Monday, September 22, 2014
“All right you bloody Scottish bastard, lets see how stubborn you really are.”
Review: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
After watching the trailer for the TV show, I was totally convinced I NEEDED this book in my life. I was lucky enough that Audible had it for its daily deal for cheap last month, as such, I was able to jump into the Scottish bandwagon quick enough.
The Audiobook is brilliant. It consists of 33 hours of Davina Porter's magical tones. She is a tremendous narrator and her voice, accents and inflections are just beautiful. There were some passages I just had to share with my hubs because of the cheer loveliness of her voice... its truly mesmerizing. In more than one occasion I just closed my eyes and let her take me to these beautiful places she narrated. So, as you can imagine, I am completely satisfied with the experience of listening to it in audiobook.
The Book. I am torn. On one hand, it was majestically written. I cannot imagine the amount of research it took, not only to portray historical events, but to actually describe a setting, customs, flora-fauna, people and points of view. If I where to wonder about the use of cultural relativism (the view that all beliefs, customs, and ethics are relative to the individual within his own social context) in fiction, this would be the book I would use as an example. It was pretty clear to me from the beginning that this story was not going to sugarcoat lifestyles and beliefs and I didn't mind it a bit. However, the THING that I am torn about is the books' take upon time-travel.
I know. Really? I am going to be picky about it? ... well, yes.
For starters, I was really expecting something more in the lines of Dr Who... I know! I am lame for I didn't read enough reviews to figure out this was just going to be more on the historical romantic side than on the sci-fi side, and this is my fault. But being this my review, I must say I am, if not disappointed, just not satisfied with the take on time-travel. I think that Clare's pragmatic take on her circumstances were too simplistic. She was raised by a scholar who traveled the world, more or less an archaeologist, so she must've had engrained, not only on her schooling, but on her surroundings the importance of historical events/artifacts and how ANYTHING may be an effect from the past, thus her ACTIONS when she travels to the past WILL for sure affect her present-time. This, she only wonders briefly at the end of the book... SERIOUSLY? It didn't make sense to me.
Secondly, Claire's attitude, descriptions and ultimately adventures might as well be part of a visit to an exotic place in her own time. What I am trying to say is that time-travel was more of an excuse to show an exotic place/culture rather than a strong storyline. I think that she might as well had just visited another continent/city during her present, and the story would have been exactly the same. The whole "I come from the future" wasn't at all important, necessary or explained. I am sure this has another take on the following books from this series, but quite frankly, I was not convinced.
I really enjoyed the story, as far as descriptions, adventures, characters, lifestyles and plot goes, I am glad I read it. I was just expecting more!! I don't think I'll read the following books since this one clearly reminded me that historical fiction is not my thing! Give me ghosts, Loch Ness monsters and witchcraft as main characters and plot devices, then I will be a happy woman who reads all the books.
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