All posts tagged Historical

Review: Anne Frank The Diary of a Young Girl

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

This is more of a discussion than a review, because in my opinion, this piece deserves nothing less than a 5 star rating even if someone doesn’t finish it. You open the work to the first page and it deserves 5 stars. This may seem like a crazy statement, but I shall explain. Read more…

Quick Thought Reviews: Graphic Novels (3)

Another set of Graphic Novels have been completed! Most of these were because of the graphic novel group in which I participate. I don’t think I would have heard of them without them being the monthly picks! 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!!! 😀

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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.

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Weekend Book Haul

This weekend, the books that caught my eye ran a little more on the dark side … Read more…

EPIC Review: The War of the Roses

The War of the Roses Series by Philippa Gregory

Because this will be the first of, I hope, many EPIC reviews, I’ll quickly explain the premise: one series, one review. In this case, one review for FIVE novels! What was I thinking!? Read more…

Hasn’t been a lot going on here, but coming soon I have a new blog post! The EPIC review!! What is that you say? You’ll just have to keep your eyes on the site, but I’ll give you a hint: it involves my current sequential reading history. 😉

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.

 

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