There are so many published series out there and I know you wonder…which ones are worth the read? In this feature, we tell you which series you should start and which ones you shouldn’t. As a ground rule, series in this feature must have at least 3 books published and the reviewer must have read at least 60% of the series. If you want us to feature a series in the future, please ask in the comments.
What Is This Series About? The Outlander series is the story of Claire Beauchamp, a WWII nurse who travels through time and finds herself in 18th Century Scotland, where she meets the love of her life. The story defies genres: time travel, fantasy, historical fiction and one of the most epic romances you’ll find in fiction. There’s a lot of history, action, violence, amazing twists, sacrifice, humor with a huge overarching story that spans decades.
Why Should You Read It? I have 5 words for you: James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Frasier (Yes, I know his full name by heart. So sue me.) He’s the most amazing hero in the history of heroes, without compare (sorry Mr. Darcy, Roarke, or anybody else that you might mention). Also, Outlander will be soon a Starz mini-series! (See the trailer below.) This is a definitely a great time to get started, so you can confidently speak about it before everybody goes crazy about it (and believe me, they will.)
Caveat: Each book in the series is very long – between 800-1000 pages in hardcover. They are full of historic detail, politics of the time and extreme violence. There are hundreds of characters and bad things happen to good people (repeatedly.) Also, it takes the author around 4-5 years to write each book. She’s said there might around 1-2 books left to end the series, so worst case scenario, we have around 10 years to wait until the series is complete. If you don’t like violence, history or hate waiting, then this series might not be for you. (I’ve seldom met people in the middle…people either love it or hate it.)
The Main Characters: Lots of the narrative is told from Claire’s perspective. She’s a strong woman, a bit willful so it takes a while to warm up to her, but once you do, you’re totally in her camp.
Jamie is a reason to read the series just by himself. He’s a warrior, a scholar and a leader of men, full of good humor, integrity and extreme loyalty. It doesn’t hurt that he’s 6’4″ and very handsome of course. I know he sounds unbelievably perfect but he’s not. Ms. Gabaldon does such an amazing job with his characterization that he just comes off the page. Reading the books (or listening in my case), you feel like you know him.
The Audiobooks: The unabridged audiobooks are simply out of this world. Davina Porter does an outstanding job with the narration – her voice for Jamie is simply marvelous. I totally forget is a woman speaking. At the beginning you find her voice a little old for Claire, but once you get past that, it’s the ride of a lifetime. Also, the audios are very handy with all those Scottish names. I would have never gotten them on my own.
Series Tips: This series must be read in order. If you don’t want to get spoilers, don’t read the descriptions of future books.
Series Reading Order
2. Dragonfly in Amber
4. Drums of Autumn
5. The Fiery Cross
6. A Breath of Snow & Ashes
7. An Echo in the Bone
8. Written in my Own Heart’s Blood
Plus 2 other novellas: The Space Between & A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows, featuring periphery characters.
Prices: You can find the first 7 Kindle ebooks for around $4.99- $6.69 each (obviously the newest release will be full price for a while.) Some of the audiobooks are Whispersync enabled so even if you don’t have an Audible membership, you could get them for $3.99.
About the Author: Diana Gabaldon grew up in Flagstaff, Arizona and is of Mexican-American and English descent. She holds three degrees in science: Zoology, Marine Biology, and Quantitative Behavioral Ecology, and spent a dozen years as a university professor with an expertise in scientific computation before beginning to write fiction. –from the author’s website
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