After more than a month of trudging trough it I finally finished Outlander (Outlander series book 1 ) by Diana Gabaldon
With almost 800 pages this book has it all. Action, drama, romance, fantasy elements, historical tidbits and erotic tidbits, swoon worthy male character and female characters with fire and inteligence.
For years I have heard lots of nice things about this series and my expectations were met. What prompted me to finally take the time and read it was the TV series which came out summer 2014. I wanted to read the books before the show!
First book was written in 1991 and in more than 20 years there are only 8 books and 11 novellas in it – 8 novellas are Lord John series. All books are nice and sturdy brick like features that promise a full historical saga experience.
For those who are interested here is a list chronology:
2) DRAGONFLY IN AMBER
3.1) Lord John and the Hellfire Club (novella)
3.2) Lord John and the Private Matter (novel)
3.3) Lord John and the Succubus (novella)
3.4) Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade
3.5) Lord John and the Haunted Soldier (novella)
3.6) Lord John and the Custom of the Army (novella)
3.7) The Scottish Prisoner (a Lord John novel)
3.8) Lord John and the Plague of Zombies (novella in the anthology titled “Down These Strange Streets”)
4) DRUMS OF AUTUMN
4.1) The Outlandish Companion (a non-fiction guide to the OUTLANDER world and covers big books 1-4. )
5) THE FIERY CROSS
6) A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES
7) AN ECHO IN THE BONE
7.1) A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows
7.2) The Space Between
7.3) Virgins ( novella from an anthology titled “Dangerous Women” )
8) WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD
“Lord John and the Hand of Devils” is a collection that contains: Lord John and the Hellfire Club, Lord John and the Succubus and Lord John and the Haunted Soldier
Text below contains spoilers and my personal experience on the first book and first eight episodes of the TV series.
You have been warned.
There are many things I loved about this book and then there are some that just did not sit well with me at all. The concept of time travel is a complicate one to write and even more so when the author wants to be taken seriously. On this part Diana Gabaldon has done a really good job. There are many intricate historical details in the books. One of the main topics in the books is Jacobite rebellion. What was even more impressing the air date of the first half season (8 episodes) coincided with a Scottish referendum on the question are they going to stay as a part of Great Britain or seek political independence.
I love the drama and the romance part of the book. Jamie Fraser is a very interesting character and makes for an excellent book boyfriend. Jamie turns out as an educated highlander that speaks several languages fluently, wields a bastard sword proficiently, is devoted as a puppy, has impressive sexual stamina and then some!
For those who do not know what this picture is about he is saying the motto of his clan. Motto of the clan Fraser means “I am ready”
Another thing I loved about this book are some girl power details – as I like to call them. The little things here and there that testify on how awesome and powerful women really are. For example there is Jamie’s sister Jenny and a scene in which she, about a week after giving birth, rides out with Claire to track down which way English dragoons have taken Jamie. Some of the details are described in a way that makes you wonder on the fact that history is mostly written by men and role of a woman is mostly reduced to wife and a mother at best.
There are things that bothered me more in the TV series than in the books. One of those was a character of Jack Randall – Black Jack. The whole concept of this character is kinda strange for me: him being an ancestor of Frank – the man she leaves behind. The scenes in the TV series were much more intense than those in the books. In the TV version he kinda scares me. In the books I must have viewed him trough the narration of Claire and that made him less frightening.
One other thing that is bothering me is when Claire decides to stay with Jamie in the past. For first third of the book she is thorn between one husband and the other. I must admit that her denial and thoughts on both of them annoyed me a bit. And when she finally made up her mind I didn’t like how lightly she betrayed Frank – especially if we consider how in the years they have been married and estranged, she was faithful and loyal to him. Suddenly there’s this redheaded highlander that sweeps her of her feet and she falls madly in love with him. I don’t know what would have made it better for me but the decision just did not sit well with me at all. Maybe I was influenced by TV show here. The scenes where they show Frank desperately searching for Claire after she disappears were heavy with emotion and made an impact on me. Through the whole first book Frank is only mentioned at the beginning and that makes the world of difference I guess.
Steamy scenes were nice to read and watch!
The rape talk and explanation did not bother me as much I thought they would. Black Jack is a real sadist and all the drama, passion and pain give him more dimensions as a character. Graphic violence in the TV series was much more intense and I’m actually scared what they will come up with to surprise those who read the books.
I’m mostly wondering the audience reaction when Jamie spanks Claire silly!
I’m still thinking on giving a next book in the series a go. The first one was all consuming.