As one who loves history but generally finds historical novels a bit dry and too full of battles, the Outlander series has been a magnificent gift.
Just finished listening, for the 2nd time, the entire seven volume series in anticipation of Gabaldon's 8th addition due out in June. Ha! Seven months absorbed in time traveling back 200 years. Delightful! This second listen/read (always more rich to do both at once with Gabaldon) was far more exciting and rewarding than anticipated. Noticed many more fascinating historical details and the characters were more alive to me than ever. Gabaldon's character development over this 20 year period is intimate and dynamic. Claire is now my age in An Echo in the Bone and quite the avatar of my idealized self. Adore her many flaws, echoing my own, as the wisecracking, irreverent, bull in a china shop. If only to have her sexual prowess!
What I especially love about An Echo in the Bone is the depiction of the Revolutionary War through the eyes of ordinary people, allowing me to finally understand the reality of that war. Her writing gets better and more colorful with each novel, astounding as her first volume, Outlander, was brilliant historical fiction, vividly penned with an impeccably crafted plot, surrounding characters whom you either passionately love or totally abhor. And so much humor and philosophical musing.
Why her books are listed as Romance is infuriatingly baffling. They are definitely the finest of Historical Fiction, if not masterfully scribed Literature.
I love this series of books. I love this narrator. I love that all the books in the series are now available on Audible (there were two in the middle that previously weren't). The Outlander series is what Audible is all about.
The series is the story of a woman who accidentally travels 200 years back in time and meets the love of her life. Whenever I explain this premise to people I get raised eyebrows, but the truth is that the books are more historical fiction than sci fi/fantasy. I read an interview with the author once in which she said she set out to write historical fiction, but just couldn't get into the mindset of an 18th century woman so devised the time travel in order to place a modern woman in the period she wanted to write about. That decision made the books even more interesting. All of the main characters are relatable and fleshed-out. The history is meticulously researched. The conversations, love stories, intrigue, etc feel organic. The descriptions of Scotland - both modern and historical - are amazing and make me love the country even though I've never been. I really have almost no criticisms of the writing.
Meanwhile, Davina Porter is one of the best narrators I've encountered in an audiobook. (Thank you, thank you to the narrator and audiobook producers or whoever arranged for the same narrator to read the whole series so far.) She manages to have a completely different voice for each main character and to my untrained ear moves effortlessly from one accent to another as the story dictates. Her American accent is not perfect, but it's still very good. She has a great cadence, sounds like she's read the book 100 times prior to narrating, and never stumbles over what must be incredibly difficult Gaelic words... (in fact, a friend of mine who is reading the whole series on paper calls me occasionally to have me pronounce the Gaelic words for her).
Clearly, these are some of my favorite all time audiobooks. Despite their length, I'm on my third time through the series. Speaking of length, all the books in the series are pretty long, but still only one credit so if you have an Audible subscription, they are great deals. In short, buy the books, you won't regret it.
I love this book series and can't wait for the next installment, which I must assume is coming soon since this book stopped so abruptly with many of the main characters in peril, both in modern day and in Revolutionary War era America. Davina Porter's voicing of the various characters and her uncanny ability to do the Scottish and Irish accents are truly engaging and amazing.
I have enjoyed following the lives of Claire, Jamie, Breanna, Roger and John Grey as Ms Gaboldon has brought them to life over the years. This is not a book that you could pick up and start reading if you have not read all the previous books as each of her books builds on past events. In places the plot tends to ramble but I appreciate her attempts to provide historical background to her novels. Overall it was not quite up to the quality of many of her past instalments and I feel she rushed the end a little but certainly a series of books that will capture you and leave you anticipating the next book in the series.
I love this series and reading it felt like coming home. These characters are written in such detail and the historical setting is so accurate that it is easy to visulize every scene. I have a lot of money invested in the audio verison of all of these books and I do NOT regret one penny. They are wonderful to revisit and I always look forward to the next one.
I've been a great fan of the Outlander series but Echo has left me cold. This book served to introduce a number of what could become interesting story lines, but none were adequately explored , much less developed. Let's face it, Ms. Gabaldon, Lord John is just not that interesting! I'm definitely not buying the Lord John-Claire marriage deal. Come on! The Claire I know and love would have chosen prison over marriage to that arrogant jerk any day! An imprisoned Claire would have been infinitely more interesting than the bedroom scene with Lord Milktoast! Ms. Gabaldon has let her readers down with this latest edition of the Jamie-Claire saga. The sudden ending with so many unresolved and unexplained issues left me sad, confused, and frustrated instead of wanting more.
I read the Outlander books before listening to them as a recommendation by a total stranger. When I joined Audible I bought the first one on sale thinking that it wouldn't and couldn't live up to the books. I was so wrong. Davina Porter is amazing. There are few narrators who enhance the audiobook experience the way that she does.
This continuation is divided between the past with Jamie and Claire and the Revolutionary War and the "present" with Roger, Brianna and their kids in Scotland. Great book, I cannot wait until December for the next in the series!
I have a busy career, travel a lot and don't have much time to read, so I listen to Audio books. I love reading!
Absolutely fantastic series.. once you start at the beginning you can't stop. Davina Porter is perfect at narrating.. But start at book one.. you wont be dissapointed.
I fell into this series through Audibles, "try the first in a series" promotion. I love LONG books and long series. These are long. The only downfall of this series is that books 5 & 6 are not available yet through Audible. So I read those and picked up again with the audio. The very best part is Davina Porter as the narrator. This latest in the series, book 7 has several plot lines and characters from earlier books become more important. I like the different points of view,and once you get used to it - you can tell thanks to Davina's voice. My only complaint is how Gabaldon left the book hanging - very abrupt ending(s). can hardly wait until 2011-12 for the next - #8.