**Tiny Spoil Alert**
I’ll admit it, I am a sucker for a good romance. I don’t mean those cheesy Nora Ephron stories that my Nana cannot get enough, no offense to Nora Ephron fans. I am talking about an exciting, well-written, can’t-put-it-down type novel where the romance is just one facet of it. Naturally, this means that The Outlander series and I were meant to be. I’ll leave a trusty Goodreads synopsis here…
“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.
Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire—and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.”
Diana Gabaldon did such an amazing job with blending fact and fiction in her time traveling series. As a history buff, I really appreciate the time she took with her research to be able to toss in such wonderful little details that if you blink, you will miss (kind of like my hometown). Her writing is also superb, painting a vivid picture but never getting so wordy or long that your eyes glaze over, and yes I am referring to our good friend Tolkien.
I will say that the length of the books may deter some from picking them up as they average over 800 pages per book and with around 10 books in the series, that is a serious undertaking. However, I have spoken with a lot of people who quit reading once the series moves from focusing on Claire and Jamie, to their daughter, Brianna. So if length is your worry, then have no fear. Do what works best and feels right for you.
Ah, Claire and Jamie. Gabaldon is a master at character building and you can really see the growth and change of the characters throughout the series. Jamie is epitome of what you picture when you think of Scottish Highlander, tall, red-haired, with the looks and build of a Viking. He’s your typical macho warrior but with some real depth that you immediately connect to. Claire is a no-nonsense, field nurse from WWII that is pretty stubborn and brings a bit of modern feminism to 18th century Scotland, which of course is not going to be easily accepted. Their relationship is quite epic to watch.
This leads me to explain why I probably will not finish out the series. Brianna. She is the daughter of Claire and Jamie and as a character, I just do not connect with her. I find her story a bit boring and her, a tad whiny. I don’t think I can suffer through books that will begin to focus solely on her, so I will probably stop before it gets to that point.
All in all, the series is pretty fantastic but I do want to point out that for me personally, the first 200 pages are the most challenging to get through but once you get past that point things really start to happen and you won’t want to put it down. I found that to be true for almost every book in the series. Also, Starz, has completed the first season of their show Outlander which is based off the books. It is fantastic, nominated for both People’s Choice and the Golden Globes. The second season should be airing this spring so you have plenty of time to catch up. Check it out! And by that, I mean the books and the show.
As I am currently in the middle of this series, I will come back and update as I finish each book. So watch out for new updates!
Outlander (Outlander #1): 4/5 stars
Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander #2): 5/5 stars
Voyager (Outlander #3): 3.5/5 stars
Drums of Autumn (Outlander #4): 3/5 stars – Okay, I just finished this one and in my opinion, it was the worst so far. The plot dragged on far too much where nothing was really happening. It was a struggle to finish and that really upsets me as the series started out so well. I also cannot stand Brianna. She is a bit of a brat and basically causes too many problems. I think I will have to come back later to attempt to finish the series and move on from it, for now.