Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Outlander is about Claire, a nurse from 1945, that gets transported back to Scotland in 1743. And basically chaos ensues from there. She’s kidnapped, held against her will, and taken hostage where she is a guest but also seen as a spy. Also she meets Jamie Fraser. I won’t say anymore since I don’t want to put any spoilers, but you can bet it gets hectic at points.
Anyways, I LOVED this book (I guess the 5 stars gave that away) and I am so impressed by Gabaldon’s writing, I haven’t read something so refreshing in a long time. Now it’s not a YA book, which is what I often read, but now that I’m 19, I’m glad that Outlander was my first introduction to, I guess, adult fiction. While some could say that it is NA fiction due to Claire’s age, Outlander was written way before that genre was created, so I’m going to stick with it being adult fiction.
Plot/Writing: My god, there were so many twists and turns, and events that happened, I see why Gabaldon needed over 800 pages! And her writing gripped me for every single one. Just when I thought Claire and Jamie were safe, Gabaldon would throw some curveball and I’d be crying over my book. Props to you, Diana Gabaldon. You know how to pitch a mean one. Gabaldon’s writing style also was impressive. It hooked me from the start, and she had such fresh metaphors, similes, and descriptions I was thoroughly pleased. Overall, it just felt fresh and clean, and I loved it. She kept me interested until the very end, and not just because I wanted to know what happened, but because I enjoyed her writing so much. She was also incredibly historically accurate, and did a splendid job of portraying the beliefs and cultural norms of 1743. I also feel she did a good job of portraying the negatives, such as the issue of rape, which is something you should never take lightly. Gabaldon touched on the issue various times during the novel, to shed light on aspects of a woman’s life in that time, such as a husband will never take no for an answer when asking his wife for sex, etc. While rape is never in any form okay, Gabaldon smoothly deals with the issue of writing this, and allows for the characters to still see the problem as a negative. Overall, I was extremely impressed with her writing and story, and I am going to devour Dragonfly in Amber next week.
Characters: I’ll only talk about the two main characters, otherwise I will have to write about about 12 of them and I have too much to say about all of them.
Claire: Oh man, did I love her character. She was fierce yet tender, strong-willed but empathetic, and so many things in between. I want to be like her. She stood up to an angry Scotsman about the treatment of women and OH MAN that made me so happy. She was logical and a real thinker, and I connected to her on so many levels. She never backed down on her beliefs just because a man told her to and I commend Claire for doing that in a time she did not belong. As well, she was witty, and really grew as a character over the 850 pages of the book. I learned new things about her almost every chapter, and she had flourished as a protagonist by the end of the novel. Her flaws were human; pride, letting her heart control her too much, and I’d say speaking when she really shouldn’t. She grew with her flaws so graciously, I felt like a proud momma, even though her character is quite a bit older than me. 10/10 for Claire, Gabaldon.
Jamie: What can I say to sum up Jamie Fraser? There were so many twists and turns to his character, it was like a whole other plot within the plot. And may I just say he sounds wonderful. Obviously there are a few flaws, as each character needs a weakness, but Jamie’s completed him so perfectly, they weren’t really flaws anymore than they were traits of his character. Gabaldon did a good job with this one. He’s stubborn, and pig-headed at times, and has a mean temper, but he’s loving, honest and a truly good man. There’s so many complexities to Jamie I’m not sure I could even put words to them all. You could say he is a very “traditional” hero, but I could argue that his level of stubbornness will change your mind. Probably my favourite part about Jamie is that he’s real. He’s very believable to me, and in fact his stubbornness reminds me of my own boyfriend. But he listens, he thinks, and he cares. Jamie Fraser is a good man.
Conclusion: I loved this book, I really do. It’s historical, it’s interesting, it has some romance, and it has good characters. For those saying it’s all about sex and rape etc. please learn some history and look at that time. That was unfortunately the norm, and it’s not like people these days don’t have sex or, shocker, commit “adultery”. It happens no matter the time period sadly. So if you really love history, this book is the whole package. Please give it a try if you have any interest in it. I’d say it’s worth it. So take a bite out of Scotland in 1743. I don’t think you’ll regret it.