All posts tagged Diana Gabaldon

The choices so far:

IMG_3626Managed to work through my book shelves of books not read, and found some great choices for the 2015 Reading Challenge List.

A few of the choices so far: Read more…

Reading Retrospective 2014

Well, apparently 2014 wasn’t a particular strong year for reading total; to say the least, it was a crazy busy year with major changes and new beginnings. Without realizing it though, it seemed the year of M/M novels, with 32 books falling within that genre; over half of my total books read. My greatest find was Westwind by Ian Rankin, making me squee not only because it was a rare out of print find, but because it officially allowed me to complete all of his novels published at the time. Another semi-happy but semi-sad squee (do those even exist!?) was the penultimate Ty and Zane novel by Abigail Roux; I loved it so much, that I had to read it back-to-back. And then don’t even get me started (or maybe do?) on the first full-length novel for Nick and Kelly; I will forever be an Abigail Roux fan. I read some really weird things; books that actually made me gag and skip sections because it went WAY past my comfort zone (of which I didn’t know that I had one). Of course, there were flops and of course there were amazing reads. As always, take a look at the list. I hope a few peak your interest like they did mine. Read more…

Read or Watch? Outlander

I cannot express how excited I am to be writing this ‘Read or Watch’ post because it is something that I have been waiting to do for years: should one read Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, or watch Outlander, the television series? SQUEEEEEEE!!! 😀

Read more…

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How many copies of one book can a girl have? Absolutely love this series! On my third read of Outlander in prep of the TV show! Couldn’t resist the TV tie-in edition as well.

Review: No Rest for the Dead

No Rest for the Dead by Andrew Gulli et al.

The cover speaks for itself as to why I was drawn in: Twenty-six authors. One mystery. I was intrigued; I find it difficult to imagine how two authors manage to co-author a novel, let alone twenty-six. The fact that it was also a mystery novel sealed the deal. Read more…

Chronicling A Series: The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon (3)

Voyager (Book 3)

Voyager by Diana Gabaldon, proves that she is able to write a novel, where pretty much anything goes, while maintaining believability. Hidden centuries-old treasure, pirates, murder, smuggling, and prophecies are just a touch of what Gabaldon throws into the mix. It is perfectly normal to mentally ask yourself whether Jamie and Claire have a normal day, while reading this novel. The fact that she can include happenings such as the ones that I have listed above, and still keep the reader’s attention, speaks to her talent as an author. Particular authors may fall victim to their own imagination, causing the reader to scoff at any fantastical occurrence. This luckily does not happen for Gabaldon, who is able to pull off a very fantastical story and make it real for millions of readers who flock to her novels. Read more…

Chronicling A Series: The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon (2)

Dragonfly in Amber (Book 2)

NB: Please note that because this series of posts will be discussing the progression of reading the series, there may contain spoilers. I will do my best to keep what I tell of the storyline, to what is clearly known, and can be found of the cover of the book, itself; should a spoiler find it’s way into these posts, the paragraph which contains it, will be preceded by a warning.

Was this really the second time I’ve read this novel?

When discussing this series with potential readers, I always describe Dragonfly in Amber as the second-half of Outlander. Essentially, it is the continuation of what remains unresolved in the first novel; Outlander and Dragonfly in Amber, from this perspective, can be viewed as one entire episode of the life of Jamie and Claire Fraser.

I mentioned in the first post, that coming back to Outlander was done so with a clean slate; returning to Dragonfly in Amber was done so with a blank slate! From the very first page, what happened in Dragonfly in Amber was completely new to me; it was like I had never read the novel before.  I’m kind of wondering what I have forgotten from the rest of the series!

Jamie and Claire have taken on a daunting task; because of Claire being from the future, she has knowledge of historical outcomes that can save lives. On the mind of both Jamie and Claire, is the impending battle at Culloden, led by the Bonnie Prince Charlie. With Claire’s knowledge that Culloden ends terribly for Charles and his Scottish followers, Jamie sets out to try and stop it. The story of Dragonfly in Amber, takes us back to Scotland, as well as France. We meet some very important characters who will carry on the story (and create their own) later in the series, but we also learn some very important key facts regarding Claire, Jamie, and Roger Wakefield (who was very young in the beginning of Outlander). The twists and turns in this novel are extensive, making it even more awe-inspiring that I forgot about 99% of this novel! Of course, I’m not going to blow those twists and turns out of the water for you, but just remember that there are some shocking revelations, should you choose to pick up Dragonfly in Amber.

Dragonfly in Amber is the reason we started reading Outlander; for those that wanted to read about the Jacobite uprising, as well as meet (as much as possible) Bonnie Prince Charlie, the story finally reaches its climax in this novel.

