Book Review of Outlander (Outlander, Bk 1)

Outlander (Outlander, Bk 1)
Outlander (Outlander, Bk 1)
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
reviewed on + 14 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2

I began this book because I liked the concept: a nurse in post-war 1945 warps backwards in time to 1743 Scotland where she finds love and adventure in the Highlands...why did I finish the book? Most likely due to a sense of literary masochism (although I suffered through the S&M kind too in the latter pages--be warned!). The tragic irony is that in the beginning I had assumed the story would actually go somewhere, instead of looping around the same track multiple times, where nurse Claire and her kilt-clad lover gallivant, fight, make love, get captured, beaten, rescued (not necessarily in that order) over...and over...and over...

Jamie, the hot-blooded Scot, was probably the best developed character (relatively), although it may have been just the brogue. And he had the tendency to say the most inane things sometimes (a particular metaphor involving duckweed comes to mind...gag!). Claire is "feisty" and "spunky" (read: annoying), very erratic in behavior, and overall not very likable. At one point, potential intriguing material is wasted--Jamie must punish Claire, who has endangered the lives of his clansmen with her stupidity. This could have been a psychologically interesting scene, but instead it turns into a kiss & make-up/out session while the characters remain static. Another interesting time-traveling character is wasted later in the story, disposed of without answering some intriguing questions about the consequences of time travel. Issues remain simplistic and complexity, though tantalizingly dangled, is never pursued.

I could rant for pages about what I didn't like--long exposition sections containing important "clues" to the story, lots of superficial description of people/places, but nothing that develops the characters. And mistakes--picking fruit in April? Really? Am I the only one who noticed this? And finally, the bland language that served merely to record the action as if narrating a movie. But for all my griping, the book didn't really plunge into the abyss until around page 300 when the situation takes a really ridiculous turn, and the ending, smacking of religious-Freudian-voodoo did NOT do it for me at all. Blah.