Damn you Diana Gabaldon! Damn you for giving me a sleepless night!
Normally, even if I’m loving a book (as long as I’m not in the last 20% of the book), I can put it down when I’m tired or when I need to go to bed. But I found that every time I tried to put Outlander down, I just couldn’t do it. When I did put it down, it was so I could go get something to eat or to pee and then that once so I could grab a few hours of sleep before I woke up and went right back at it. (As a side note, Outlander is currently free at the Kindle store!!) Outlander was a serious page turner!
It was also fluffy romantic crap. But fluff romantic crap is enjoyable too, if done right. For the most part, Outlander was done right. I didn’t stop myself and say, “wow, I can’t read this!” or “This is really bad;” I was enjoying myself so much I wasn’t thinking of anything but the story of a time-travelling nurse and her adventures on the Scottish Highlands. I was busy enjoying my fluffy romantic crap, thank you very much.
But I do have a few complaints. I will keep them short and it’s nothing that won’t keep me from reading Outlander again:
- Up until the last page, I was actually enjoying how Gabaldon was brave enough to play with the conventions of a romance novel and then she kind of went for one of the big ones. This left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. In my head I was thinking, “No! No!” and in my heart was left unsatisfied. Imagine if there wasn’t a whole series of Jamie and Claire books. If that was the end, it would have been so very cliché.
- Claire complains about missing Frank about two or three times and we’re supposed to believe her? These complains seem to come out of the blue and most of them more or less happen in the second half of the novel when she’s quite busy with her new husband Jamie. I just didn’t believe the sentiment. I didn’t really need it; unless the author was going to make her missing Frank/choosing between Frank and Jamie a big deal, which I don’t think ever happened. I never once thought Claire would choose to return to her marriage with Frank. Ever. That was Gabaldon’s fault.
- The 1st person pov bothered me a little. It bothered me (at this is going to sound a little silly at first) because I noticed it. Normally, when reading a novel, I don’t really notice if the author chose 1st person pov or 3rd person pov or even 2nd person pov. I don’t notice this kind of stuff, except maybe cursorily, because I’m involved in the story. But when conventions and modes of storytelling interrupt the story, I notice them and they bother me. The purpose of things that tell stories (like pov) is to tell the story; the second I notice them over the story is the second that they aren’t doing their jobs. With Outlander, it was like the 1st person pov was only there at the beginning of chapters to introduce the next adventure and then it faded away into 3rd person pov. Upon looking over the text, I can’t really find a good example. Maybe I only noticed the pov because most of the time it seemed so well woven in that when it wasn’t absolutely seamless it seemed to stick out? I need to keep mulling over this one…
Even though I liked Outlander, I don’t see myself reading the rest of the series. In the long run, multi-book series tend to disappoint. You find yourself so invested in a group of characters that when the author screws up or takes the characters in a direction you never ever ever hoped they would go, you find yourself heartbroken (I’m talking to you Janet Evanovich)!
Oh and there are rumours of an Outlander movie. As most movies cannot even compete with the books that spawned them, want to theorize if Outlander-the-movie can even compete with the 850 page novel? Clearly, the script writers are going to have to leave something out… Most like a bunch of somethings; I feel like this may disappoint the millions of fans who follow this series.
There’s also an Outlander Graphic Novel called The Exile which came out in September 2010. I’ll leave you with a taste.
I guess this last picture was a little too graphic for the publishers, according to Diana Gabaldon
Next: Somehow my reading Paolo Bacigalupi has lead me to China Miéville. I think it must be that both authors were interviewed on I Should Be Writing around the same time/or my mind has decided that those interviews were connected in some way.