Reviews

Review: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Finally finished this mammoth monster of a book and thought I’d tell you my thoughts. Beware: they might not be as squee-ey as you think! But that’s okay because ‘each to their own’ right?

outlander

Spoiler Free Review

Title: Outlander 

Authors: Diana Gabaldon

Published: Dell Publishing, 2005

Pages: 896

Some links: Goodreads and Amazon

***

(from Goodreads): The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is just 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 circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord…1743.

***

Okay, so let’s start off by me stating that I found this quite a challenging read. I found it challenging for quite a few reasons:

  • It was so big – I get daunted so easily with large books and tend to be put off, so I thought I would combat this by reading the book on my tablet, so I couldn’t see the physical size of the book. Nope, I just became obsessed with the word count. So yeah… it took me a while.
  • The ‘Pick UP, Put Down’ – I didn’t read it continuously. I read about 4 other books in the span of time whilst reading this one and I don’t think that helped. I might have got more caught up in the novel if I’d pushed through and concentrated on it more.
  • The TV Show – I think it gave it too much hype. I get antsy around hype. I also have only dipped in and out of the TV show so spent most of the first half of the novel saying to myself ‘seen that, seen that’, which was admittedly quite off putting.
  • And finally: SO MUCH VIOLENCE – I can’t handle it. I can’t handle fighting, or blood, or anything of that kind. Whilst I know that Gabaldon was trying to be ‘historically accurate’ and flesh out those character’s backstories, there were times when I had to flick forward because I couldn’t handle it. I can acknowledge it happened, because it did, but I can’t stomach it.

So basically, I might have liked this book more if I didn’t have the things above bothering me. To be honest, I feel a little disappointed that it didn’t have as big an effect on me – I feel like I should be gushing but I’m just not in a gushy mood about this read. However, there were things I liked about the novel, so it’s not all that bad!

I did really like the character of Clare. I felt like she was real and true – she was strong for her time and didn’t let the change in time period adapt her character. She stayed true to herself and her principles, which is always a good, important thing. I also think Gabaldon conveyed her struggles to adapt well. Thrown back in time like that wouldn’t have been dancing and daisies, and I felt the author showed that well. Her relationship with Jamie seemed real too, as were the struggles she had as she felt tied between her husband back home waiting for her, and the man she loved here.

I found parts of the history interesting. As a Scot myself, I admittedly don’t know much about the history of that time period (hangs head), so it was a nice refresher. I felt that Gabaldon told her story well from that period of time, too. It wasn’t flashy or untrue – it seemed real.

Finally, I will admit that after I had got into the second part of the novel and passed the part I’d got up to in watching the TV series, I felt the pace picked up and I was more drawn into the novel, more invested. Perhaps, had I not watched the TV show first, I would have been invested the whole way through, but there’s no way to know. I am a sucker for a bit of time travel too, so that was definitely a bonus! Overall, I’m happy I read it and didn’t give up – I enjoyed it for the most part, but thought I might enjoy it more.

My Rating: 3.8 out of 5 stars.

Maybe I just wasn’t in the right mindset, but I can’t change that now. I will say that I’m glad to have read it, though. Not sure whether I’ll continue the series – or the TV series – in the future, but we’ll see.

Your thoughts? I know that lots of people adore the book/series, and I’d love for you to share why!

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