Outlander is one of those novels I've heard a lot about from other bloggers. Some people love it, some people hate it, and a lot of people liked it but noted that it's really more of a romance series than a fantasy series. I'm really glad I had heard that going in, or I think I would have disliked it. I would have kept waiting for the fantasy part to kick in more, but it's really just the time travel element that makes this a fantasy - it does read more like a historical romance. I somehow seemed to both love and hate it - the fact that I'm anxious to read the next book in the series tells me I must have landed more on the love side!
I think one of the reasons I liked this book was the idea of suddenly traveling back in time. What would it be like to suddenly be 200 years in the past? What would you do? How would you survive? Claire does things she wouldn't normally do, but she has to adjust quickly to life in the mid-1700s Scotland or be killed. The descriptions of Scotland are wonderful - they definitely made me want to move up Scotland and my travel wishlist. Something in the storytelling kept me flipping the pages, which was good since this clocks in at over 800 pages!
On the negative side, it was hard to read some of the scenes or judge characters by today's standards instead of the standards of two centuries ago. Today, it's clearly wrong for a man to beat his wife, or for a man to beat his child for that matter. Yes, people still do it, but they are for the most part reviled. But 200 years ago, this was common. It was seen as normal - something you did out of love as long as you did it in the "right" way. As long as it was done in punishment for something, then no big deal. However, knowing this and being okay with reading a love story where the man beats his wife for disobeying are not the same thing. It's disturbing.
However, this isn't the most disturbing scene in the book. There's a graphic recollection of a rape scene that was sickening to read. I don't think a rape scene would ever be anything but disturbing on some level, but this just went too far. It was so gross, I just couldn't imagine someone actually doing that, or the author dreaming that up and actually writing it. If this happened early in the book, I would have probably have quit reading, but I was invested by this point and carried on.
I think it sounds like I'm being more negative toward the book than I actually feel. It's just easier in this case to pinpoint what I disliked than what I liked! But, I've already pulled the next book off my shelf on to the table by my reading chair, so I clearly liked it overall. I will say this is a lesson learned in buying books in a series before reading them though - I bought the first two during the closing sale Borders had. I doubt these will be books I'll re-read even though I did like this one, so I hate that I spent the money on them instead of just going to the library. I think that's something the TBR Challenge has taught me - quit buying so many dang books!!! :)
This is the seventh book I've read for Adam's Magical March. Just one more to go! I've already started 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and hope to finish it and maybe one more before the end of March.