Things You Should Know Before Reading Outlander

I was in the mood to read a fantasy series, but I had some requirements to meet:

1. The series should be four books or more.
I was itching for such a long series--maybe because trilogies are so common, and one-off’s are my usual, so I wanted something that stretched on and gave me returns for my investment into that fantasy world.

2. The author should be a woman.
I’ve been making an effort to avoid reading books by men, so yay womanpower!

3. The main character should be a woman.
Yay womanpower!

4. A romantic relationship should be an important part of the story.
Raise your hand if you think Tolkien should have written a lot more about elves making noble sacrifices for love instead of so many pages of scenery descriptions. *raises hand*

So, I asked the internet, and the internet gave me the Outlander series! Yay Scotland! It does indeed meet all the requirements: fantasy, female author, female MC, lots of books, and romance.


The fantasy is minimal. Apart from one (1) short time-travel episode, one (1) loch ness monster sighting, and one (1) scene in which the MC Claire ‘heals’ someone from PTSD using psychological methods that are so ill-advised that I will call its success a fantasy element, there is NO FANTASY. This is historical fiction, which I also love, but no dragons, no magic, no dice.

There are a lot of sexy times. Do you ever have the problem where you want to read a novel with romance, but not necessarily a romance novel? And then it’s really hard to comb through google results because it’s hard to explain the difference to a computer? (side note: the word for ‘novel’ in Portuguese is ‘romance’, so just add more layers to that confusion.) I am not one of those people who is going to diss anyone for reading books with covers depicting buxom ladies making out with Fabio. But just be aware, unlike I was, that a sex scene happens about every 50 pages, and the book is 900 pages.

There is a violent male-male rape. And partner abuse. So, warning.

Despite being written by a woman and the mc being a woman, this story is anti-feminist. Let me tell you how all but one of the adventure scenes happen.
Sexy Jamie: Claire, don’t do THE THING. 
Claire: *does THE THING* 
Claire: *needs to be rescued* 
Sexy Jamie: *rescues Claire* 
Sexy Jamie: See, I told you! 
Claire: You were right!!!


There are really good pictures of how tough life was on the Scottish highlands in the 1740s. A lot of work, dirt, cold, disease, animals, and skirmishes.

Diana Gabaldon is from Arizona (*waves excitedly*) but she has clearly done her research: she frequently describes medicinal plants found in the highlands (she has a PhD in ecology) and uses many words of Scottish origin that I had never heard before.

Carlisle Castle, the site of many a Jacobite battle and the filming location
for an important part of the Outlander TV series.
The Jacobite risings and politics is explained through the narrative, so I am bound to remember it. When I went to Scotland a couple years ago, I had never heard of the Jacobites and had a hard time understanding some of the museum displays… it’s a wee bit complicated to keep everything straight.

The characters are really fun. They make jokes, they are passionate, they are quick to forgive, and they are courageous. I kept cheering for them the whole time.

So, have you read any fantasy series that meets all of my requirements? Give me the goods, people!! Stop being bad dragons and hoarding the treasures all for yourself!!

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