What a Story …

Dragonfly in Amber, by itself, is quite a tale! Scenes, as well as some skirmishes 😉 are absolutely classic! If you think that 900+ pages are going to be daunting, the effort is well worth it! Political intrigue, historical battles, high-end French living, duals, beatings and witchcraft (or should I say medicine?) keep the attention fixated and fascinated. Gabaldon has caught the reader’s attention in Outlander, by ending with an implied ‘to be continued’ and she doesn’t fail to deliver with Dragonfly in Amber. It is in this story that we learn about Scottish pride, which in the bleakest of moments, never seems to falter; we learn about a love that transcends time, causing a woman, centuries later, to find her husband who may have died on the battlefield. It is in Dragonfly in Amber, that we learn of a man that will do everything in his power to save the woman he loves (even if it means changing history).

What else can I say?

Just like with Outlander, I strongly encourage you to read Dragonfly in Amber. Without spoiling the entire story (because so much happens, placing it succinctly in a post would be near impossible), Dragonfly in Amber is a tale of love, war, and surviving. Most of these themes will carry on throughout the series; Dragonfly in Amber is just the beginning.

Following Dragonfly in Amber, the third novel in the Outlander series is Voyager.

Chronicling A Series: The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon (1)

Outlander (Book 1) a.k.a Cross Stitch

Let’s Try Writing …

Twenty years ago, a woman decided to give writing a try; I don’t think there was any way for her to know the impact that her novel would have, or the fan-base it would gather. That author is Diana Gabaldon, and the first novel, in what has become an iconic series, is Outlander.

A Little Recap …

This is my second reading of the novel, but I am reviewing it as if it is my first time. With over five years since I had first read Outlander, this second reading was almost like I had never picked up the novel before. If you’ve read Gabaldon, you know that the amount of detail in these novels is immense; I had particular scenes that I remembered (because there are some that you will never forget), but the overall detail and general storyline, were a little foggy. The advantage of this is the ability to enjoy Outlander just as much as I did the first time. I was introduced, again, to my love for the Outlander series and its characters, without having the bias of my previous read. I probably laughed, smiled and cried in the same places, but my memory was a clean slate.

 

So What’s it About?

Claire Randall is spending her honeymoon with her husband, Frank, in the mystical Scotland, just after the war, when she suddenly finds herself in a very different Scotland. Transported to the 18th century, through a mystical stone circle known as Craigh na Dun, Claire is catapulted into a time of intrigue, violence, and extremely hard living (that may be the understatement of the year). There, she meets her husband’s ancestor (who makes quite an impression), as well as the young (and equally memorable, but in a different manner) Jamie Fraser. What follows, is for me to leave unspoiled, and for future readers to find out.

Oh Outlander, Why Do I Love You So?

Outlander will always have a special place in my heart; to say that Gabaldon is a skilled storyteller is an understatement. Her ability to keep readers’ attentions, not only through a 600+ page novel (depending on the edition you buy), but also through a series of 8, and possibly more, 600+ page novels, is quite an accomplishment. Her novels bring history to those that do not want to read a textbook; reading the Outlander series is going to build up your knowledge or even peak your interest in the turbulent times that Gabaldon touches on.

My love for the Outlander series, and the first novel of the same name, stems from Gabaldon’s characters: good, bad and ugly. I’ve mentioned it before, in other posts, and I’ll mention it again; there are characters that a reader meets that quickly become a part of your family. Gabaldon’s characters are just such individuals. They quickly become real, and it is a sad event when the last page of one of their novels is read. Probably the most loved characters of all time are her main pair: Jamie and Claire. These two characters are so dear to one’s heart (including mine), that after a long period without them, meeting them again brings a sigh of relief. You don’t realize how much you miss them until you are given another one of their adventures (and, boy, do they have adventures!). Jamie Fraser, in particular, is, to me, one of the most romantic and heroic characters that I have ever met. Gabaldon does an amazing job of making her characters real, and not just muscle-bound men (for example) who look great in a tight pair of pants (or a kilt, in this case). Jamie’s life is exquisitely built from the moment you meet him, at the age of 19, with hints of what has happened before. Gabaldon doesn’t forget one little detail from her character’s lives; issues that occur in Outlander will guide and affect them as they grow and develop. In Jamie’s case, there are a few particular scenes that will leave a lasting effect, creating the man that he grows into. This is why her characters are real; simply because they act real.

Her villains are also magnificent; from the blatantly vicious characters, to the subtler and conniving villains, Gabaldon creates men and women that will leave a chill running down your spine long after they leave a scene. It is difficult to say which type of villain is more effective. Although the blatantly vicious characters (I’m refraining from using names, because I want you to meet them first) do some absolutely terrible and horrendous things, that will make you queasy, her subtler characters are equally disturbing. In Outlander’s case, Gabaldon has managed to mix both types of characters, leaving a trail of blood, carnage and death behind them.

So Many Dates, So Little Time!

