Aug 23, 15
Read from January 03 to 08, 2013 — I own a copy, read count: 2
Re-read Notes Outlander was even better the second time, I picked up on tons of small details that I had missed and found a greater appreciation for Gabaldon's attention to detail.
During my re-read, I was suffering from an ear infection which made it difficult to listen to the whole book in audiobook form, so I switched between that and an eBook version. I am strongly in favor of the audiobook version, the emotion and skill with which Davina Porter narrates adds to the book in so many ways. Even when I was reading, rather than listening, it was her voices for the characters that I heard in my mind.
Note: This review contains comments on the audiobook narrated by Davina Porter at the end.
I was wary of reading Outlander, and wasn't sure what to expect. I had heard many conflicting things about the book and I hope to touch on most of them in this review. At any rate, I ended up loving the book.
The characters were easy to relate to them and I really felt and understood their emotions.
Claire, a WWII combat nurse and our heroine, was especially great. She is spunky, quick-witted, resourceful and has a great sarcastic sense of humor. Finding herself in the middle of the 18th century Scottish Highlands, she meets Jamie, who plays the hero. He's strong and independent (often to the point of stubbornness!), but he has his own monsters chasing him. The supporting characters were equally well drawn and unique. Even the main villain, who started out as a love to hate character, grew on me until I finally started to understand his viewpoint.
Historically, Outlander is beautifully researched, and paints a fantastic picture of the 18th century Scottish Highlands and clan life therein. I love when historical fiction ties large scale events into their world, rather than just taking place during a certain period of time.
Two of the main disputing points I've seen between those that loved and those that were disgusted by the novel are the sexuality and brutality of the novel, so I definitely want to say my peace in that regard. Yes, there is a lot of sexuality. Yes, there is beating, whipping, and rape - much if it with a good deal of detail. But I think that without it, Outlander would not be the book it is and, especially with the brutality, it really illustrates the time period where the book takes place. I didn't find any of it unnecessary or out of place. However, if you have a low tolerance for these types of things, Outlander may not be the book for you.
Davina Porter is an excellent narrator. She was able to distinctly portray both English and Scottish, male and female voices. It seemed as though almost all the major characters had a distinct voice. She's definitely going on to my list of favorite narrators.
I've already started the follow-up, Dragonfly in Amber, and plan on continuing with the series.