30 May, 2016

REVIEW: OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon

Title: Outlander
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Series: Outlander #1
Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Historical, Romance
Publisher: Arrow Books
Source: Paperback
Pages: 864

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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.

I was first introduced to the world of Outlander by starting to watch the show. I watched the first half of season 1 and went to the library to get the books. I read the first book in Lithuanian (now I have it in English as well), and then finished with the show. I have to say I did not expect to like it as much as I did, but then again who would not fall in love with this adventure.

'People disappear all the time [...] Many of the lost will be found, eventually, dead or alive. Disappearances, after all, have explanations.

Awesome line right? So let's get to it: 

THE WORLD: There are two worlds in this book - England/Scotland 1945 and Scotland 1743, so the plot takes place in the past. However, the world is just as we know it from history books or history classes. The book starts in 1945 right after the end of World War II and we are one again reminded of the horrible actions and multiple deaths this black spot in history swept away. In other worlds, we are familiar with this world more or less, we know how people lived. Simultaneously, we have 18th century Scotland, where traditions and customs are different from what we are used to. This aspect was actually very interesting for me, to see how differently people used to live and behave, what was considered normal for them.

CHARACTERS: Since the book is almost a thousand pages long there are almost a hundred or so talking characters in this book and it would take some time to mention them all, so I'll just stick with the ones who were most memorable for me and let's start of course with the leading lady Claire Beauchamp Randall. She is smart, witty and a sharp young woman. She was a nurse during the war and let's just say the war made her into an independent, tough person, that doesn't ask for anyone's permission to do anything. Claire has a phrase 'Jesus H Roosevelt Christ' that she uses constantly and I think that it just gives her so much character and the parts where she uses it in 18th century Scotland is hilarious. But I have to admit - Claire and I have a love/hate relationship. I don't even know why she annoys me but she does, and quite frankly the beginning of the book is rather difficult to read because her that. It becomes even more annoying when Claire travels to Scotland. It's understandable that a modern woman would go into shock and denial if suddenly she had to adapt to the 18th century culture but at times it seemed like Claire refused to acknowledge the culture of Scotland and it got other characters in trouble. So yeah, I love Claire and I hate Claire, but I guess that's true love is right?
Now ladies and gentlemen, I am about to introduce you to one of my four fictional boyfriends and that is:
James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser, or - just Jamie.

He is the most wonderful, caring, strong, innocent, open minded person that has ever been created in the world of fiction. Jamie Fraser is simply a really nice guy. Of course he has his demons, he has suffered a lot when we meet him, but despite all the problems, all the pain he had to go through he still seems to see the future as an open book, he sees the best in people and he is a true gentlemen. Believe me I could go on and on about Jamie and why I think he's a wonderful male protagonist but I think let's move on.
We also have Frank Randall, who is Claire's husband in 1945. He's an historian and actually the reason why he and Claire travel to Scotland after the war is because he wants to find some written sources about his ancestor. Frank to me is also very nice man. He respects Claire, he loves her, he wants to simply read history books and live a happy life with his wife.
And of course we have Jonathan Randall or Black Jack, Frank's great-something father, who Claire meets in 1743. He is a bastard. In most cases I tend to enjoy villains in books, I believe they are so much more interesting than the main characters, because they usually have a really good back story to them but with Black Jack, there is no redeemable features. He is just a bastard who likes to get his way no matter.
So basically these four character are the most important in my opinion, but of course there are a number of smaller characters who are simply brilliant. For one Jamie's sister Jenny, who we meet late in the book but she is also a strong Scottish lassie. Then I also loved Geillis, a woman Claire meets in a village in 1743 Scotland. She is a healer of some kinds, I dunno people come to her for treatments and stuff and she is amazing, simply brilliant and she carries a very important secret as well. And lastly the Laird Colum, oh man I loved him. He reminded me a lot of Ned Stark from Game of Thrones. He just has so much honor in him. Absolutely loved him!

LOVE: When the book starts Claire is married to Frank. They are happy together, they love and cherish each other. Even when Claire travels back to 1743 Scotland she still remains loyal to their marriage until certain events happen and she starts to develop feelings for Jamie, and who wouldn't?!? But believe me it's not a love triangle type of situation, oh no no, of course I can't be more specific without giving everything away so I'll just stop here.

PLUS: The whole concept of time traveling. It was really interesting, to see how a person has to change it's mentality and behavior to survive and how difficult it is to understand a different culture where things are really not like you are used to it. I also really enjoyed the character development. It's like you go into this journey with them and you see how slowly they change and become these wonderful people.
Also I loved everything to do with Scotland.  Their culture, their customs, it was very interesting to read about their clan society and their language, Scottish gaelic I believe.

MINUS: Even though, I love this book I also have issues with it. Firstly, while I do not mind sex scenes in books and I believe in a book such as this sex suited the tone, but there was way too much of it. Sometimes it would go on for pages and frankly it kind of got boring. I mean I get, but it just made me annoyed and skip few pages because it truly was too much at times.

OVERALL: Overall, I LOVE OUTLANDER! It's something that I have never read before and it just sucked me in it's world so fast that I literally couldn't sleep for days. I was constantly wondering about the next page and what will happen. So if you are not scared of long books and love a good story check this book out really. Also, there is also a really good TV show based on Outlander, so if you'll say no to the book, then watch the show, you won't be sorry


What did you think of OUTLANDER?