Review: Outlander

Outlander (Outlander, #1)Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I’m gobsmacked that this book has so many positive reviews. It has such a preponderance of rape and beating scenes that it was starting to feel like a quota. Is this the SAW movie of romance?

I picked up Outlander because I visited Scotland, and the locals kept asking me if the book was the reason for my visit. I hadn’t heard of it, so I picked it up, thinking I’d relish the memories of my trip through the reading. And it does have lovely descriptions of the Scottish Highlands! It has an interesting concept (time travel! Scotland! Wars! Romance!).

But. Come on. Come onnnnn. This book can’t go 20 pages without a rape or a serious beating, often with no comment on how this affects the female character. She is described as being beaten “within an inch of my life” by her husband, and a few pages later is laughing with him about it!

The villain is Snidely Whiplash-levels of evil. To the point it is just obscene. Like, we get it, he was a bad guy when he was just attempting to rape people and beating them severely. But then he has to attempt to rape literally all the main characters (successfully raping one! In detail!), and that’s not enough so we throw in random incest vibes, because reasons? (So much of the violence here is just unnecessary! It adds nothing! This book could have wrapped up just fine five chapters ago!)

I got within 10% of the ending of this book, just trying to push through the brutality to finish it, but I can’t. I wouldn’t read a horror novel with this level of brutality; I don’t know why I should be expected to like it in a romance novel.

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