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Old 02-19-2014, 11:09 PM   #1
WT Sharpe
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February 2014 Discussion: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (spoilers)

The time has come to discuss the February 2014 MobileRead Book Club selection, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. What did you think?
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Old 02-20-2014, 01:44 AM   #2
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I liked the book, but was waiting to discover what became of the "ghost" Frank saw. I assume that was Jamie, but it was never explained. As there have been seven sequels, several short stories, and a graphic novel, I suppose that the question has somewhere been answered.
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Old 02-20-2014, 08:50 AM   #3
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I liked the book, but was waiting to discover what became of the "ghost" Frank saw. I assume that was Jamie, but it was never explained. As there have been seven sequels, several short stories, and a graphic novel, I suppose that the question has somewhere been answered.
There was a rumour on a discussion board on Goodreads that the author has said that scene would be explained in the very last book of the series.

Outlander is one of my favourite series, but I did like subsequent books more than the first. For those that only read the first book, do you plan to continue the series?
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Old 02-20-2014, 10:35 AM   #4
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I was thinking about it, and am encouraged by your statement that the subsequent books are more likable; especially as I liked the first one.

BTW, I read a lot of complaints about the graphic novel, Exile. People seem to rate it either 1 star or 5 stars, and it seems to me that the 1 star ratings were given mostly by long time fans of Diana Gabaldon. The complaints seemed to fall into two categories: (1) those who felt the artwork was inconsistent and felt a different artist should have been chosen (one said that Jamie and Claire looked like characters out of Speed Racer) and (2) those who were disappointed with the story, saw the characters to be hollowed out shells of the characters in the books, and felt that Gabaldon should have maintained tighter control over her creation.

Said user reviews of the graphic novel can be seen at the Barnes & Noble website.

The artwork is very inconsistent. Some is fantastic, some is cartoony.
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Old 02-20-2014, 11:21 AM   #5
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I liked it. I"m only 66% through, but I don't think that's going to change. I've only read one other romance novel and it was interesting to me that the marriage happened early on and we got to see them negotiate life as a couple and deal with problems together. I don't think I like it enough to continue the series, but I only have time to read 1-2 books a month and have to be very selective. I haven't read the graphic novel but I can sympathize with the complaints about the inconsistent artwork. When I started reading Fables I literally couldn't recognize that a character was the same one I'd seen earlier until it became clear from the dialog.
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Old 02-20-2014, 11:54 AM   #6
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I won't read the graphic novel, just because I don't enjoy them in general. I did read the Lord John Grey spinoff series, which is more strictly historical fiction, maybe with a bit of mystery thrown in. I love series that cut across different genres.
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Old 02-20-2014, 01:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
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...I haven't read the graphic novel but I can sympathize with the complaints about the inconsistent artwork. When I started reading Fables I literally couldn't recognize that a character was the same one I'd seen earlier until it became clear from the dialog.
I haven't read the graphic novel either, but I can well understand the complaints about inconsistency. It's as if the artist was rushing the ending panels to beat a deadline.
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Old 02-20-2014, 06:11 PM   #8
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Outlander is one of my favourite series, but I did like subsequent books more than the first. For those that only read the first book, do you plan to continue the series?
Funny, I've read all the Outlander books and I liked the early books,especially the first two, best by far. The Fiery Cross was one of the most boring books I ever read and I took a hiatus for a bit after that one. Curiosity took me back.

I had to take two stabs at reading Outlander, as the first time I was so outraged by errors in the first few pages that I literally (yes, literally) threw the book across the room, and that's a honking big book. But I picked up the ebook when it was free and tried it again, and did get sucked in.

One of my pet peeves: when writers of historical fiction get the facts wrong. Outlander starts in March 1945 (I think this was changed for obvious reasons in the British version) with Frank and Claire, two serving officers in the armed forces, off on a second honeymoon in Scotland. World War II was still going on! Hitler was still alive! There is just. no. way. Compounding this, they were consuming food and gas at a rate flatly impossible for any ordinary person at that time.

My next two errors were admittedly of the nitpicky variety, but I was loaded for bear after the whopper. Claire refers to the "Royal Army". It's not the Royal Army, it's the British Army. The other services are royal. And the name of the iconic perfume is L'Heure Bleue, not L'Heure Bleu, which is not only wrong, it's ungrammatical.

So I have to conclude that much of Gabaldan's vaunted research was pretty spotty, at least in the first book. I noted she also tended to get the correct form of titles wrong; this improved in later books when no doubt her research was better.

