My first ever book of the month: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
I must confess that, back at the beginning of September when I said I was going to read and review Outlander, I didn't think I would make it. I was about a hundred pages in to an 800+ page book. And I wasn't planning on finishing.
But Diana Gabaldon's historical romance has something about it that pulls you in and will not let you go. She uses a line quite often, when one character says something, and the other responds not to what was said, but what was meant. The entire story reads like that, going beyond what I first expected to something rich and complex.
The story follows Claire Randall, a British nurse who, while exploring 1945 Scotland, is pulled through a magical stone circle and finds herself two hundred years in the past, surrounded by tribesmen and clans and war. After reading the back cover, I figured I had a decent sense of what I was about to read: Girl goes back in time. Girl meets handsome Scotsman. They fall in love. Some other stuff happens. The end! But all of the characters were so... so smart. They figured things out, they acted rather than just reacting, they came up with solutions that I never would have.
Outlander is totally unpredictable. Gabaldon describes the Scottish highlands in such beautiful detail I actually looked forward to those big blocks of descriptive text. And there were no set heroes or antagonists. A character wasn't good or evil simply because of who they were--you got to see them develop and change through the novel, and make your own assumptions based on what they did, not what you were told.
All in all, it was an incredible novel, perfect for curling up on a cold Fall day. It's long, yes, but it goes by quickly. It stands boldly alone--but is also the first in a series. I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to read a book that is fabulously thought out, but doesn't feel like a chore to read.