Outlander Challege Discussion: Outlander

2012.OutlanderThis year, Literary Escapism is hosting the Outlander Reading Challenge, a fabulous sage of love, intrigue, war, politics and everything else one would want in a story.  At a whopping 6,720 pages, this series is definitely one that can be a little intimidating for anyone who’s just starting; but one I believe is well worth the time and effort it takes.  So let’s take a look at this series together.

Each month during 2012, we’ll be discussing each novel from this series, as well as the Lord John spinoff, and I totally can’t wait to see how everyone is enjoying each novel.  This month, we are discussing the beginning – Outlander.

DGabaldon-OutlanderWhat do you think?  Did you enjoy Outlander? Is this your first time reading it or are you re-reading the series along with me?

Gabaldon includes a lot of historic accuracy, do you think this works well with the story or gets to be a bit much?

There’s nothing more I like than a brawny alpha male, and while Jamie is definitely that, there’s also that naivety and innocence that you really don’t see a lot of in alpha males.  What is it about Jamie that you love the most?  What drives you absolutely batty whenever he opens his mouth?

Claire adapts so well to life in the 1700s, that I don’t think I could have immersed myself so smoothly.  Would you have liked to seen more conflict on her part or should she not have struggled so much?

Was there a particular character, aside from Jamie and Claire, that sticks out for you?  Was there one that you instantly took a dislike to?

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to post a link to your review over on the challenge page.

About Jackie 3282 Articles
I am a 30-something SAHM with two adorable boys and a supportive husband who is very tolerant of my reading addiction. I love to read and easily go through about a dozen books a month – well I did before I had kids. Now, not so much. After my first son was born, I began to take my hobby of reviewing a little more serious and started Literary Escapism to help with my sanity. I love to discuss the fabulous novels I’ve read and meeting all the wonderful people in the book blogging community has been amazing.


  1. I love this book. I stumbled across it last year and was a little worried when I saw the size of the book and how tiny the font was compared to books now a days. However, I loved every minute of it. The story dragged a little for me at the very beginning but once Claire was sent back in time, everything picked up and the story started getting really interesting. I loved Jamie’s innocence throughout the story and how loyal he is to those around him. He has such a rough life but by the way he carries himself you would never know the hardships he went through.
    I should add that I went out and not only bought the anniversary edition but then my library sold their copy and I snagged that up too. Yup, I am in love.

    • I have to agree with you Kristin, the book is a little slow at the beginning, but yeah I totally loved it once she goes back in time. There were times where I though Ohh…she’s going back in time now, yes! oh wait, not yet, but now I’m running into times where I think I know what’s going on and then something happends that proves me wrong and I’m like I totally forgot about that, how could I have want to miss that. *grin*

  2. I’ve been a fan of the Outlander books since I read the first one right after the initial publication. I love Claire and Jamie and all of their adventures. Right now I’m listening to an Echo in the Bone. Oddly, I had trouble buckling down to read that installment. If you haven’t had a chance to listen to the unabridged books on CD, do take the time to do so. Davina Porter, who narrates the stories, is nothing short of magnificent.

    I’ve read or listened to Outlander six or seven times. It is my favorite of all of the books. The love story is wonderful. The history is so well done that a reader doesn’t realize just how much history s/he is absorbing.

    I’ve also read all of the Lord John books with the exception of the newest one. It is in my bag waiting to be opened. The gentleman who reads the Lord John books for CD is excellent as well.

    I’ll be anxious to read other people’s experiences in reading the Outlander books. Do you know that there are several tour groups in Scotland that specialize in taking tourists to the various site that are either real, like Culloden Field, or are similar to places like Castle Leoch or Lallybroch? Maybe some day I’ll get there!

  3. I picked up Outlander for the first time last year, and in the space of 6 months I had read all the books in the series (I’m impatiently waiting for #8, like everyone else!). I just could not put them down. I also agree that Outlander began somewhat slowly, but only because I knew Claire was headed back in time and I couldn’t wait for it! (I’m a real sucker for time travel stories.) Diana Gabaldon is a gifted storyteller and her characters are vivid, whole, and engaging. I have since gone back and read Outlander, some parts of it three times or more, and I get more out of it each time. For example, I didn’t give the ghost–the large Scot “in complete highland rig-out”–Frank met outside the inn where he and Claire were staying a second thought the first time, until I came back around the second time. Then, my heart broke, knowing the reason for the expression Frank described as, “terribly unhappy about something.” Her books are loaded with little clues like that, that make re-reading her stories such a joy.

