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review 2018-01-11 22:24
The Outlander (Adamson)
The Outlander (Large Print 16pt) - Gil Adamson

Honestly, I can't imagine what Anansi Press was thinking, letting this first novel go out into the world with a title so similar to that of a pop-culture phenomenon. Otherwise, though, they have done well by Gil Adamson in both production and editing, and I'm very glad they published this interesting story.

 

Adamson deliberately distances us a bit from her characters. They are "the Reverend", "the Ridge Runner", the "Widow." The significance of "the widow" as the constant name for the protagonist -we don't get her real name until well into the book - is that it keeps at the top of our minds exactly what is always at the top of hers - that she has murdered her husband. And that same distancing relieves us of the responsibility of empathizing with her more than we want to, though you'd have to have a pretty black soul not to feel something by the end of her picaresque adventures through the Crows Nest Pass area in western Canada. The landscape is very definitely a character, and a cruel one, in this novel. It has its spectacularly climactic plot event in the Frank slide (a notorious 1903 landslide that wiped out a sizeable part of a mining town). I thoroughly enjoyed how well Adamson described it and wove it in to her story from several points of view.

 

The widow - Mary Boulton - is supported by a well-described set of supporting characters, one of whom, the reclusive Ridge Runner, becomes a romantic interest though not, thank goodness, in a conventionally sappy way that would have ruined everything we have come to know about both characters. I thought the inclusion of the Native characters was sufficiently nuanced and well-managed to meet the political correctness standards of our time, though Henry is a relatively minor character.

 

At the beginning of this novel, Mary is highly vulnerable, fumbling her way to survival and sometimes very nearly not making it. She is dependent on a series of saviours - an old lady (and her household), the Ridge Runner, Henry and his white wife Helen, and the Reverend Bonnycastle (working out his own demons of abuse in the rough mining town of Frank). But after she is finally caught by her slightly cartoonish Furies, a pair of red-headed giants (brothers of the ex-husband), Mary accomplishes her last escape from disaster without a saviour. This, I would say, is the principal emotional dynamic of the novel.

 

I did find this one a bit of a page-turner, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes period settings and interesting women's stories. I would warn off only those readers who have a strong need for emotional identification with a protagonist.

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review 2017-12-31 10:19
#83 - Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Outlander - Diana Gabaldon

I’d been wanting to read this book for ages and I’ve had it on my shelves for more than a year. I finally decided to read this monster and it took me an entire month to do it. It was really a great and interesting read nonetheless.

 

I loved the historical references in this book and the differences between how Claire and Jamie see the world; they come from completely different times. It was interesting to see Jamie changing his opinions about things thanks to Claire, but also the other way around. We often think we have evolved from our ancestors but we have many things to learn from them still. I’m not particularly fond of time travel but it was not that important in the book (weel, it’s the main theme of the book but it is not too dominating) (And I just noticed I wrote weel instead of well, which is my next topic about the book).

 

I took me ages to read it because it’s huge, but also because I was not used to Scottish language. I’m not a native English speaker, my first language being French, so I really had some difficulty understanding the dialogues at first. But then I got used to it and I was so invested in the book that I started to write words the way they are written in Outlander (I mainly use English at work). It was a really fun experience!

 

I did not particularly like the romance between Claire and Jamie at first; I thought it was going way too fast. But then I found that their relationship (and not only the sexy times) was really developing into something strong and it was interesting to read about it (the sexy times were interesting as well).

 

I’m not going to develop too much because this book is way too long and too full of interesting developments and I don’t have a lot of time (I really want to post this before the New Year). In brief, I enjoyed how realistic this book was, with a lot of humor and also a lot of not so funny events. I definitely recommend it.

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review 2017-07-03 00:00
Virgins: An Outlander Novella (Kindle Single)
Virgins: An Outlander Novella (Kindle Single) - Diana Gabaldon I love JAMMF, and I love a good bromance. This short has both. It's a look at Jamie and Ian before everything that has happened in the Outlander universe. Of course the author throws in plenty of historical events to keep things interesting also.
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review 2017-03-30 13:36
Book Review: Drums of Autumn
Drums of Autumn - Diana Gabaldon

It's been about 3 years since I read the last book in the series, and I honestly have no idea why I waited so long to continue! I just finished watching the 2 seasons of Outlander that deals with the first two books, so that's what prompted me to pick where I left off... but I honestly couldn't remember a single thing about the 3rd book except that it involved pirates and they washed up on the shores of America... even after reading the wiki for book 3 I still had trouble remembering, though I'm 100% sure I read it and enjoyed it! Luckily the wiki reminded me enough to not be completely lost, and there were also a couple of references and reminders in DoA, so at least I don't feel like I have to re-read it to know what's going on... not that re-reading it would be a bad thing, but my Reading Challenge would suffer immeasurably.

