James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser
Ha! That got your attention, didn't it??

I've noticed some chatter (mostly in the latest meme floating around) in the blog-o-sphere about the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. It seems that lots of people have heard of it but have put off reading it (perhaps due to the sheer size of the books) or have heard of it and have no interest in reading it. There are also those that have read the series many times and revere it to a disturbing degree. :o)

I thought I would offer my two cents to those who have the books (or at least Outlander) in their TBR piles.

I have read the first five books - Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, Drums of Autumn and The Fiery Cross - and have the A Breath of Snow and Ashes in my TBR. Yeah,yeah...I'll get to it. :o) So, see, I understand about the intimidation factor when dealing with these books. I look at ABOSAA every so often and consider reading it but so far it is too much for me to take on (please no SPOILERS - for any of the series -in any comments!!).

You know what the main appeal is? My title for this blog might be a clue. :o) JAMIE!!

You'll probably hear people talking about the attention to detail and the tons of research that obviously go into the books, the characterizations, the plotting...yada, yada. You know what hooks people in and makes them stick with series?? Our hero - James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser. Jamie is the lynchpin for the books. He is, simply stated, the most perfect romantic hero ever. (And I'm not even one of the scary, reverent fans!) Just look at the polls for favorite hero - he's always number one!

*Some brief examples of Jamie's wonderfulness:

From Outlander -
"I'm sorry," Jamie said. "I dinna mean to wake ye, lass."
"What are you doing? Why are you awake?" I squinted over my shoulder at him. It was still dark, but my eyes were so accustomed that I could see the faintly sheepish expression on his face. He was wide awake, sitting on a stool by the side of the bed, his plaid flung around him for warmth.
"It's only....well, I dreamed you were lost, and I couldna find ye. It woke me, and....I wanted to look at ye, is all. To fix ye in my mind, to remember while I'm gone. I turned back the quilt; I'm sorry you were chilled."

Chapter 24: By the Pricking of My Thumbs - Page 513

And in case you think he's a bit sappy:
"Looks as though it was a hard ride, Sassenach," he said, lightly touching a blue bruise on my inner thigh. "A bit saddle-sore, are ye?"
I narrowed my eyes and traced a deep bite-mark on his shoulder with my finger.
"You look a bit ragged around the edges yourself, my lad."
"Ah,weel," he said in broad Scots, "if ye bed wi' a vixen, ye must expect to get bit." He reached up and grasped me behind the neck, pulling me down to him. "Come here to me, vixen. Bite me some more."

Chapter 23: Return to Leoch - Pages 438-439

From Dragonfly in Amber (my least favorite of the books, actually but, oh, this quote sigh)-
"Well, I'll tell ye, Sassenach, 'graceful' is possibly not the first word that springs to mind at thought of you." He slipped an arm behind me, one hand large and warm around my silk-clad shoulder.
"But I talk to you as I talk to my own soul," he said, turning me to face him. He reached up and cupped my cheek, fingers light on my temple.
"And, Sassenach," he whispered, "your face is my heart."

Chapter 11: Useful Occupations - Page 205

And, finally, from Drums of Autumn (just so you know what we're dealing with) -
I glanced at the slightly bulging front of his breeches, and then up at him. Broad-shouldered and tall, with bold, clean features and a Highlander's proud carriage, he drew the glance of every woman he passed, even with his bright hair covered by a sober blue tricorne. The breeches, which were borrowed, were substantially too tight, and did nothing whatever to detract from the effect---an effect enhanced by the fact that he himself was totally ignorant of it.
"You're a walking inducement to harlots," I said. "Stick by me; I'll protect you."

Chapter 1: A Hanging in Eden - Page 9
*Copyright by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.

Yes, it is certainly not light reading - literally or figuratively. Yes, it is written in first person (mostly) and some people don't like that. Yes, there are paranormal elements (not many, really). So, should you tackle it?? Well, to those of you who are on the fence, I say "Try it! You may like it, Mikey!" Start small (-ish)...read Outlander (and give it a good 50 pages or so before giving up, I'll admit it starts off a bit slow). That way you can judge for yourself whether it is or is not a romance (my opinion?? YUP!) and whether or not you're willing to continue through the rest of the series.

What do you think??

For more info on all things Outlandish visit the Ladies of Lallybroch.

