26 July 2011

Outlander. (Mini-Spoilers Within.)

Author: Diana Gabaldon.
Genre: Historical-Romance.
Source: Personal Copy.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Book one in the Outlander Series.

Synopsis from Goodreads.com:
The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon--when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach--an "outlander"--in a Scotland torn by war and raiding Highland clans in the year of Our Lord...1743.
Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into intrigues and dangers that may threaten her life...and shatter her heart. For here she meets James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, and becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire...and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

My Review:
Well, after looking at (very) different reviews of this book, it looks like the reading experience can go one of two ways: you either completely love it, or you just completely hate it. I loved it. Completely, except for Claire. I would have given it 5 stars but I just didn't really like her. I can't exactly put my finger on why, but I will put it this way; if Claire Randall was a real person, her and I would not exactly be friends. Personalities just would not mesh well. Heads would constantly be butting because I think we are both quite stubborn. Claire especially.
Now, to be perfectly honest, I was very worried about starting this book, because it is so damn long. And there are even more, just as thick, books in this series. I believe you have to be very dedicated to these characters and the story in general to even want to continue if you made it through the first book. Which I am, dedicated. With the exception of Claire, I fell in love with quite a few of the characters in this book, especially Jamie. I'm not even going to lie, I was wanting him for myself by just the middle of this book, he is definitely my favorite hero I've ever read. I found him perfect, but not too perfect or "pretty" feeling. I really loved his total-complete love and dedication to her.
Speaking of Claire for a moment, while I didn't really like her, that doesn't mean I wanted to see her hurt in any way or that I wouldn't care if she were or not, even if she was about to harm herself with her own stubbornness. While browsing through others' reviews, I noticed a few talking about adultery. Now, while reading the book that didn't even occur to me that it was indeed going on. But I know exactly why: I didn't like Frank either. I never got the sense that they belonged together, especially after learning of their little separation which I know they couldn't have helped happening. I know that doesn't make it okay, but honestly, I just don't care about that. I really don't. Not just because I preferred Jamie, but I hardly even got to know Frank enough to care about his feelings. But I do know he must have been frantic and heartbroken once he'd realized Claire was most likely not coming back. I realize how awful that could be. But this story is told from Claire's point-of-view, so once Claire left her present day and her husband, so did I as the reader.
Though I do think Claire deserves some credit; she did try to get back to Frank as many times as she possibly could. But, when she was back at the stones and could have gone to Frank, she didn't. I believe I know exactly why; she had already fallen in love with Jamie. While that truly is horrifying for Frank (like I cared, honestly), I understood Claire's decision to stay there with Jamie. I was so relieved she chose him, because I think they really belonged together. I think Claire passed through the stones (even though by accident) for a reason: to find Jamie.
Now enough of sounding like a crazy-book girl; I wasn't quite sure what to expect in this book, therefore I found myself pleasantly surprised at all the history and action and adventure in it. I really enjoyed all of that. I've always been interested in Scotland and Ireland (though there is no Ireland in this book..), and it was really interesting for me to read it from the author's historical and well researched point-of-view. This was more than just a cheesy romance novel, it was (in my opinion) a magical and thrilling story of two people who managed to find each other (in an amazing way) in war-torn Scotland, and start a new journey in their lives together.

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