I recently purchased Outlander on an errand run with my mom during an obligatory parental-hang visit. Given the selection available in the Santa Cruz Costco’s book department (hint: lacking), this title stood out and I was intrigued enough to take it home (ok, my mom paid. Yes, I’m a functioning adult). I’m a newbie to both the series and the author; however, from the cover/blurb I was able to surmise that there would be not only some grand sweeping romantic narrative but also some sci-fi/fantasy sprinklings (generally a winning combo as far as I’m concerned). I also learned in my expert judging-by-cover evaluation process that it was recently made into a TV series. For me, that kind of endorsement is basically tantamount to a Pulitzer, so I put my faith in the content programming producers over at Starz and don’t entirely regret the decision.
Outlander is a book about a woman from the mid 20th century, Claire Randall, who through an inexplicable encounter with a standing stone circle on a hill, finds herself thrust upon the Scottish highlands on the cusp of the 18th century Jacobite Rising. The story combines interesting historical references with political intrigue, gratuitous romance, and a touch of the supernatural for an all-in-all amusing read. If you can grit your teeth and bear with slightly irritating issues in pacing, uninspired vocabulary, and general character/reference inconsistencies (as well as the run-of-the mill softcore porn sexual references), then the larger story is pleasantly enjoyable. While I was pretty annoyed with the aforementioned concerns pretty much the entire time, I found myself simultaneously really wanting to know what would happen next.
Ultimately I’d say that while Outlander didn’t change my life, I was entertained and intrigued enough to order the second novel in the series (Dragonfly in Amber) before reaching the final pages. I’ll hold off on absolute judgment on whether to commit to the full series until the end of Book 2, but in the meantime, this was perfect for a week of evenings on the couch at home with the parents, bottle glass in hand.