Saturday, January 9, 2010

Book Review: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon


Synopsis:  (from the publisher)

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.


My Review:

The Second World War has ended and we find Clair and her husband Frank reunited at last. On holiday in Scotland they pursue their own adventures. While Frank is immersed in researching his family genealogy, Clair takes a trip to Craigh na Dun to look for some unique plants to add to her collection. It is there that Clair happens to touch a stone from the mysterious circle formation and is suddenly transported back to 1745 Scotland!

Clair is captured by some members of the Mackenzie Clan, who can not decide weather she is a whore or distressed lady (due to her lack of clothes/20th century outfit). They take her to their dwelling at Castle Leoch. Here she is deemed a "guest" by the leader of the clan, though Clair does not fail to notice the wary and suspicious feelings of everyone around her. Since Clair was a former combat nurse (though no one knows it), she is always stepping up to heal anyone who is injured or ill. Her knowledge of medicine is shocking to most, especially because she is a woman. She gains some friends through her knowledge but also some enemies...it's just one more thing to make her stand out as an "Outlander". 

After a while, Clair is sent with some clansmen on a journey across the Scottish Highlands with the goal of delivering her to her own English people. Unfortunately for Clair, the English Captain Randall is also suspicious of who she really is. He is a vulgar man and she quickly makes an enemy out of him with her hot temper. She escapes his wrath with her group of escorts and they flee back to the safety of Castle Leoch.

Through all of this Jamie Fraser, a red-headed stubborn clansmen, listens and tries to make Clair feel welcome. He too is enemies with Captain Randall and promises to protect Clair at all costs. Clair always seems to get into trouble (usually by trying to run away) and Jamie somehow always manages to save her, followed by him loosing his Scottish temper at her. They finally end up in such a mess that they have to runaway together, barley escaping with their lives. They become closer then they ever thought possible, but Clair struggles with knowing that somewhere her husband of the future is looking for her. 

In their travels Captain Randall Captures Jamie, and Clair begins a frantic search for him.  She finally finds out where he is, and also learns that he is sentenced to die in just a few days. Clair manages to gather some loyal Clansmen together and attempts a rescue mission to save Jamie. When they find Jamie, hidden in a dark dungeon cellar, Captain Randall had already done his worst. Clair is distraught at seeing Jamie so broken, he is dying and she does everything in her power to save him...but will it be enough? And if it is enough, should she stay with this man whom she has grown to love, or go back to her husband in the future?...



I could have written this review with one word....AWESOME....it was just that good! I absolutely loved this book. During the first 200 pages not a lot happened, but it held my interest and I was never once saying "get on with it". After those first 200 pages the book blew up with action and suspense that never stopped. Every time one dramatic scene stopped, another crisis started. I especially loved the continuous clash of tempers between Clair and Jamie; it gave me a lot of laughs. The Scottish accent writing did not bother me at all, it was done very well (just be sure you know that "Ken" means "Know" when you read it, it confused me once or twice, LOL). My only complaint is how much detail there is when informing the reader of what Captain Randall did to Jamie. What he did in the first place was bad enough, but then we were told three more times in great detail what occurred. Besides that little point, everything else was excellent. The book was 850 pages long and I felt like I only read 200...now that's saying something! This book had everything you could want, suspense, romance, humor and so much more. I just briefly touched on what the book was about up above, it does not even come close to what awaits you inside. I definitely look forward to reading the rest of the series!



Copyright © 2010 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

20 comments:

  1. I'm not finished reading it yet but I'm loving it! Nice review - I appreciate that you didn't give too much away. I joined the Outlander challenge in November - to read the series by mid-Nov. 2010. Now I'm not so sure I WANT to read them that fast. I want to savor them : )

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  2. I love this series. It is one of the few that I keep on my shelf to reread and I have reread this one more than once. I love Claire and Jamie! Hope you enjoy the other books in the series.

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  3. Great review -- I have not read any in this series, but I do have this one on my Kindle. Hope to get to it in 2010.

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  4. Hi, Muse -- So glad you enjoyed Outlander! You have many wonderful reading adventures ahead if you choose to continue with the series. Diana Gabaldon can spin a tale like no other.

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  5. My sister-in-law just loaned me the first book in this series. She raved about it. It's three down in my TBR pile. :)

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  6. Oh, what lovely blog you have here! I just put you in my reader.

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  7. This review made me laugh out loud, especially the part about her clothes. Sounds like a good book.

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  8. I'm so glad you liked Outlander! The book has everything, it changed my life after I read it for the first time (and I've read and listened to the whole series many times now!) Can't wait to see what you think of the rest of the series!

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  9. the fact that you said this was AWESOME means you're definitely gonna like the rest of this series. i'll be re-reading this soon along the rest of the series for the Outlander Reading challenge. if you're interested here's the link: http://srroutlanderread.blogspot.com/

    ever since reading this, i've wanted to visit scotland.

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  10. Outlander is awesome! It's about time I re-read it....

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  11. You will totally love the next few books. It got slow for me with Fiery Cross but I am in minority with that opinion. So glad you liked it.
    This is for you

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  12. Wow, this sounds so great! Have you read the other books by her as well?

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  13. Thanks for the review. This sounds like a good one. Adding it to my wish list!

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  14. Welcome to the dark side....well ok it's not dark but it's GOOD!
    Keep reading the series...they are delicious even if they do become a little tedious as the books go on. You never fall out of love with Jamie and Claire!

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  15. This is truly horrible, but I am yet to read it, I meant too but the text is so tiny in the book and the book is so freaking long

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  16. Ditto and Amen!! :) Where was I when this book came out years ago?

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  17. Ok, I finished it and really liked it. I'll wait a bit before the next but I will read it : )

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  18. I absolutely adore the entire series and really recommend it to everyone...Jamie is yummy.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. Your's is lovely.

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  19. Great review! I LOVED this book and the ones that came after it. Claire and Jamie are going to have many more adventures!!

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  20. I have exactly the same complaint, I really didn't need all that detail about Randall and Jamie. However, a fantastic book. I'm now on book 6.

    Elspeth

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