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Truly, frighteningly, utterly terrible!
on 20 August 2014
Let me start by making one thing perfectly clear - if the TV series is anything like the books, do yourself a favour: book a root canal, paint the wall and watch it dry; anything but waste your time on this tripe.
I shall try to summarise the main issues. Be aware - spoilers abound.
1. I'm only 44% into the first book on kindle and already I can feel my life getting longer because it feels like I've been reading the blasted thing forever! But there is one thing I've learned - only nurses or otherwise medically trained people are vulnerable to timeslips. It must be some strange kind of occupational hazard of the medical profession, falling through timeslips into mediaeval Scotland; it only seems to happen to them. Gives them a handy way of worming their way into some people's good books, of course - and leaves them blatantly wide open for the utterly predictable charges of witchcraft.
2. The heroine is annoying. It's hard to imagine anyone more in need of a slap. She spends a few chapters in 1946 trying to rekindle her marriage after 6 years of war blah blah blah... Insomnia cure..... THEN she is mysteriously transported back 200 years to 1743. For some reason, this is not the nice, neat 200 years she keep referring to as being the usual time slip in these matters. Within six weeks, she's married to the Highlander every female near and about (or possibly aboot) is swooning over - and he's younger than her, and a virgin to boot - supposedly against her will, but damn me she's a game bird and improvises wonderfully in the face of such a terrible fate.
3. The hero - the strapping 6 foot something 23 year old red haired brawny Adonis - is called Jamie. Of course he is. All Highland heroes are called Jamie. It's in the rules. If Scotland gain Independence, I fully expect it to be in the Constitution.
4. Leave her alone for 5 minutes and someone will try to rape her. It doesn't matter who - Scots Highlander or Redcoat, they're all hiding behind every blade of heather just waiting for the opportunity of exposing one heaving bosom or the other and grabbing her creamy white thighs.... Give it enough time, I fully expect the Aberdeen Angus to try to rape her. In fact, when the Loch Ness Monster makes an appearance (I kid you not. I wish I did, but I'm serious) I thought he would be next to jump on board ...Zzzzzzz....
And don't get me started on the Gaelic.
Where was I? Oh yes - 5
5. Despite being a magnet for ever priapic male in a 50 mile radius, she still keeps getting it into her head (when she remembers that she supposed to be married to the increasingly dull sounding Frank) to try to get back to the stone circle to get back to her first (or second, chronologically) husband, Frank. Who is the direct descendant of the main Redcoat dubiously described as a possible homosexual who, we subsequently learn, can only get it up if they're screaming.
The Redcoat, that is. Not her 1946 husband.
In fact, he's the slightly less obvious homosexual character than the other one - the Duke - who even rejoices (if possible) in an effeminate voice. Oh joy. Because that's not tiresomely stereotypical at all. And neither one appear to be able to get willing companions, having to force their attentions on staunchly heterosexual youths, preferably underage. It could be insulting - it should be insulting to the intelligence if nothing else - but it could insult if it weren't written quite so badly as to be bordering on pantomime.
6. After rescuing her - yet again - from - yet another - attempted rape, her 1740 something husband decides he has to impose some discipline as she keeps risking the lives of everyone around her, and announces she going to get her backside paddled for not staying put where she was safe and for wandering off again into yet another gang of gangbangers. Not unreasonably, he points out that justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done. However, she just kicks and screams like a spoiled brat and generally refuses to accept that maybe - just maybe - she really should stop doing what she keeps doing.
It's at this point that you consider that 1946 husband Frank has probably packed his bags and is clapping his hands at having disposed of the original high maintenance pain in the neck.
Of course, she can't stay angry with him for long - his name is Jamie after all, so obviously he's the hero. But she still insists on forcing an apology out of him before grudgingly accepting that maybe - just maybe - when he tells her to stay there because it's safe that - maybe - she should just stay there cus it's safe!
Jamie then somewhat sullies his heroic status by pointing out to her that she can't say no to him, then proceeds to prove the point quite violently, despite her refusal and despite her telling him he's hurting her. But that's okay because it turns out she enjoys it really... Which is quite simply the most terrifying scene I've ever read. Stephen King pales into nursery-rhyme insignificance compared to the sheer horror that is badly written rape mistaken for rough sex.
But that's okay because she heals really really quickly. Even after a flogging.
And despite pining something awful for her beloved Frank for nigh on six years during the War and never so much as giving another man a second look, give her six weeks of Jamie and she probably wouldn't recognise her other husband in a line-up.
As for describing certain intimate areas as slippery as some kind of seaweed - well, that's a mood spoiler if ever there was one.
Poor old Ken is conspicuous by his absence until about 30% in, then all of a sudden, he's everywhere. Everywhere you look people are kenning that they ken what they ken, ye ken?
Oh, and she really likes showing off all her research. Info dumps abound. Shame her research is pretty uninspired surface-only stuff. It makes Braveheart start to look like historical re-enactment. I can't believe there's more than one of these books; I can't believe one got published, never mind a whole series.
Save yourselves. It's too late for me, I'll never get these wasted hours back. Don't look back; don't hesitate; don't blink (oh wait, that's something else). Either way, just don't.
Unless of course there's a really really ridiculously good-looking bloke in it.