The countdown to the next and final series of Game of Thrones may seem infinite (and the wait for the next book instalment even more so). But never fear, there is a big wide world of fantastical possibility waiting out there for you – namely Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander.
The first book in a series of eight, Gabaldon’s multi-genre Outlander encompasses a plethora of assets despite a myriad of faults that creates a surprisingly good, thick read.
On a post-war honeymoon in 1945 Scotland, the English combat nurse, Claire Randall finds herself faced with the good, the bad and the dirty of 18###sup/sup### Century living when she accidentally time-travels 200 years into the past. Finding herself suddenly stranded in 1743 with no connections or possessions to speak of, Claire embarks on a thrilling adventure of medieval life, complete with in-tact castles and bloody warfare.
With strange modern mannerisms and ideas that are vastly out of place for a woman in the 1700s, Claire is faced with one struggle after the next as she fights to prove that she is neither English spy nor dangerous witch and searches for a way back to her time - and husband. That is, until she starts to fall in love with the young and dashing, red-headed Highland warrior and outlaw, Jamie.
While I must admit that throughout the process of reading this book I cycled through a love for the careful integration of adventure, drama, fantasy, history and romance, followed closely by a hatred for the – at times – tedious repetition of the word ‘alacrity’ (among other imagery) coupled with some discrepancies in the early character development of Claire, by the end I would have happily opened the book to reread it all again.
Despite the sometimes-tedious amount of detail and the tiresome annoyance of dealing with the point of view of an English-woman narrated in American spelling, Gabaldon somehow continues to maintain a page-turning air of mystery that is the best quality of the book aside from a surprisingly enticing if at times sadistic romantic storyline.
I would not dare say that Gabaldon’s writing is anywhere near as good as the genius of George R.R. Martin. However, in spite of the many bones I have to pick with this book it is surprisingly good if you can bear the incongruities. While it is certainly not a book for everyone, Gabaldon provides an excellent springboard for anyone who enjoys a little imagination. Whether you’re looking for a single novel or ready to get invested in another series.