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posted by C2 at 8:37 PM | Permalink |


At 10:31 PM, Blogger Marg

I'll admit that Jamie is the main attraction but there's definitely others! Having read all the books, including A Breath of Snow and Ashes, I do wonder how many times our characters can be subjected to certain things but other than that it still is a very enjoyable series. The early books are the best though. My favourite is Voyager


At 3:13 PM, Blogger C2

Hi Marg,

Voyager is my favorite, too. For a lot of the extremely devoted it seems to be the least favorite, though. I'm not sure why that is.

I like Voyager best because it is the least wrenching, you know? I mean, yes, bad things happen but not so bad, relatively speaking.



At 7:07 PM, Blogger Jennie

Hey there,
I love Outlander. But after that I couldn't take the series. (I only got through numbers 2 and 3.) Your comment about them being too wrenching is so right. I think that's why I had to stop. Too many tragic things happening to these poor people!

I think I'd rather just reread Outlander, than trudge through the later ones.

And Jamie IS fabulous. ;)


At 8:30 PM, Blogger C2

I hear you, Jennie! That is the reason I haven't read ABOSAA yet. I haven't felt able to go through the emotional wringer... Maybe after summer is over. Winter seems a better time for heavy reads, don't you think?



At 9:22 AM, Blogger ames

I've read Outlander-but was daunted by the size of the other books to continue. And I'm okay with that. I don't need to read anymore from this series. :P


At 6:57 PM, Blogger C2

Aw, Ames...it's excellent, really! If you're in the right mood...and have been working out so the books don't make your arms hurt. ;-)


At 4:04 AM, Blogger Marg

Lifting these books IS how I work out!


At 5:05 AM, Blogger CindyS

Well, your choice of blurbs was definitely intriguing. Maybe what I have to do is create the genre blocker in my mind. I figure there is a lot of action and other things going on (I believe even separations which blow when I think about romance books) so if I think of it as a fantasy novel maybe it would work.

Dang. I just don't know.

I read to the part where they were married and then she met her first husband's relative and he koshed her in the face. That's as far as I got. I love dark stories but I think I was overwhelmed by the size of the book.



At 10:35 PM, Blogger C2

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


At 10:36 PM, Blogger C2

You know, Cindy, maybe you're onto something with the whole "genre blocker" idea. :o)

These certainly are not typical romance novels (of course, neither are the In Death books and I love those, too). I figure there will be a happy ending eventually (many books from now, based on how much time she covers per book and the amount of time she wants to cover overall).

Try Outlander again - and don't give up on it until Claire and Jamie become friends, at least. It's worth it - honest!


At 3:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous

hey people i have read all the outlander series except for ABOSAA and i juss wanna say im 13 years old and didnt ever complain once about the size of these books. no, i am not a bookworm, but if you find something interesting, you shudn't just leave it cuz its too big for you. if u truly wanna read a book,juss read it! -rebecca


At 12:48 AM, Anonymous Debra

the books are marvelous...love stories that follow characters through their lives...i guess because my life has been full of challenges, that it is good to see those coming through difficulties still with their love for each other intact...


At 4:18 PM, Anonymous Angela

I am currently reading Voyager and almost done. All of the books have been so good. She writes so well and there is so much emotion in each character - you can actually feel it. The fact that the books include so much history and cultural enlightenment, I feel like I'm being educated as much as entertained!


At 1:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous

Hi there, I think the story is nothing like you’re every day romantic novel. The one where hero meets young woman in need, falls in love … la di da. I`m kind of bored of them.
Jamie is just wonderful, he is a real sweetheart to Clare, and he would do anything for her. At the same time he is not perfect, but that is what makes him so real.

I had given up on books but after reading Outlander, my love for reading had return.
I love all Diana`s books and have no problem that they are so big.

From Germany


At 8:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous

I had never really read a book except in school. I made the comment to a friend that I'd like to have a good book to read and she gave me Outlander. God bless her! I have been HOOKED ever since! Outlander is far and above the best...but Voyager is my favorite. Jamie is AMAZING and indeed the perfect hero...but young Ian has stolen my heart. These books are huge...but if someone who never really read before can finish one in a week so can anyone!:) Jamie and romance aside (if one can manage that!) you have to give credit where it is unmistakably due... Ms.Gabaldon is a research MASTER. She says it is her passion. Her books are packed FULL of so much information... of Scotland, botany, indians, American history, history of ships, brothels, surviving in the wilderness, social life of the 1700's uperclass and lower, slavery...the list goes on and on and on! It's amazing. I fell so in love with Scotland that I had to see it for myself and took a trip there! I've laughed and sobbed and bitten my nails reading these books...and I can not wait to read An Echo in the Bone. :)