Outlander, as the first novel in a series, brings to you all the important characters; some are seen throughout the novel, while others are quickly introduced. Despite this and despite the character, the reader is given enough information to carry the reader through to the other novels. Think of yourself meeting each character on a first date (some more promising than others, of course!) It also sets up, what has become an amazing story that people will enjoy for years to come. Outlander, in particular, throws readers back to Scotland in 1743, which is just around the corner from the Rising of ’45, or the Battle of Culloden. The detail and history in this novel is outstanding; I feel that, having read it for the second time only, I am still missing pieces or easily forgetting important facts.

What Else is There to Say but ‘Read It!’

I cannot say enough, how great this novel, and series, is. I hope that you pick up Outlander and see for yourself, how great a storyteller Gabaldon truly is. Following Outlander, Jamie and Claire continue on the second-half of the journey, in Dragonfly in Amber.

 

Review: The Exile

The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel

It’s difficult to find a person who hasn’t heard of the names Jamie and Claire Fraser, or of people who haven’t heard of the famous Outlander series, written by Diana Gabaldon. When it comes to myself, I cannot express the love that I have for this series; discovered in high school, I read the first 5 novels in one year. I regularly check on Gabaldon’s website to see when the next novel is coming out. Jamie and Claire are so real to me, and probably millions of other people, that they feel almost like family. So, when I heard that I was finally going to be able to see Jamie and Claire, I couldn’t contain my excitement. I believe, even Rebecca, upon hearing that the graphic novel of Outlander, titled The Exile, was due to be released, was excited, causing her to re-borrow my copy of the first of the series.

The Exile retells the first third of Outlander; but instead of simply rehashing a story in a different media, the graphic novel covers Jamie’s side of the story. A few new story lines are introduced and dealt with in order to give reader’s a fresh new look at the original storyline.

Since I read Outlander 5 years ago, without a chance to reread it yet, I was a little rusty on the particulars of the story. I could tell you, generally, what has happened in the entire series, but to break it up into each novel, I would fail immensely. Because of this, I found the beginning of the graphic novel a little confusing; it is very fast-tracked and really doesn’t come close to the amount of detail given in Gabaldon’s written pieces. I had a little trouble identifying characters like Murtagh and Dougal, and telling the difference between the two, but that quickly rectified itself once I got further into the story.

I will say that if you haven’t read at least the first novel in the series, Outlander, you will most likely be confused. As I’ve already stated, the story in the graphic novel was fast-tracked, but with only dialogue and none of Gabaldon’s writing, it can be difficult to understand the underlying tensions and plots within the story. Sub-plots like Jamie’s exile; Dougal and Colum’s reluctance to allow Jamie to go back home; the Stuart uprising; Black Jack Randall and Jamie’s relationship; and Geillie Duncan’s plot are covered, but not with as much detail, of course, as in the novels. Like I said, even I had some trouble in the beginning, having read the novels years ago.

Of course, there is a rebuttal for the above paragraph. Since I gave the work 5 stars, there has to be something to erase the previously mentioned down-side. While reading the graphic novel, I would find myself being reminded of what had happened in Outlander. Little ‘ah-ah!’ moments would happen; what I had forgotten would be suddenly refreshed. Even though a few things were added and changed for the medium used, it still stayed true to the original tale; as if Diana Gabaldon would settle for anything less!

Now to discuss what is the most exciting part of The Exile: the drawings! Done by Hoang Nguyen, each one looks like a painted masterpiece. They are absolutely gorgeous! Never mind the fact that Mr. Nguyen had a difficult task ahead of him, trying to create the first published visual representation of characters that are loved the world over. The work is simply stunning; the landscapes of Scotland, absolutely breathtaking. And you know what? He did a pretty good job of Jamie and Claire. While reading the work, I never scoffed inwardly, thinking that that wasn’t what Jamie and Claire looked like. Sure, they weren’t what was in my head; I have a habit of seeing Gerard Butler with red hair playing Jamie Fraser 😉 but I give Nguyen credit for the difficult task that he undertook. His finished product was beautiful and you can tell that he put as much love into the piece as anybody could have expected from him!

Because The Exile only covers the first third of Outlander, I hope that Diana Gabaldon and Hoang Nguyen realize what a wonderful team they made and continue with other graphic novels. I am more than happy to re-read those 224 pages over and over again, but I kind of want to see the other characters now: Breanne, Roger, Jenny and, of course, Lord John Grey, one of my favourite characters next to Jamie Fraser.

I don’t think it’s far off to say that the Outlander world is a very well-loved franchise. They have captured the hearts of millions with the first novel, published in 1991; and Gabaldon beats the odds by continuing the series to include 6 other books, with 2 more presumably in contract. She has a break-off series following the character Lord John Grey, and now she has a graphic novel. I cannot wait for more regarding Jamie and Claire; it is a wonderful series. I hope that you will include the characters of the Outlander series into your family, as I have. They are wonderful people.

Because I do not have the rights, I didn’t put any of the samples of Hoang Nguyen’s work for The Exile into this review. If you wish to view them they can be found on Diana Gabaldon’s homepage, including an original picture determined too racy for the published piece.

Check it all out at:

www.dianagabaldon.com