Outlander

Author: Diana Gabaldon
Series: Outlander #1
Rating: 3.5 / 5 stars
Verdict: Borrow

Full disclosure, I tend to cringe when I hear the words “historical romance novel”.  It brings to mind steamy novels with no plot and no real purpose other than written porn.  That being said, I love historical novels, especially medieval era novels.  So Highlanders in kilts running around the Scottish hillside fighting with the Brits and talking in funny accents while they slash their swords at each other?  Um, YES PLEASE.

I actually saw the first (half of the first) season of this show before picking up the novel or having any idea what the premise was.  I found the soundtrack on Amazon Prime while searching for Bear McCreary and saw the cover of a guy in a kilt and a gal in a pretty dress and decided why yes, I need to watch this.  And so it went.

This book took me for bloody ever to read.  It’s one of the longest books I’ve ever read and even though I knew the premise of the plot by watching the television show first, it’s a difficult book to speed read because I love the accents (or at least how I pronounce them in my head).  There is quite a bit of sex in this novel, and those parts I was able to speed read though for the most part they aren’t too lengthy.  I think my fundamental issue is that there is all this other stuff going on!  Jamie is trying to prove that he did not commit the crime he was charged with so that the price on his head can be nullified.  Some of them are working secretly trying to overthrow the crown.  Claire is trying to figure out how to get back home to Frank.  And the Brits are constantly stirring up trouble.  And yet everyone is bonking like rabbits!  Seems like they ought to be a little more concerned about the other matters on hand.  But I guess it was the time period.  When you live your life everyday not knowing if you’ll see the sun tomorrow, you’ll take what you can get, thank you very much.

Copious amounts of sex aside, I rather enjoyed Outlander.  Jamie is equally parts totally adorable and utterly frustrating.  I feel for Claire as she’s dealing with him on almost a daily basis.  And even the minor characters in the novel are engaging and likable.  Claire is a strong, independent woman not afraid to take care of herself and stand up for herself.  A wartime nurse, she brings a lot of knowledge and talent to her character and makes me grateful that I, for one, have never 1) gotten sick back in the day when it almost surely meant you were going to either lose a limb or die and 2) have never gone through a time portal and thrust into a world two hundred years old where I have no sodding idea what in the world was going on.

It’s hard to believe, but the entire first season (SIXTEEN HOURS) of this show follows the plot of this first installment of the series alone.  And since I cut the cord with cable long ago and don’t feel like paying absorbent amounts for add on subscriptions to Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc. it will be November at the earliest before I get to see the show again (although after as much Jack Randall as I had to deal with in this first novel, I’m thinking that might be a good thing).  Until then, I’m hoping to get through the next book or so to see where Claire goes from here.

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