Outlander (Cross Stitch in the UK) is the second highest rated book on Amazon UK, and I have seen nothing but praise for it. I was really looking forward to discovering the magic that everyone talks about, but I’m afraid that I wasn’t very impressed with it.
I loved the light humor of the first few pages, but the book quickly went downhill – it was just so unrealistic. I’m not talking about the time travel, as I think it can be used as a useful plot device, but Claire’s reaction to being transported back 200 years was totally unbelievable. She didn’t come across as scared, or devastated that she wouldn’t see her family and friends again. Her whole life had changed forever and she just took it as though she was on an interesting holiday.
The speed with which she was accepted in her new time also failed to ring true. Perhaps I just don’t know enough about the 18th century, but almost everything that happened to her seemed a bit far fetched. As I failed to connect with her, I became bored by her adventures. The plot did move fairly quickly, but I just didn’t care what happened. I found the writing to be of poor quality and the Scottish accent drove me mad! By the half way point I was ready to give up, but I happened to have a copy of the abridged audio book, so decided to give that a go instead.
The unabridged audio book contains 28 CDs, while the abridged version contains only 6! I never normally listen to abridged audio books, but in this case I would rather listen to the last 3 hours of an audio book, to get a vague idea of how it finished, than give up entirely.
The abridged audio book suffered from it’s own problems though – there was annoying music over large portions of the narration and the Scottish accent was even more annoying to listen to than read. I’m not sure if these problems are present in the unabridged book, but I couldn’t cope with 28 CDs of this.
I have no idea what was cut from the book, but I didn’t feel that I was missing out on anything. Claire’s annoying personality remained in the audio book – there were so many times that I just wanted to slap her!
People describe this as one of the best romances in existence, but I didn’t find either member of the couple attractive, or the romance believable. There was also a lot of sex in the book, but it was just weird!
WARNING WEIRD GRAPHIC SEX CLIP BELOW!!
The intrusion was startling. Hot and slippery as our skins were, we drifted over each other with barely a sensation of touching or pressure, but his presence within me was solid and intimate, a fixed point in a watery world, like an umbilical cord in the random driftings of the womb. I made a brief sound of surprise at the small inrush of hot water that accompanied his entrance, then settled firmly onto my fixed point of reference with a little sigh of pleasure.
“Oh, I like that one” he said appreciatively.
“Like what?” I asked.
“That sound that ye made. The little squeak.”
Is it just me that found all the sex odd? It wasn’t erotic and if it did manage a sentence of ‘normal’ sex, the atmosphere was immediately ruined by words that have no place in a sex scene – I bet that no-one else can find a mention of umbilical cords in a bedroom scene!
Overall, I was very disappointed in this book. I won’t be reading the rest of the series.
I know I am in the minority with this opinion, so please can you explain to me: Why do you love this book so much?
Are the rest in the series better?