DG is a brilliant storyteller and has such a way with words that you don't even notice the pages flying past. Even though this was another monster sized book, I didn't feel like it was that long. Not a lot of huge exciting stuff happened, though at the same time, a lot of exciting things happened in a normal run-of-the-mill daily life in the 1700's kind of way...

Drums of Autumn picks up after Jamie and Claire wash up on American shores, and chronicles their years there. You've got slaves, Red Indians, Immigrants... and all the drama that goes along with it. It's another fascinating look at the history of a place, and this was very close to the beginning years of modern America. Generally it's a well known history, so it's nothing that you didn't really know, but DG goes into much more detail for a closer look at customs etc.

The characters are still lovable and it felt like catching up with old friends. Jamie is still his hard-headed self and Claire is still feisty. We're also seeing much more of Brianna and Roger this time around, while other characters like Fergus fades into the background. That's the one thing that GB does that I don't really like -- she spends a lot of time building characters, and then she discards them. I guess I can live with that as long as Jamie stays front and center <3

There was a lot happening in this book, and I'm guessing that I'll probably forget a lot of it over time as I did with Voyager. There were scenes that made me cry and Jamie made me laugh more than once. The part where (view spoiler) was so well done that the tears were rolling down my cheeks while I was laughing and my heart filled with emotion. I wasn't that worried during the "stressful" bits because you kind of know that nobody is really in life danger, but still... I actually really want to read the next book and find out what happens with Ian and his situation. Ian and Rollo has definitely grown on me and I hope to see more of them in the next book.

On the other hand, we have Lord John who I never really liked, though I don't actively dislike him either. I think he's a cool dude though, and his actions during this book did endear him to me quite a bit. He's definitely a more complex character than can be addressed in Jamie and Claire's books, though I've read a couple of the Lord John stories, but they weren't great tbh...

Jamie Fraser is still my favorite book-boyfriend, and although I usually don't like the female characters, I find myself really liking Claire. Even Bree is pretty cool. I think what makes them so likeable is the fact that they are flawed. Jamie is high-handed and stubborn and I would sometimes like to kick him in the shins. Claire is hot-headed and doesn't think before talking or acting, and sometimes you just feel like shaking her. But at the end of the day you love them, and the love they share feels more real than many other "romances" out there.

I would really recommend this series to pretty much everyone, though I wish DG would cut out some of the excessive stuff. It really doesn't need to be these huge long books, and most of the time they can probably be split into various other books! Still though... read it!

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review 2017-03-03 13:28
The Exile ★★☆☆☆
The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel - Diana Gabaldon,Hoang Nguyen

I’m really not familiar enough with the graphic novel format to judge it on its merits as such, so I’m only going to remark on how well I enjoyed it, or more accurately, did not enjoy it.

Although the story is told primarily from Murtaugh’s POV rather than Claire’s, it seems very much like the story I remember from reading Outlander many years ago. Of course, we get how much Murtaugh distrusts her and disapproves of Jamie’s relationship with her, but we already knew that. There’s also a new character added, who doesn’t seem to add much to the story. I didn’t find the artwork very impressive. At least, it didn’t especially help me to connect with the characters or the story. Overall, the book was okay. I’m not sure how someone who isn’t already familiar with the story would have enjoyed it.

I read this for the 2017 Romance Bingo. It would fit several of the squares:
Insta-love: Jamie desperately wants Claire and is willing to risk death to be with her within a few hours of meeting her.
Blown Away: The characters on the cover are certainly windblown, and in several of the panels the characters appear to be battling a high wind, although that just may be how the artist portays action.
Key to My Heart: If I’m interpreting this square correctly, Jamie and Claire are soul-mates, and their love enables them to share dreadful secrets that they hold very close.
Man in a Kilt: Every freakin’ panel has plaid or kilts, although there is a disappointing lack of hairy dude-knees
Eyeshadow and Heaving Bosoms: Claire’s boobs seem to swell and shrink throughout the book, but at times she could give Dolly Parton a run for her money. The artwork also seems to have gifted them with their own independent motion. They might even be sentient, they’re so lively.
Virgin Best First Time: This time, it’s the guy who’s the virgin, and the panel of them mid-coitus is hilariously captioned with a white thought-bubble over Jamie’s head, “Holy God!”
Wedding Bells: The whole plot revolves around the forced marriage trope
Historical Romance: Time-travel to the 1700s

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