STAFF PICK: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

What a journey. OH man. For past 5 months I’ve committed myself to the magical adventure that is Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series and it’s safe to say I’ve been on a 5-month high. The story is captivating, I love her writing style, and I have yet to enjoy a better narration than that of Davina Porter. Now, I’m not about to summarize 8 books worth of plot. I’m just here to gush a bit and hopefully convert you into an Outlander fanatic like me.

Notoriously hard to categorize, the Outlander series is a cross between romance, historical fiction and war, with a sprinkling of action, fantasy and time travel. Possibly a strange mix but it works fantastically. It begins with the heroine, Claire, a WWII nurse that finds herself transported back to 1743, where she has to put her trust in Scottish Highlanders to stay alive. She falls in love with a man named Jamie and gets wrapped up in war and politics, all the while trying to adapt to 18th century living. Gabaldon does a good job of maintaining historical accuracy. She paints a vivid picture of Claire applying modern medical knowledge in a time that lacks basic sanitation as she to recollect her history lessons in the midst of war.

The pace of the story shifts from a gentle meander to heart-pounding action and back, keeping you hooked with plot twists and sassy wit, all of which is conveyed masterfully by Davina Porter’s narration. Her changing voice pitch and accents portray the characters perfectly. When called for, her voice has the right edge or drips with sarcasm. She IS Claire. She IS Jamie. She brings the story to a whole new level. I like to listen to her best at 1.25x the speed and her voice is still steady and clear.

I’ve seen complaints that there are too many side plots and the descriptors are too detailed. I entirely disagree. I enjoyed every side story that unrolled before me, feeling appreciative just to be welcomed along for the ride.

I do not know when the next book is out (other than Gabaldon’s “it will not be in 2017”), but I am MOST excited to get my ears on it. Have you read the series? If not, are you convinced to try? Let me know!