About This Blog

This blog was started as a place to post book reviews. The books reviewed here will be mixed. Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, General Fiction, NonFiction and more. Both positve and negative reviews will be posted, as well as reviews for books written for all ages and all reading levels.

Many of the books reviewed here are ones that I have purchased for my own reading pleasure. Some, I receive free in exchange for reviews. Beginning in December, 2009 you will know which are the free ones if you read the final paragraph of my reviews.

Also of note: I choose what I will read, attempting to avoid the books on which I would end up writing a negative review... but I have been known to make mistakes. Thus you see some one and two star reviews here. Since I don't enjoy writing negative reviews, I only write them if the review was promised, or if the book was so exceedingly bad, I just had to say so. Regardless of the percentage of positive to negative reviews on this blog, I give my honest opinion each and every time, and have never received financial compensation for posting my reviews.

Note that, except for fair use portions quoted from some of the books reviewed, all copyright in the content of the reviews belongs to Lady Dragoness.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Alternate History

By Diana Gabaldon
Publisher: Dell (1992)
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 850 pages
Rated 5 Stars of 5 Possible

In 1945, Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon—when she innocently touches a boulder 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 border clans in the year of our Lord...1743.*  Thus begins Outlander and its six - yes, six sequels... and more to come.

There is a heavy element of romance in Outlander and all those massive sequels, so the publisher classifies them with the romances, though these epic tales contain so much more than just romance. The author says her Outlander books "...belong to no genre -- or to all of them, according to how you want to look at it."  I'll go along with the all genres point of view.

Initially, I was a bit disappointed that Outlander does not contain as much fantasy as I was hoping  for, but that disappointment quickly took a back seat. The historical aspect of Outlander captivated me from the beginning and I was delighted to find that, despite the heavy romance elements - which I was delighted to find were not entirely formulaic - my interest in the story never waned. The action and adventure kept me entertained from the first page all the way to the last... I had a difficult time putting this book aside for sleep, so huge amounts of my waking hours were spent engrossed within the pages of this excellent book.

While Outlander contains a considerable amount of violence, that aspect of the story isn't entirely gratuitous.  Readers who are up on their history will know that 18th century Scotland was characterized by the Jacobite rebellions of 1715 and 1745, the latter of which will account for much of the violence.  Another reviewer mentioned the Scottish clan tartans as used in Outlander being an anomaly in that time period, however, that is a minor point that should not interfere with the reader's enjoyment. If not for that reviewer's mention of the historical inaccuracy of that point, I never would have known, and for me, it did not detract from the story.

* Synopsis of Outlander, copyright Diana Gabaldon.

Recommended reading for adults 18 and up who can tolerate the violent aspects of a novel for the sake of historical accuracy.

This review has simultaneously been published on Amazon.com, Dragonviews, and LibraryThing.

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