Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon

I’ve seen this series everywhere, and after finding it on NPR’s list of the Top 100 Fantasy/Sci-Fi (of which I want to try reading all–or most), I gave it a go.

Before I begin this review–two points. Despite making a fantasy/sci-fi list: This was a romance novel. Apparently one instance of time travel is enough to make it fantasy? I am not a romance-novel-reader. For the genre, I’m sure this book is good and all that jazz. For me, I had a hard time not rolling my eyes every five seconds. So take this review with my tastes in consideration (well, I guess that’s true of any review, isn’t it?).

The first third of the book was fun in a trashy way. This is a genre I never delve into, so I enjoyed reading something incredibly different from what I’d normally choose on my own. The second third of the book was sex. Sex scene, eat dinner. Sex scene, wander through the woods. Sex scene, unimportant conversation. And they weren’t even, you know, “good” sex scenes. And even if they were, getting beat over the head with sex will get old regardless.

Speaking of beating–the main character was beat by her husband early on, is mad for five seconds, and then forgives him/moves on/forgets it/falls in love. I am not okay with that.

The final third of Outlander was the first two-thirds of the book over again.This is a big book–900 pages. If this same things didn’t happen over and over again, it could have been a pleasant 300. Rape was threatened over and over again (to no lasting effect), people were jailed/taken captive and then rescued over and over (and over and over) again, people were on the brink of death over and over again. Characters were poorly introduced late in the story and then dropped–having merely been temporary tools for yet another captive situation. The realities of being transported back in time were glossed over completely, making romance the main character’s issue with time travel. Really? I think there are a few other concerns that would come up first. Like a lack of amenities and HUGE cultural differences. It is a quick read, if nothing else, as I finished it in less than a week. And I am glad I tried something outside of my normal range of reading–now I don’t have to read another romance novel for a long, long time.