OK, I'm done venting. I enjoyed the book. A page-turner, it moves very quickly for such a long novel. Good fun once you decide to enjoy the ride, although I'll never find spanking an unwilling person sexy. Yeah, autre temps, autres moeurs and even Ricky spanked Lucy, but I still don't like it.

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Old 02-22-2014, 12:47 PM   #9
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Being a newcomer and all, I hesitate a little to share my thoughts about this book. I was a little apprehensive about reading a romance novel to begin with, but when I saw the range of books in the choice we had I was encouraged.

Unfortunately, I really didn't like this book. Perhaps I'm just too male, but the romance aspect of the book really did hijack what could have been a good story. I actually had an easier time believing someone could step through stones and find themselves in a different time than believing the love story.
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Old 02-22-2014, 01:52 PM   #10
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Being a newcomer and all, I hesitate a little to share my thoughts about this book. I was a little apprehensive about reading a romance novel to begin with, but when I saw the range of books in the choice we had I was encouraged.

Unfortunately, I really didn't like this book. Perhaps I'm just too male, but the romance aspect of the book really did hijack what could have been a good story. I actually had an easier time believing someone could step through stones and find themselves in a different time than believing the love story.
I like hearing how a story works from both a male and female view. I have read a number of books written by male authors where the female's behaviour didn't ring true to me. Did you feel that Jamie didn't behave as a man actually might?
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Old 02-22-2014, 02:14 PM   #11
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I like hearing how a story works from both a male and female view. I have read a number of books written by male authors where the female's behaviour didn't ring true to me. Did you feel that Jamie didn't behave as a man actually might?
You got it! I had a hard time believing Jamie was thinking or acting like a man most of the book and particularly from that time era.

I've had a hard time in the past when female authors write in the first person from a male perspective. Larry's Party by Carol Shields comes to mind; a highly acclaimed book, but I always felt like Larry was thinking like a woman. More recently The Antagonist by Lynn Coady did the same.

I felt that Jamie thought and acted like a woman most of the book. I'm not a prude and I don't have a problem with some sexual detail, but how Jamie lost his virginity, while performing like a sensitive pro was just laughable.
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Old 02-22-2014, 03:26 PM   #12
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It's good to hear about it from a different perspective. I prefer the subsequent books because Claire is more mature. And I do understand how Jamie's "sentimental" nature might irritate a guy after a while.

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Old 02-22-2014, 03:50 PM   #13
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Actually, rather than Jamie striking me as not behaving as a man might be expected, it was Claire who seemed to me to be the one who was not acting in a traditional gender role. Most specifically, it was the way she seemingly had no qualms about bedding Jamie for her own purposes that struck me as something a man would be more likely to do. Of course, the fact that she was quite the warrior by the book's end did nothing to lessen that impression. But overall, despite Claire's relatively easy acceptance of the necessity to sometimes solve her problems with a knife, I had no real trouble with the gender roles of either of them.

I will say I didn't understand their mutual enjoyment of pain during sex. Maybe I've just been doing it wrong, but it seemed a tad perverse. Oh, well. Different strokes as they say....
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Old 02-23-2014, 09:42 AM   #14
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I'm afraid that the historical inaccuracies have caused me to abandon this. The story just wasn't good enough for me to continue with it past the first couple of hundred pages. Being dragged out of the story very few pages because something strikes me as wrong is too wearying, as I then have to check up to see if I was right about the anachronism.

And Claire gets it on with Jamie does she? What about how outraged she was at the mere suggestion she might have been unfaithful during the SIX YEARS she didn't see her husband because of WWII? That just doesn't ring true at all.

I can tell that many here liked it a lot, but I didn't find it worth finishing, and it's rare that I don't finish a book.

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Old 02-24-2014, 01:47 AM   #15
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I started to read this book years ago, but abandoned it very quickly. Since then I have read a couple of other books involving time travel, "The Time Traveler's Wife" and Connie Willis's "To Say Nothing of the Dog", and I loved both of them, so I decided to give "Outlander" another try. This time I abandoned it even earlier.

I have read Gabaldon's "Through the Stones", where she described the way she had written the book, and I thought that was quite fascinating. She obviously got a lot of fun out of writing it, and a friend who enjoyed it described it as "a light-hearted romp". However, I don't normally read romances, and the time travel aspect did not stretch my imagination, the way the other two books did.

Just not for me!
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