So thanks for saving me like … 1,000 hours of reading!

Captain Nick Sparrow said...

I read Outlander with a group on LT last year. I liked it like I like Chick Lit, enjoyable but not worth keeping. The amount of violence against Claire was my biggest issue. Getting whipped with a belt by your husband? Hmm.

Anonymous said...

As I told you before it was definitely hard for me to get into the first book. Once I did I felt strongly attached to Claire and Jamie and it's difficult for me to give up on a book once I've become so invested in the characters. I'm on book three right now and it's slow going. Obviously not the best series of books I've read, but I have enjoyed the historical facts and the enduring love story that come with reading this series. You're right, the violence is ridiculous, and in my opinion completely unnecessary for the storyline in a lot of cases. Sorry it was a miss for you! xo Care

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

nomadreader - The audio worked much better for me. I hope it works for you too!

Jenners - Absolutely, some books just aren't worth the effort if you aren't really excited about them.

Captain - Yes, what was that about?!? Ok, your husband is going to beat you, but he's doing it because he loves you. You'll fight him while he's doing it, but you'll laugh about it later. Not cool.

Care - No worries, you can't win them all. I'm glad you're still enjoying the series. I definitely see the appeal of it and I think that's why I kept trying to make it work for me.

bibliophilica said...

Yeah, this was a tough one for me too. The person who recommended it to me was so gaga about I had to give it a try. Probably the "horniest" characters I've ever read about. Then it really, really lost me down the home stretch. I finished it but don't see myself reading the others.

-Jay

Shelley said...

I made it about halfway through this one before I finally quit. It's hard for me to not finish a book, but it just didn't seem worth the time. I've considered trying to listen to audio to see if I would change my mind, but I probably wouldn't. I'll have to find another good source of Scottish historical fiction, with a little less romance tied to it. Not my thing.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

bibliophilica - Yes, it just seemed to get worse. It's hard when it's someone else's favorite book. You want to like it so much.

Shelley - Nope, if you didn't like it halfway through, I don't think you would have changed your mind.