Thursday, July 7, 2011
Outlander: The First Three Books
by Diana Gabaldon
audiobooks: Outlander = 32.75 hours, Dragonfly in Amber = 39 hours, Voyager = 43.33 hours
narrated by Davina Porter
After years of hearing about these books I finally decided to give them a try and I am HOOKED.
About the Books
Book 1: For those unfamiliar with the story, the first book begins just after World War II. Claire has just reunited with her husband after spending the war years working as a nurse in a field hospital. The two plan to spend some time in Scotland where Claire will relax while her husband does geneological research. However, while walking through an ancient stone circle Claire is suddenly pulled back in time to approximately 200 years in the past. She finds herself in danger at every turn and - through a series of events - is forced to marry a young man named Jamie in order to gain his protection. Although she is still in love with her (future) husband, Claire finds herself drawn to Jamie as well. The central question of book one is this: given the chance to go 'back to the future' will Claire choose her old life and her first husband or will she remain in the past with Jamie?
Book 2: SPOILER ALERT: don't read this summary if you haven't read book 1 - Ok, so, this book starts in the "modern" day with Claire and her daughter Brianna. They are hoping to find out what happened to Jamie's men after the battle which led to Claire's departure. The story then flashes back to the 1700s and we find out what happened to Jamie & Claire that led to their separation.
Book 3: SPOILER ALERT: don't read this summary if you haven't read book 2 - Claire found out at the end of book 2 that Jamie didn't die in the battle as she'd always thought,. Now she must dig through the historical record to find out what happened to Jamie and where he went next. Once she finds out all she can she must decide whether to risk yet another trip through the stones to find him.
I knew I would love these books but I put off reading them because I feared getting sucked into a long series. Now that I've started I really DO love them but I've been able to pace myself, listening to a book a month.
The books are sprawling and epic in scope. They contain a large number of characters and deal with quite a few historical events. At times the author tends to ramble (the books could have been quite a bit shorter) but I really like that - I love all the extra details and side-stories that are included. There are some graphic sex scenes - both consensual and forced - that may turn off some readers but I found the consensual ones quite good and the forced ones fitting to the story.
I think the thing that makes me really love these books is that I identify with the characters. Claire and Jamie act in ways that I recognize as real, even if it isn't the way I would act in a given situation. I love them together and I cannot wait to start the next book.
Are you a fan of this series? If so, which is your favorite book? Is there another book/series that you think I'd enjoy since I love this one so much?