Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Fiction Books, cont.

I have been reading a bit of fiction lately - and am now going to stop, because I have got nothing else done. I knew there was a reason I restricted fiction to holidays, because I have little to no self-control. Even with books I don't really enjoy!

I have previously mentioned how much I loved Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, so I decided to read her other series, the Lord John Grey novels. He is a minor character in the Outlander series, whom she has now devoted 3 books to. I have now read two - Lord John and The Private Matter and Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade. I will not be reading the third.

Three aspects of the Outlander series that I loved were that: (1) they have a vast scope, covering massive periods of time and history very well, (2) they tell a wonderful love story of a married couple and (3) they are based on an interesting premise: that time travel is available for some people, and the results of what may happen if that were so.

Sadly, the Lord John Grey novels do none of these - they are designed more to be mysteries. However, I got confused in each book with the number of characters tied up in the mysteries and therefore got less interested as I read. Moreover, Lord John is gay. Normally this would not particularly bother me, but it is so much as part of his persona that it almost defines the books and his physical relationships are described in some detail.

As I mentioned in the previous post, the sex scenes in the Outlander series are also quite detailed, but I am less concerned about those because they (mostly) occur within a committed marriage relationship. In some ways, I am just as disinterested with other novels that have explicit sex scenes with no purpose and no marriage relationship as their basis, eg adultery.

I think Gabaldon has made a calculated risk with these books - she knows she has a very committed fan base with her Outlander series, and the interest overflows to these books, as they are about character that we already know. I really liked Lord John in the Outlander books, he is a noble and honourable man. While those character traits continue in these books, really the only draw card for me is to learn something more about Jamie and Claire (the main characters in the Outlander novels). It is not enough for me to read the third.

On a much happier note, it is my birthday today and my husband gave me all 6 of the Outlander novels (I previously borrowed them all from the library). I am delighted! I now have to exercise some self-control until June when we are on holidays, at which point he has promised also to try them.

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