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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

Voyager (Outlander)OutlanderDragonfly in Amber (Outlander, Book 2)

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.

My Thoughts 

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.

Your Thoughts

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?


ibeeeg said...

Am I fan? I certainly am. Gabaldon is my favorite author; this my favorite series. My first read of Outlander shocked me a tad with the sex scenes, but I really think these scenes fit the story; they are not gratuitous.
The thing I love best about this series is that it all feels real; I really feel like Jamie and Claire could be real people living their real life. The other aspect that I love about the series is that it is not stagnant; it moves forward as do the characters (maturing, changing, etc as one does in life).

Glad you like the series.

Anonymous said...

Love, love, love this series. Great review!

Anonymous said...

It's a funny thing. I keep wanting to read this whole series and I also want to love it. I've read OUTLANDER twice and listened to about half of it yet again in audio. That being said, I have not pursued the rest of the series. Every time I think about it, I say, "I better go back and read OUTLANDER again."! I think I should probably move on to the second book. They are just so long. Maybe I should go back to the audio. I liked that all right. Sigh. Again, I really want to be a giant fan of this series. :-)

MoxieMamaKC said...

Absolutely LOVE this series! Drums of Autumn and Fiery Cross were at times the hardest for me to get through, but the rest of them are non-stop fabulous!

Kailana said...

I don't know what it is about me and this series. I read the first book ages ago and still haven't felt compelled to read on... I am even rereading the first book right now, so obviously I liked it...

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

ibeeg - I agree! The characters and the story are constantly changing - I love that about it.

erika - Thanks. :)

Kay - You can definitely pick up the 2nd book without having the first one fresh in your mind. I hope you give it a shot soon.

Moxie - I'm trying to take it slow so I don't get to the end too soon, so I guess I can't complain if a few of the books are slow going. LOL

Kailana - The end of the first book gave me a certain idea about where the series would go and I didn't necessarily want to read on. However the 2nd book was totally different than I expected and I'm really glad I kept reading!

bermudaonion said...

Several of my friends love these books, but I'm not convinced they're for me. I'm glad to see you loved them too.

Kathleen said...

I have been hearing about these books for a long time and been meaning to start the series but just haven't gotten around to it. I'm glad to hear you have enjoyed them so much. One of these days I will take the plunge!

Anonymous said...

I refuse to get sucked into this series. Kathy and I can be the last holdouts. :-D

Alyce said...

These three books are my favorites out of the series. I do like most of the rest of the series, but have read these first three over and over again.

Page (One Book At A Time) said...

I love this series as well! I think Outlander is my favorite. I wasn't as enthralled with 4 - 6, but enjoyed them. The latest had a huge cliffhanger.

Suey said...

I really enjoyed the first one, but the ending scenes were so awfully graphic for me that it made me scared for the future books and I haven't dared to try. Should I go for it?

Melissa said...

I have yet to read the third book on but I'm awfully tempted to do so now...that and Jean Auel's books.

Andi said...

I still haven't read this series, but my boss is reading e-book copies now and raving about them. Reading your review gets me even more jazzed to start them sooner rather than later. I've often wondered about the massive size, but your review really makes me think these would be up my alley.

Thanks, Heather!

Ryan said...

I still haven't decided if these would be books I would enjoy...I think the fact they are "romance" books have generally kept me from giving them a try.

Dreamybee said...

I've had the same qualms as you about starting these books--I'm just not ready to commit! Glad to hear that you are enjoying them though. One of these days, I'm sure I will make the plunge as well.

Marg said...

I love this series, but I do have a really soft spot for Voyager - loved the print shop scene so much.

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

bermudaonion - Yeah, I'm not sure you'd love this one ... it doesn't seem like something you'd pick up.

Kathleen - I hope you do!

softdrink - That's what I said about the GAME OF THRONES series but after watching the tv version I'll be picking up that series very soon. :)

Alyce - Wasn't it you who said you were turned off my some of the scenes later in the series? I wonder if I'll have the same reaction.

Page - DARN! Not looking forward to that cliffhanger. :/

Suey - There haven't been any more scenes like the one you are talking about - I think you should give the next book a chance.

Melissa - I think I read CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR a long time ago but now I don't remember for sure ...

Andi - They are long and a bit rambly but if you are enjoying the story as much as I was then you really don't mind the meandering b/c you don't want the book to end.

Ryan - I don't know ... I have a feeling you would like them but not because of the romance. There are other things that I think might turn you off the series but I could be wrong!

Dreamybee - They are definitely worth reading but I'm also enjoying taking them at a slow pace. I thought I'd read one right after the other but it ends up that I can take breaks in between books.

Marg - That WAS a great scene!

Anonymous said...

Always happy to see another Outlander convert! I loved the first four, but petered out on the 5th. I think I read them too close together. I need to take another shot at the fifth one. I am a little in love with Jamie :)

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