Audiobook Review: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

February 24, 2014 2 Bullet Rating, Audio Book Review 6

Audiobook Review: Outlander by Diana GabaldonOutlander by Diana Gabaldon
Series: Outlander
Published by dELL on January 1, 1991
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 872
Format: Audiobook
Source: Personally Purchased via
The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon--when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach--an "outlander"--in a Scotland torn by war and raiding Highland clans in the year of Our Lord...1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into intrigues and dangers that may threaten her life...and shatter her heart. For here she meets James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, and becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire...and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon is her first book in the Outlander series.  It is normally tagged as Romance/Historical/Fantasy.  2 out of the 3 tags confuse the crap out of me and this might be one of the harder reviews I have ever had to write.  Seriously.

Apparently, this review needs actual discussion points. So let me start with the writing.  There are many and it is entirely in first person.  800+ pages in first person is a lot.  That being said, the words held that classic feel and undeniable talent of a word artist.  The audiobook certainly did the author justice with beautifully spoken accents that captured the essence of every character.

Point two – Characters.  The two main characters being Claire and Jamie.  Claire’s character seemed to take on many different feelings throughout the book, but I am reluctant to call it character growth.  Claire felt undefined and muddy at times.  As if the author had not made up her mind on how the character should be portrayed. At times I liked her and at other times I felt she needed more than a good swift kick in the ass.  I felt Claire was especially disconnected in the first half of the book, which should not have happened with her first person point of view.   The TV show is a hot topic of discussion lately – Jamie being most of it – the allure of him through most of the book was obvious.  A wronged and beautiful man, especially in a kilt, conjures so many great fantasies and dream worthy thoughts.  He was swoon worthy and glorious.  His character, in contract to Claire’s, did feel especially well defined and level.  However; the ending of Outlander pretty much takes any hope of keeping this appeal and throws it through a wood chipper.

Point three – Secondary Characters.  I thought the secondary characters were quite brilliant.  They varied greatly and really added a nice texture to the story.  I think it spoke a lot to that time, where good friends and family are the defining point between life and death.

Point four – the Story.  OK, so I am going to start by just saying that this not a romance.  Sorry for those of you that feel it is.  I don’t think so.   Happily Ever After is what defines romance.  Outlander did not have a HEA, therefore not a romance.  I am not saying Jamie is not swoon worthy.  I am not saying that there was no sex.  You can put these two things into any genre – it does not make them romances.  This makes me wonder what direction the series on TV is going to take, but that is not really the discussion of this review.    I think that the overall story is a deep and unique tale, but not mind-blowing like I was expecting.   It is hard to go into why this book effected me as negatively as it did without there being a huge spoiler.  I will leave you with this thought:  I read as an escape.  An escape from reality where things are brutal and gruesome at times.  I work in a high stress environment with high conflict and abuse.  I don’t want it to be a big part of a characters story and I certainly don’t want to be left with the brutality of it lingering on my soul.

Audiobook thoughts:  Davina Porter narrates Outlander like a boss.  Her artfully spoken accents added so much to the story.  I don’t think anything could have changed that would have made this a better listen.  I loved the timing and emotion Porter brought to the story.


I rate Outlander 2 out of 5 Bullets!

2 Bullet Rating

I personally purchased Outlander via  All opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way.

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6 Responses to “Audiobook Review: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon”

  1. Sarah M.

    Great review! I listened to the audiobook as well and am not sure that I would have finished the book in another format. I wanted to see where things were headed with the second book, but I hit a scene that made me so angry that I couldn’t go any further. (Oddly enough, it wasn’t one of the more graphic scenes. I just felt that it completely undermined Claire and Jamie as a couple.) With the show coming up, I did purchase the series in paperback. They are very prettily taking up space on a bookshelf…I just can’t bring myself to keep reading.

    • Annie Slasher

      I have wondered the same thing…if I would have finished if I was reading print. It really does make me wonder if they are going to change the story line drastically in the TV series to make it more appealing to the masses.

  2. A Voracious Reader

    I’ve been trying to read this book for nearly 2 years eventually making it to Chapter 11. I finally picked up the audio from the library at the beginning of Jan. and made it to 29% before I stalled once again. I’m bored. I feel no connection with the characters and I don’t think Jamie is all that. I’m unsure if I will finish, but I’m going to do my best to go a bit more.

    • Annie Slasher

      I hate to admit how long it took me to finish the audiobook. i think one thing that saved me is that I read so many other books while listening. I am glad I am not the only one that Outlander didn’t work for.

  3. Tanya @ Rantings of a Reading Addict

    I have felt so behind because I haven’t read this book yet, but by the sounds of it, I probably don’t want to. That’s a lot of book to tackle if I’m not sure I’m going to like it. I’m not real big on time travel anyway, so not sure this will be for me.

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