I had heard about how loved this book was for many years and finally got a chance to sit down and listen to it thanks to a great sale at Audible. My first thought is that it does feel a bit dated - lacking the highs and lows of the modern romance novel. It is also very well written - something not necessarily demanded in modern novels, either, sadly.
It is a big book because it is definitely a slow burn - allowing the reader to be drawn in slowly over time. And in a novel that has nothing new to add these days (a time travel historical romance is almost vanilla in the crowded paranormal romance category) and so it succeeds or fails purely on the characters.
Unfortunately, for me, the characters kind of fell flat. I didn't really feel any affinity (or Mary Sue) for Claire, the protagonist. A war nurse in the 1940s, married with a husband, certainly didn't make her the typical heroine. That said, it was hard to root for someone who had very little angst about sleeping with a young hot guy in a kilt fairly soon after the time travel. The author is clever enough to help alleviate the guilt by making the husband's ancestors particularly nasty (I kept having a "Rob Roy" movie moment throughout this). But really, you'd think she'd be a bit more freaked out or go more into survival mode. It just felt so unrealistic in so many ways.
I think the real problem for me is that this fell back on the 1980s "spirited spitfire" heroine who always manages to get herself in trouble by doing spirited things that backfire - and then having to be saved by the hero. It gets old (and really feels unrealistic) at all the stupid chances she takes. It also doesn't help that I could come up with a lot better ways to accomplish the things she just spur of the moment decided to do randomly - just to give the hero an opportunity to come to her rescue (or prove how dastardly her husband's ancestor was). It got old.
I give the book 3 stars for being a solid read, well written. But 2 left stars for feeling very dated in the 1980ss and for a lot of nothing happening other than heroine gets herself in trouble, heroine gets rescued by hero, heroine gets in trouble again by going off on her own, gets rescued by hero before injury again....ad nauseum.
i have 4 things to say about this book:
1. the narration is excellent
2. the romance is...very romantic
3. the history is...fun
4. the "naughty" stuff is...(see below)
it's common for romance novels, especially ones that appeal to medieval European settings, to bring in sexually charged themes of bondage, whipping, and nonconsensual intercourse. this book goes rather SO far in that direction, though, that it distracts from the otherwise dignified plot.
Below is an abbreviated breakdown of the action, just to let you know just how kinky things get.
MH=Male Hero / MF=Female Heroine / MV=Main Villain / V=Villain
1) MV threatens to force himself onto FH
2) random V's threaten to force themselves onto FH
3) MV whips MH and forces himself onto MH's sister
4) 2 V's force themselves on FH in front of MH
5) MV forces himself on FH in front of MH
6) MH whips FH (gives her a "strapping")
7) MV tortures MH
8) MV forces himself on MH (!!!)
9) FH pretends to be MV in (non-psychologist approved) reenactment of #8 designed to "cure" him of his shame (?!)
and all of this in lurid detail, with a great deal of time spent recalling past whippings and beatings and tortures. not sure how all this made it past the editor, but...
at least now you're warned, and there is a good story and some good writing buried in there!
Absolutely, because I would love to hear all of the details again now that I know the story.
Jamie, because he was passionate yet practical.
All the "Scottish" noises... She portrayed Dougal so well.
I couldn't stop thinking about the story, but mostly I loved the character of the story and the complete immersion in the culture. The love story is quite engaging.
Loved the narrator!
A beautiful love story that spans the centuries. The description of life in the mid 18th century in the Scottish Highlands brought to life thanks to meticulous research and skillful writing. One of my favorite series of all time. The characters are rich and well developed.
Do I have to pick just one? The wedding, the trail, the rescue from Wentworth.
I would have to say that I thought Ms Porter's reading of Jamie Fraser was wonderful. The right about of brouge for an educated laird. Better at times than Claire who could sound a bit stuffy and old.
A love story that spans centuries.
Don't stop with Outlander. Keep reading the series, the writing and the rich characters only grow and richen with each subsequent book.
For some reason I thought I was downloading "Highlander" and when I started listening, I couldn't figure out why the story line was about a post-war nurse in the '40's. I persisted in my listening and quickly became totally immersed in Diana Gabaldon's delightful time-traveler story of Clair -- and what an absolutely mesmerizing story it turned out to be! The reader was extremely skillful with all of her accents, switching from female to male characters, old and young...I fully expected to wake one morning with a deep Scottish brogue myself! It was a wonderful story that adeptly swooped me away from my mundane, everyday routine of work and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it! I hated to see the story end (even after 33+ hours!) An abundantly superb read!
