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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Book Review: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Book 1 in the Outlander series
Unabridged, 33 hr. 8 min.
Recorded Books
Davina Porter (Narrator)
July 13, 2006

Genre: Historical Fiction; Time-Slip

Source: Downloaded the audiobook from Audible
Heat Level: '''''
“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.”
I put off reading this book for quite some time. I had the print version on my shelf for a couple years and didn’t get any closer to reading it the more time went on. I had heard from so many people, whose reading tastes are similar to mine, that the book was amazing and I need to read it, but for some reason I never picked it up. The impetus to finally deciding to read the book, and on audiobook instead of print, was the excitement within the historical fiction community leading up to the show. I just HAD to read the book before watching the show!

I haven’t read a book this good in a little while! It has everything you could want in a novel – no wonder it is hard to classify in terms of genre! There are battle scenes, blood, and brutality. There are sensual love scenes and scintillating sexual tension. And historical nature of the period just oozing from every page. Elements of this novel could certainly appeal to both genders.

There were moments that made me cry. There were two moments where I wanted to put the book down and not pick it back up because I just didn’t want to know what happened next (although my curiosity quickly got the best of me)! There were brutal scenes of pain and despair that you could feel deep in your bones. Your emotions are wrenched every way throughout this novel. I loved and hated characters in this book at different times. That all of these emotions were possible in one book goes to show how real these characters and how true their stories felt.

The audiobook ended with a preview of book two and it was extremely hard for me not to immediately pick up book two to figure out how exactly we are where the book begins [alas I had other reading commitments first]. This will be a series that I will eagerly return to time and again.

In my relatively extensive audiobook listening experience I have only found 3 narrators who were truly perfect for their role and who I would come back and listen to again and again. Davina Porter is one of those narrators! She had the perfect voice for our Scottish and English characters; for me her accents were spot on. Her pacing was perfect – even if 33 hours is a long time to listen to one narrator! She put real emotion behind her narration and truly contributed to the feel of this book and bringing the characters to vivid life. I am thrilled to see that she is narrating all the novels in the Outlander series.

Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | RJ Julia

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

If you would like a sample of the audio narration of Davina Porter try this excerpt or for the print version, try one of these: Excerpt 1 | Excerpt 2 | Excerpt 3 | Excerpt 4

You can also watch the trailer below to get an idea of this book:
This video is a trailer for the STARZ TV show, but season 1 will be based on the first book in the series, Outlander.

Also by Diana Gabaldon:

Virgins (Book 0.5)

Dragonfly in Amber (Book 2)

Voyager (Book 3)

Drums of Autumn (Book 4)

The Fiery Cross (Book 5)

A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Book 6)

An Echo in the Bone (Book 7)

The Space Between (Book 7.5)

Written in My Own Heart’s Blood (Book 8)

A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows (Book 8.5)

Diana Gabaldon has also written the Lord John Grey series which is a spinoff of the Outlander series and takes place during the events of Voyager.

Find Diana Gabaldon: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Copyright © 2014 by The Maiden’s Court


  1. This book just made me sigh. I was wonderful! I am currently reading book 3, Voyager and it keeps getting better and better. The only thing that I do not like about it that it takes focus to read, but at the same time this greatly enhanced the reading experience. I listened to Dragonfly in Amber and I agree that Davina Porter's voice is perfect. Everytime I read some gaelic I hear her saying it in my head. Hope you get the chance to read Dragonfly in Amber soon, Heather!

    1. Dragonfly in Amber is quite possibly my next audible selection. Have to finish reading GoT: Feast for Crows first.

  2. Maybe I'll read it. I'm really don't like watching the tv series or movie adaptations of novels. It ruins it for reading the novel because a lot of them don't capture the emotions as a book does. Therefore, I think I don't think I'll watch the show.

    1. I would certainly recommend reading it first. I have only seen 1 episode so far, but it has the feel of the book so far.

  3. It is so hard to find a good narrator, isn't it? I have hemmed and hawed about reading Outlander but everyone keeps saying how amazeballs it is, especially now that the TV show is out (not that I get Starz). I kind of put it off because I know it is a romance, but it is a historical romance and I have had a little luck with that.

    1. It is a romance, but it is a lot more everything else than a romance. I wouldn't have classified it as a romance myself.


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