Book Reviews

Outlander: Book Review and Why Did I Stop?

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It has been a while since I wrote something here. The last thing I wrote was the Shining movie review. So, I decided to write my thoughts on Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. 

I was going through my Goodreads profile and I noticed that I stopped reading Outlander in February and I was never motivated to pick it up again. But, I decided to give it another chance and I couldn’t do it at all, and so I decided to stop reading it because I can’t waste my time on it, and If I didn’t pick it up now, I will never will. 

By this time, most of us have heard of Outlander at some point wither it was the book or the show or both. The book follows the story of Claire Randall. After the Second World War, Claire and her husband Frank decided to go to a second honeymoon in Scotland. Then stuff happened and Claire finds herself in 1743 Scotland and through out the book (At least to the part I read) Clair is trying to find a way to go back to her husband. This is basically the main plot of the story.

I started reading this book because of all the hype around it and because I love historical fiction but mainly the hype what made me read this book. I was super pumped and excited at the beginning and I read it so fast, and then I started to slow down and I stopped at page 524 and couldn’t read more. So, I decided to take a break from the book, but that break resulted in me never picking the book ever again.

There are several things that I didn’t like about this book and I will start with the plot.

The Plot:   

The plot of the book was promising and even though I am not a huge fan of time travelling in books, I decided to give this book a chance. The first thing happens when Claire is in 1743 Scotland is that a man called Jonathan Randall tries to rape her. I noticed that this theme is repeated through out the book to make the story progress and develop in certain areas and it was annoying. 

Within the big plot, there are small plots, which made the book looks like a series of episode because the big plot by itself can’t carry the content for an 860 pages book. Some of these plots were good, some were bad, and some were just not necessary. Overall, the plot was good but the smaller plots were meh. 

I hated the violence and the constant attempts of raping Claire, it didn’t add anything to the story at all. Also, the sex was too much and over the top. Everything about this book actually is over the top.

The Characters:

I will start with our main female protagonist Claire. In the beginning I liked Claire. She is spunky and a little bit funny and adventurous. But, then she became annoying and reckless. In certain parts of the book, I felt that Claire wasn’t even thinking of what she is doing. She don’t think ahead, which really annoyed me.

Jamie is the main male protagonist, and everyone is just going crazy over him and I can’t see why! My problem with Jamie’s character is that sometimes his actions don’t match his beliefs and morals. His character wasn’t the best male character I read and I think that people are slightly exaggerating. His character have a lot of history attached to it, and you feel sorry for him but his past and his present are like two different and separate stories, and they don’t complete each other. 

There are a lot of characters in the book and the one I liked the most was Dougal because he sounded the most realistic to me and he wasn’t over the top as the rest of the characters in the book. 

The writing and the story flow: 

The writing of the book was beautiful and the descriptions were great. I felt that the author’s background as a historian really showed in the book and in the writing itself, and it’s very clear that Diana Gabaldon did extensive research to write the book. But, her background as a historian and academic had it negative effect too because to me the book sounded a little bit dense and stiff and was hard to get into it. But, in general the writing was the best thing about the book. The plot is what I didn’t like the most.

The flow of the story is really slow, which really bored me. The first 100 pages were slow, then the book picked up and the plot progressed really fast, and then when something important is about to happen, the pace is back to slow again. This is the pattern I noticed in the writing. I believe that the book could’ve been shorter because thorough out the book, I kept asking myself, “is it important to know this?,” or “How is this adds to the plot?”

Basically, if the book was shorter and without all the stretched out events it would have been much better. I love big books, but this one was just a drag and so boring.

The TV show:

Outlander-TV_series-2014
Picture Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outlander_(TV_series)

 When I stopped reading the book, the first 8 episodes of the show were already aired, and I decided to watch it because it might motivate me to continue with the book, and so I did watch it till episode 4 and I stopped. 

I liked the production of the show. It was beautiful and the set is amazing. The costumes are great and the characters choice was good. But, I still couldn’t continue with it. The show made me realize that I really didn’t like the story and the show won’t change that.  

What I want to say is that I gave up on this book, and I can’t see myself wasting my time reading a series were every book is 700+ pages because there are books that you can power through them and just be done with them, and there are these books where no matter what you do, you can’t just continue with them. I usually don’t give up on books and it was obvious because it stayed as currently reading for a round two months, but I learned that sometimes, giving up on a book is not a bad decision. 

Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars

TV show: 4 out of 10

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