I heard a rumor about these books a long time ago and I'm not gonna lie... I saw the cover and thought to myself... nope.
And then this past year I was bored and came across the books again... and they've blown me away.
1: the story is amazing
2: Davina Porter is my FAVORITE narrator
These are fantastic stories.
Apparently they're planning on making a movie... and I can't imagine that it will hold a candle... or even a matchflame to the books.
I have already read this book twice in print and relished every word and phrase. Gabaldon cannot be surpassed for her mastery of elegant prose that never hesitates to make its point. Along the way, you are treated to fabulously crafted descriptive passages and witty exchanges; she is one of the few authors who is worth reading every word, several times.
This audible version achieves that same degree of excellence. The narrator is perfect for this role -- she creates with great authenticity an entire population of characters that can be cantankerous, mischievous, opinionated, tender, calculated, downright evil and sadistic, and some very wise. Her work is a treat to hear, and her well-paced approach makes this very long book worth listening to every moment and a treat to savor the prose along the way.
High marks for author and narrator. Well worth the time and the listening...many times over.
I've literally been waiting years for the unabridged versions of the Outlander series to be available on Audible. I've read and reread all the books and heard all of the abridged versions, and there's nothing quite like hearing each word read to you by someone as talented as Davina Porter. This recording is an amazing tapestry of detail, introspection, action, romance, and fantasy that I simply can't stop listening to, even though I know the story by heart. I can only hope that Audible will soon be offering the other titles from this series in unabridged format. Also recommended: the unabridged "Song of Ice and Fire" series by George R.R. Martin and the unabridged "Wheel of Time" series by Robert Jordan.
"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one." - Jojen Reed. #ADanceWithDragons
I should have read more reviews before getting this one... I read the description of the book and was preparing myself for a nice amount of fantasy/sci-fi, a decent amount of history and a whole lot of action. What I got though was a tid-bit of fantasy/sci-fi, a slight mention of history, a dash of action, a whole bunch of BDSM and way too much romance...
Don't get me wrong, the book was written well... actually not just well... it was written extraordinarily well! This is (to date) one of the most nicely written book I have ever come across (and I have read a lot of books) irrespective of the actual story. If you are a fan of excellent writing, just plain good usage of words, beautiful descriptions and a nicely organized sentences you'll enjoy this book. If the story could only follow with the excellent writing, this would have easily gotten 5 stars for me... that being said however the story itself is just one long, convoluted, some might say even over reaching and glorified romance!
I am not a big fan of romance novels... I am even less a fan of romance novels that kinda over do it in the sex scenes... including and not limited to whipping, multiple attempted rapes, biting, scratching, sado-masochism, impotency (due to latent homosexual desires) and probably the biggest disappointment of all... the rather anti-climactic end of the main antagonist (in my opinion). You would think that after the main antagonist would meet a more disastrous end ESPECIALLY after he gets his ultimate desire of forcing the main protagonist (both of whom are guys fyi) into having sex with him because the main protagonist wants to save his wife who, is from the future AND who, in the future, is also married to the great great great great grandson of the main antagonist. Did I mention that this book is convoluted?
One other thing that irks me... For someone who is propelled back a couple hundred years in the past... Claire (who's vantage point we read from) is VERY calm. After being separated from her husband (poor guy) and being propelled back into the past, she chooses to stay with Jaime (the main protagonist and as close to a Fabio impersonator as I have ever read). I also find the idea that Claire (after being propelled into the past by some sort of buzzing stone... and no I do not jest about the buzzing stone) finds it hard to believe in witches....
Here is the thing: you will truly love this book if you like historical romance novels with the emphasis being the 'romance' and also have a penchant for BDSM you will be utterly floored by this book (in a good way of course).
The narration also is an area where this book SHINES. Davina Porter has always been a favourite of mine where narration is concerned and I can say she did not disappoint. She breathed life in the myriad of characters in the book of which there were a lot. She is one of the reasons I got through this book and for that Davina... I say thank you.
Despite this review I MIGHT actually read the other one... Why? Because I already have it in my library and I hate to give up on a series. The writing is great but the actual story is lacking (to me). The description is exceptional but can be too much at times. The narration is extraordinary!
I am reading the entire series. I disagree with the negative comments made and think the writer and narrater are both very talented. I think a very good job has been done to make the series ( I'm on the third book) as realistic as possible, which yes, includes a range of emotions and actions by the characters involved. I wouldn't recommend the series to someone who isn't interested in reading about personal hardships, sex, violence, or brutal war actions in the 1700's. It's intense at times and pulls you right in. I love it!