I have an undergraduate degree in philosophy and a Master's Degree in Professional Writing from Maharishi University of Management, am author of THE RELUCTANT VEGETARIAN COOKBOOK, and am an avid reader/listener.
I really don't know how to characterize this book. For the first 16 hours I thought it was a mundane romance with the stereotypical macho-tough hero and smart-ass heroine duo who take turns rescuing each other from impossible situations. I was basically just sticking it out because I'm compulsive about finishing things. Historical romance genre fans would probably find it well-written, at least until the last few chapters, when it suddenly takes a horrific twist that seems to have no where to go except to complete tragedy. But then, it twists again find resolution with a flash of psychological brilliance (however unlikely) and a merging into some well-written, genuine depth of sanctity, before returning to the mundane romance. No matter what your tastes and preferences, this book requires a significant amount of "suspension of disbelief," but if you can make the twist and turns, you might like it. It will certainly will be shocking and distasteful to some, though I thought those parts required some of the best writing and a deep understanding of dark psychology. I also appreciated that the faith aspect was neither maudlin nor dogmatic, but meaningful. Even so, I think I'd rather have spent my time with War and Peace or other proven classics.
I found 'Outlander' kind of by accident. I had purchased 'Pillars of the Earth' and it took me forever to get around to listen to it. After I eventually did, I loved it so much I started looking for other historical fiction books. I read some reviews on google and decided to try Outlander. I almost didn't give it a chance because some websites labeled it as a 'romance' novel and I had no interest in reading a romance novel.
At first it was ho hum. I was kind of bored with all the genealogy and botany talk. I hate to admit, but I kind of glazed through the first couple hours of the book.
Then Claire ended up in 18th Century Scotland and I was hooked. I have listened all of the sequels and am currently waiting for the author to finish writing the latest book. The narrator is amazing. I can immediately tell who is talking by the tone of her voice and accent. Her accents are dead on.
I have to admit that although I was not looking for a romance novel and this is definitely not your typical romance novel, I am sort of in love with Claire and Jamie's love story. After I finished 'An Echo in the Bone', I felt kind of lonely and missed these people.... so I just started the series over again. I love it that much. The book is so well researched and thought out, I feel like I know so much about Scotland.
If you decide to choose this book, you will not regret it. This series is definitely the cheapest and longest vacation that I have ever taken!
Let's do the good first:
The reader is terrific. She nails - pitch and accent perfect - every character. It's a delight to hear her.
Time Travel as a concept is 'well-used' but absolutely viable and is executed near perfectly.
The author's done superb research and has marvelously accurate historic details. Her use of language is excellent.
I wanted to like this book. A friend recommended it - and the novels that follow it - with total approbation.
The plot rips make a sieve look solid.
The Heroine's actions are consistently stupid and thoughtless.
To buy into this book you must purchase:
A 20th century woman can speak - immediately clearly enough to be understood by 14th century fighting men.
A 20th century trained nurse can display her skill in the 1400's and have no one notice.
A woman of 14xx can be literate and have no one think anything of it.
"She's a lady," and no one thinks to see that her clothes are far superior to anything available anywhere at the time.
Worst of all .... IS IT
A Romance - Heroine has (at least) two husbands. (There's a 'w' word for her or at least some of her actions.... Witless - what were you thinking...?)
An Adventure - British Vs. Scots! England Vs. France. France Vs. Everybody. And So?
A Bodice Ripper - Heroine spends a LOT of time having sex or being in positions where she might get sexed.
A History - some of it is spot on accurate; but Nothing Really Happens in the time and place for World History.
Time and again, the Heroine does stunningly 20th century things - and no one notices. Ouch.
How stupid is she? In the Villain's clutches, she has time to search his office. (Don't ask, I didn't find it very believable either.) And uses some of that time to pour sand on one of the Villain's wigs. Oh, bother.
I prefer urban/para romance right now for the fantasy aspect, but I listen to other genres as well.
I love the premise of this book. I was really excited when I found it and jumped right in with both feet. To my suprise, I had a hard time getting sucked into the book the way I usually do. I have an extensive Audible library with all genres and lots of different narrators. Davina Porter is one of my favorites and the performance was as good as usual. Maybe its the amount of explanation and detail that is given in the book, or maybe I was just a little off when I tried to listen to it. I wasn't able to finish it because it just seemed like a bit too much information. I will try it again at a later time.
A well written book that is believable becomes a great audio book when the narration is done by someone that truly feels the action. Davina Porter is EXCELLENT !
The story is done with a simple yet very involved outline, the small parts of daily life not skimmed over, but the days not written in a dense curtain that stops you from living the characters lives with them.
Claire has caught my attention the most to date, as she struggles with the emotions.
Her clarity in actually BEING the part, I found no fault in her reading at any angle.
( I listed to this book at roughly 3 hrs minimum up to 5 hrs or more daily for over 2 weeks. I backtrack and resume alot due to my little hectic part of the world, but I don't want to miss a word)
ABSOLUTELY ! But alas, I am a Wife, Mom, Granny & have a crew of dogs & cats & a cockatoo & turtle that rely on me...........
If I could of taken a week off - I would of done just that!
This book has already been added to my PERMANENT library here at home. I am purchasing the entire series, and most of all, I am telling all of my reading buddies about it.
It is books like this that make me super glad to be a part of Audible.com !
EL James take note, you've got the eroticism down- but Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series elevates the eroticism by embedding it into a remarkable story with delicious awe inspiring characters that the reader can engage with and care about. She includes fascinating historical elements, and depicts the entire range of human capacity and emotion, while adeptly weaving in pathos and a sparkling humor. After reading 50 shades I just wanted to wash the filth off, after reading The Outlander I wanted to fly right back to Inverness and revel in the beauty of the Highlands and the Highlanders and then to find DG and give her a big hug for the many hours of pure listening pleasure that she has gifted me. And a note to Davina Porter, WOW, top narration honors to you.
Enthralling, thrilling, romantic
It reminds me of the series by Connie Wills, which begins with "Blackout". The way these authors address time travel and create these endearing characters just leaves the reader wanting to read everything they wrote.
Davina Porter brings these characters to life like no other I have heard. The men are obviously men and the women are obviously women, not merely because of pitch, but because of the mannerisms she gives them. Each character can be identified without question before the reader is officially told who is speaking. She switches between Scottish and English accents with enviable skill. She is spellbinding. She is the only factor that could improve this wonderful story.
This one covers every genre! There is sex, war, sci-fi, history, something for everyone!
Can't wait to listen to the rest of the series!
Never trust anyone who doesn't enjoy reading.
All the history. Diana Gabaldon clearly did her homework before writing this book.
How well Claire adapted to the time.
She did the book great justice!
Love this story, timetravel is my favorite and the story is timeless. I read it several years ago in hardback and wanted to revisit in audio. The story scans generations and is an iconic story.
The book is long, which I like. I can listen to it while driving, excercising, etc. Well worth the credit.
Women will like this, i think, moreso than men.....not enough action.
T hending could have been more exciting.