    • I hadn’t caught the ghost apparition meeting with Frank either. As I was reading it this last time, that’s when I realized it had to have been Jamie. Can you imagine how heartbreaking it must have been to know that, while he knew about Claire this early in the book, she had yet to meet him and had no idea. I would’ve been “terribly unhappy” as well.

  4. Hi!
    Loved this book, this is my first time reading it. I didn’t really think I’d like it because of the time travel thing, but it’s a really great book! Can’t wait to get started on the next one. Have a great day!

    Just Books

  5. This was my third time through Outlander and my first time listening to it as an audio book (my first time ever listening to an audio book). With a cranky newborn who takes hours of rocking at night listening provided the perfect option. Now rather than dread trying to get him to sleep I look forward to the hour or two of Diana Gabaldon care of Davina Porter!

    I can find new reasons to love Outlander with every re-read! The book and entire series has so many layers. I can superficially enjoy the adventure and love or I can think more deeply about character’s motives and plot twists. The first time through I also spent a good bit of time familiarizing myself with the history of the times which was an added pleasure. Fitting no genre and written so well I’ve found no matter my mood I always enjoy reading it!

    I never really struggled with Claire’s seemingly fast adjustment. She grew up with her Uncle living fairly rough and she was just back from the war where life was anything but comfortable. In addition she couldn’t really share openly that she was struggling with people, who would she tell and how? Lastly I just assumed whatever turmoil she felt wasn’t explicitly written as it wasn’t all that vital to the story and kind of boring.

    Of all the additional characters introduced in Outlander Jamie’s sister and her husband (Jenny and Ian) are probably 2 of my favorites. Jenny’s sharp and quick and a fine match for her brother and Ian is a wonderful compliment to Jenny. I do enjoy Column as well – the more I’ve read Outlander the more interesting he becomes to me.


  6. Something else keeps me coming back for more…I learn something in every book. In Outlander, I learned a bit about Scottish history and Bonnie Prince Charlie. I learned about the healing properties of herbs, Scottish justice, its feudal system. I feel like, not only am I reading a really good story, I’m getting a bit of an education, too.

  7. I have read this series at least 3 times and love it each time. I have only managed to read half of it this month although I will finish it and hopefully have finished the next one by the end of February.
    Jamie is my absolute perfect man, especially in the early books, but even as it gets further on. I had an a-ha moment about halfway through the first read when I clicked about the ghost.
    I have never really been one for audio-books, but listening to your reviews here, I may just have to look out one for my next read.

  8. My fourth time with Outlander, this time on on audio. I love hearing the pronunciations that I have completed butchered these past 20 odd years!! I am listening primarily with my ipad, and I love the instant access to the internet. I am able to look up a word, a reference, an image, and oh, so much more. Reminiscent of my mother with her dictionary, thesaurus, encyclopedias on her end table, but so much more portable, accessible, etc.

    I read Outlander for the first time as a young mother starting my second marriage. I REALLY identified with Claire. My adoration for Jaime was less mature than it is now, as then I saw him filtered through Claire’s eyes. Now I know so much more about him and his character, so I see things about him that didn’t stand out as much before. I am less appalled by his seemingly ruthless behavior and more impressed at his handling of the impetuous Claire.

    It will be fun to reread the entire series this year with all of you.

  9. I loved Outlander! I don’t think I would have adapted so well to life in the 1700s, but I would like to think that I would have done reasonably well for myself!

    What I loved the most about Jamie is how romantic he could be. He is, quite likely, the most romantic hero that I’ve ever encountered!

    I was a little afraid to start the book because of the book length or, in my case, the audiobook length: at nearly 33 hours! I was worried that it wouldn’t hold my interest for the duration but I was wrong!

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