I usually don’t post bad book reviews very often because as a reader I find most reading enjoyable no matter what kind of genre or writing style; however, the first book in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon left me feeling massively disappointed. Today’s book review isn’t going to be good to say the least. I didn’t finish the first book. 😢😢
To begin I want to say I was incredibly excited to try the Outlander series and have the entire book series on my Kindle. The reason I was so eager to try the series out is because last year after having mouth surgery I was laid up for a few days and binged watched the first couple seasons of the TV adaption of the Outlander series. I loved and enjoyed the show immensely so obviously the books would be an excellent read that would make the story even better. I was sorely mistaken on that point.
Please read my review below as I discuss why this is one of those rare moments when my preference for the TV/movie adaption of a novel is way better than the actual book. I will continue the show but will not read the rest of the series. I can’t stomach reading another word of Gabaldon’s book. That is the truth. Now funny isn’t that I own every single book of this series and am not going to ever read them. Okay, not funny, it is sad and pathetic. I really truly from the bottom of my heart wanted to enjoy them! ….
I would like to discuss two things before I detail all the many reasons why I am going to be giving this book a 2 out 5 star rating. Firstly, I need to say it is very difficult for me to write a bad review because one it genuinely doesn’t happen very often at all. I usually love the books I am sent through publishers and those I purchase myself. It wasn’t easy deciding I wasn’t going to finish the book despite being well past halfway through the novel; but I was over it! Readers shouldn’t waste their time reading books they are not enjoying so I believe putting books into a DNF (Did Not Finish) pile is okay.
Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series is based on the premise of time travelling which actually is very entertaining. Who doesn’t love a historical time traveling romance novel? The book’s plot is centered around a young women Claire Beauchamp Randall who after WWII is on vacation in the Scottish Highlands with her husband Frank when the impossible happens. Claire finds herself transported to the past and is pushed face first into a 1743 Scottish clan war against the English. I do love Claire in both the book and TV show because she is a strong and brave women who just jumps right into the thick of things without panicking too much about how she will get home to the future.
Of course the book is a “romance” and that is where I take my first disliking to the story. As a reader I am a sucker for a good romance but that really isn’t the right way to describe the love between Claire and the man she is literally forced to marry for her own protection in 1743 Scotland. He is a typical brute and highly disagreeable in the novel.
I think Jamie Frazier was the biggest let down in the novel because I absolutely was disgusted with his character which is a bit strange because the TV show portrays him in such a different light and I absolutely adored him on the show. The Jamie on TV is much more easy to sympathize with and love than the book Jamie. Book Jamie is a lot more obnoxious, gruff, and way meaner than what he is like in the show. I am not sure how you could classify Claire and Jamie’s marriage as love. It is more of a controlling and dare I say abusive situation and poor Claire doesn’t seem to mind because what choice does she really have? By the time she is literally forced to marry Jamie, she has almost been raped, has no home, is being held captive by a Scottish clan. Claire is just trying to survive and figure out a way to return to her real husband and back to 1946.
My next dislike of this novel has to do with rape. I mean really? Who doesn’t get raped in this book and why does every chapter have to involve some form of rape whether it is with Captain Randall of the British army or Jamie Frazier’s uncle/mentor (I am unclear of the connection which happens a lot in this book. No clarity throughout). Gabaldon really missed the mark with how she seemed to favor writing in detail constantly of physical abuse with descriptive narration of the scenes yet her writing falls flat in other areas in such a massive way it left a bad taste in my mouth to say it the simplest.
Gabaldon has no trouble providing readers with every graphic ways to describe the brutality but somehow can’t make me as a reader connect with the characters. They have no substance whatsoever, and Claire is a bit of a ninny with no real depths. The author tries to give them personality by detailing to the readers the character’s unique history but a lot of it doesn’t do the trick; furthermore, the book has a lot of one liner history that need more. You cannot name drop the king of France and mention constant squabbles of the Scottish Clans without giving readers reference to the who they are and what they are about. Why was there a rebel and the significance? How am I suppose to understand how important a civil war is or a royal figure if the writer doesn’t spell it out for me? There is just no way and I found that lacking. Did Diana Gabaldon expect her readers to have extensive knowledge of Scottish history? I mean really …
I know this post is nothing more than a long rant of hate on the novel; however, it cannot be helped! There is so much that is simply terrible. An example of how awful it is would be when Jamie literally beats Claire for “misbehaving” and “not listening” to his orders. This is love? I am suppose to admire and support Jamie? As a reader the authors wants us to root for Jamie and Claire’s love except it is anything but and I refuse to accept that abusive and controlling relationships are love. I know there is a whole argument of well it is “historically accurate”. Nope. I don’t care. That argument doesn’t hold any weight for me. I am not interested in historically accurate if the novel is making my stomach queasy. I’ll pass. This is all I am going to write in regards to book one and the series because my rant has gotten a bit long-winded. The book simply isn’t my cup of tea and I will not attempt to read the work of rape obsessed Diana Gabaldon again.
Disclaimer: These are wholly my opinions and I don’t judge anyone for enjoying Gabaldon as a writer and the series itself. There was a lot of good ideas and some great writing in her book. My opinions are just simply that, an opinion. No way reflecting on the taste of other readers. I think all readers have unique perspectives and perhaps when someone doesn’t like a story they aren’t seeing it with the same perspective as another reader and vice versa. We are individuals here and if you loved the series than I think that is awesome. Finding books we love is always a positive in my world!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my book review. I would love to know what others thought of the series? I know I cannot be the only hater for the book but also know that there are many who love the series. Please let me know what about the series made you hate/love it. Leave a comment in the section below! ❤ ❤ ❤
FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA:
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1872088963090550/