Note: I know many people totally love this book, so if you think me ranting about it would spoil your day, don't read the review :) That's precisely why I've put "A Rant" subtitle to the post header.
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With an impressive 4.13 rating on Goodreads and so many recommendations, I expected this book to become my new favourite. There's time travel, Scotland, a strong female character, hot scots... I like all these things, but somehow them being put together by Gabaldon resulted in total crap. Well, maybe not TOTAL, but we'll get to it. Let's begin with the bad stuff, OK?
First, the book is sooo long! Generally, I love long books, but there'd better be something actually happening on all those pages. OK, there are a lot of adventures, battles and other things, all right, but they are all so monotonous! By the middle of the book I had an urge to yawn every time Jaime was hurt or Claire was abused. Again. Besides, this brings me to the next point: the abundance of unsettling and disgusting descriptions. I do realize that the time was not pretty, but some scenes in the prison and afterwards were totally unnecessary. Not that I cared by that time. In the second half of the book there were several action sequences in which I had no idea what was happening... And I didn't want to re-read to make sense of them. It's still a mystery to me how the prison escape was managed and how getting high on opium and fighting cured blood poisoning in the end.
My next problem with the book was sex scenes. I like me some good steamy sex in a book, and I do admit that some of them actually WERE good, but not for 200 pages non-stop! I'm not kidding, there's a part in the book in which they hardly do anything else. Again, I got bored. Besides, some stuff really disturbed me. Remember the scene when they have sex near the body of a soldier killed by Claire just before? Or that sex after a month on the verge of death. Seriously???
Even with all the aforementioned problems the book would be OK if I liked the characters. But Jaime is just some sickly-sweet ideal of a man, who everybody older than 12 years old should understand doesn't exist, and Claire... I didn't really care for her. I can't figure out why, but probably because her reactions to things happening around her are so unbelievable that I can't think of her as a real person.
Now to the positive moments, as promised :) The book is obviously well-researched and gives a nice overview of life in Scotland at that time. Although I'm not a specialist and I may be wrong here. Also, the dialogues are usually good and witty, and some even made me smile. Hmm.. That's probably all. Not much :)
In my book:
If you are not into hard-core "women's fiction", skip it! Spend some time NOT wanting to punch the characters in the face instead :)