So, my review of Outlander for the 2009 Outlander Challenge and how I got hooked:
First of all, kudos to DG for writing this series based on seeing a man in a kilt on Dr. Who. Amazing! In 2004, my sister gave me Outlander to take on my vacation. The plane ride gave me enough time to really get into the story. Honestly, I had a difficult time adjusting to DG's style of writing, but it didn't take long and now when I read something else, I find myself comparing! Her very detailed descriptions and conversations is what struck me first. I guess then I figured out since I'm a fast reader, I had to slow down and savor!
It was not difficult to become comfortable with Claire from the start. She's sassy, sexy, intelligent and strong-willed. I found myself thinking almost from the beginning she did not belong with Frank, him being a historian and rather dull if you ask me! Claire's sense of adventure and love of life struck me as being quite refreshing for a main character.
I've always been a fan of time-traveling novels, movies, etc. I wish I could remember the title, it was book made into a TV movie in the early 80's, a woman looks into a mirror and is hurled back in time and becomes her grandmother. I think Lindsay Wagner played the part. I'm also a novice genealogist, so with these 2 interests, DG's method of time travel resonated with me from the start. DG has taken what is real(standing stones, gemstones) and intertwined what I consider a most fascinating fantasy of time travel most eloquently. Anyway, I digress.......
It wasn't until Claire said to herself..."he can ride me....." that I truly felt her passion and pictured Jaime as man who exudes his manliness without even knowing he's doing it! As I began to know Jamie throughout the book, his devotion to family, his sense of humor and I'm sure his good looks, how could Claire resist, even though she was married!
I absolutely loved that DG let us get to know Claire more by Column's insistance that she stay put in Castle Leoch. This gave the reader a chance to hone in on her medical skills and added substance to her character. DG brings us into the castle and daily lives of people of the 18th century giving us history of the times. Man, do I ever, more now than ever, want to time-travel!
Jack Randall is one of the most sinister characters I've met. One wonders if DG is a cumulation of Claire and Jack! While Jack Randall is evil and sadistic, the book would not be as sensational without him. Geillis comes in as a close second, more kiniving than anything! Brilliant characters all around. I would like to know a bit more about Dougal and Column and what makes them tick, perhaps we will if DG writes a prequel.
While Jaimie seems to come to Claire's rescue a bit too conveniently, DG makes it seemless and gives the reader a sense of his feeling towards Claire(they truly are two twined into one!)
The imprisonment and torture of Jaimie was rough to get through. I especially liked how DG brought Jaimie's kinsman into their adventures which gives the reader a sense of how close the Scottish clans were.
The ending was perfect, setting up for the next book with the reader salivating and giddy with anticipation!