Saturday, September 27, 2014

Outlander - The Beginning Of An Obsession?

So, I started the first novel by Diana Gabaldon. Not just because ninety percent of the comments and messages and tweets I've had in the last couple of days have been incredibly supportive, but they also made it very clear I owe it to myself to read the Outlander series. And I suppose it's a bit odd for me to be part of an Outlander group without having actually read the books. Fiddle-faddle, I march to the beat of my own defective drum.

I've only read the first chapter, but I wanted to let the world know I'm diving in feet first. Well, technically head first, since I read with my eyes and they are located on my face, which is on my head. Don't worry, I won't be writing a post about every single chapter, but the first one is important and for some reason it's turned into Outlander Week here on my wee little blog.

Here are my thoughts in no particular order:

Partway through, Frank and Claire are talking and Frank mentions giants. It reminded me of when I went to Ireland and my girlfriends and I took a day trip up to Northern Ireland to see the Giant's Causeway, which are these truly amazing interlocking columns of basalt rock. Absolutely stunning to see in real life. Anyhow, as legend says the columns of rock are the remains of a causeway the giants built. The Irish Giant Fionn MacCool (his last name was more Irishy in Gaelic) was challenged to fight Benandonner, a Scottish Giant. They built the causeway so the giants could meet in the middle to battle.

There are two versions of the story, one where they fight and Fionn wins, but their wrestling destroys the causeway. In the other version, Fionn sees the size of Benandonner and decides to hide. His wife dresses him up as a baby and tucks him in a cradle. When Benandonner sees the massive baby, he figures his father must be the biggest giant ever to walk the earth and he flees back to Scotland, destroying the causeway in his wake so Fionn could not follow. I remember standing on the basalt columns and looking out across the water, thinking how one day I will visit the Scottish isle of Staffa and go to Fingal's Cave to see the columns on the other side.

No, there is no point in my sharing this story with you. Just thought it was an interesting sort of tie in.

Oh, that's just me sitting on some basalt rocks in Northern Ireland. 

The author can certainly spin a captivating yarn. Her wordsmithyness (no, that isn't a real word) is astounding. Truly. Sometimes you read books other people are applauding and your brain would rather shut down than read another word because the sentence structure and paragraph composition is appalling. (You can probably piece together two such books on your own, so I won't give you any examples.) That being said, Mrs Gabaldon is not just a good writer, but she's leading the pack. Already I know this novel is going to be well-researched and intriguing. This actually means a lot coming from me because I happen to be super picky and critical. Mostly because I have a hard time turning my editor brain off when reading for enjoyment. 

Claire seems to be a spitfire, something I admire in a woman, and I enjoy that. Also, she cussed when she burned herself with the tea, and rest assured I'd do the same thing, so I can relate to her. I know I will learn more about her relationship with Frank, but I'm not sold on it. Mostly because ...

... I don't like Frank, and I'm not sure whether I am supposed to or not. For one, I didn't like his reaction when she swore. Fine, it was in front of a professional man, but she burned her bloody hand. The way he acted afterwards made it seem as though he considered Claire uncouth and her behaviour unacceptable. The entire chapter, I kept thinking him pompous. There were moments where he was nearly endearing, except the way he became so enraptured by what he was thinking and saying annoyed me, as if he couldn't spare her any consideration. Then, he questioned her faithfulness, which gave me the impression he himself had strayed. Yes, I know this is only the first chapter, but I already am not a Fan O' Frank. 

Lastly, (spoiler alert) I know the ghost is Jamie. 

14% of the way through!


Amy A said...

Dear Tee....I'm so glad you are finally caving to peer pressure. I love you for it! Enjoy the read! You're in for a treat!

Tina L said...

I'm anxious to read your blog along the way. Welcome to our madness and Enjoy!

Tee said...

Thanks you two!

I remembered what it was like when I first read Harry Potter and Game of Thrones. Am excited to fall in love with a new series. New to me, of course. ;)

Koko Pipkin said...

I'm glad you dove in. I've been a fan for 14 years. By the by, she isn't "Mrs. Gabaldon"; her husband's surname is Watkins and she just never changed it when she married. Reading her books is like being on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride and never wanting to get off - IMHO. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have and still do.

Anita Brooke Ratliff said...

Yay Tee! Enjoy the ride!

Amber said...

Woo hoo glad you are finally reading it!, It took me getting past the first couple chapters before I really got into it then BAM I was hooked and couldn't put the book down!

Meghan said...

Oh! We have the same Frank feels! I love reading your thoughts, please share more as you go.

Tee said...

@Meghan - excellent. He just rubbed me the wrong way from the word go. I will do an update when I am partway through. :)