Outlander

So I was whining to my former roommate on Facebook about something or the other (challenges of writing a novel, probably) and she, blessed being that she is, decided to make my life infinitely better and recommended I read Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series.

I’m only 23% of the way through the first book, and it turns out there are six books in this series, which means my free time (ha) is spoken for for the next several months, especially since I just happened to get sucked in as the TV version is being filmed.

Frankly, I wasn’t entirely sure I would like this story based on one particular detail: a married woman from 1945 marries another guy in 1743 (after disappearing from 1945). It sounded like a sad kind of wish-fulfillment: a woman wants the vampire and the werewolf, but she can’t have both in real life, so she writes a novel with a premise that excuses her indecision.

Outlander does not seem to be that at all. Granted, I haven’t gotten to the second marriage in the book yet, but it was handled very well with believable conflict by the superb Caitriona Balfe (the actress who plays Claire, the sort-of-accidental bigamist) and the screenwriters, who should probably write the scripts for all books-turned-TV-shows for the rest of forever. Watching the 8 TV episodes released so far and then returning to the book for the author’s original conception of the story and more details has been so fun, and neither book nor TV adaptation has disappointed.

Grossed me out occasionally, but not disappointed. When Starz says TV-MA, they mean it. It isn’t all entrails all the time, but, well, let me just say that I am impressed with the make-up/prosthetics artists and magic-TV-people, because that really did look like a ripped-up muscle, and ew, let’s not talk about it further.

I could not have been an army nurse like the protagonist, Claire B. Randall. Phew, no sir.

I cannot fathom the amount of research it must have taken to write a novel set largely in the 18th century told from the perspective of a war field-hospital nurse. I research when I feel like it, and when I don’t, I make stuff up (in fantastical worlds, I can kind of do what I want). I honestly feel like I’m learning when I read Outlander (I hope it’s more than a feeling), which may be why I don’t feel too silly reading a love triangle tale featuring a Highlander hottie (here I’m reminded of the spoof novel-cover painting from The Guild featuring Wil “Shut Up, Wesley” Wheaton and Felicia Day). You would never see that on any edition of Outlander because although there is some romance (quite a bit to come, if the TV show is any indication), there’s an actual story in a world that doesn’t merely exist to allow a woman to have an affair. In a way, Outlander reminds me of The Historian (with fewer historical documents and quotes-within-quotes, which are perfectly fine, of course) because there is so much (but never too much) going on.

So, we’ll see if I become one of those people who finally saves up enough money for the dream Scotland vacation, not because her ancestors lived there, but because she just HAS to see the castle where this amazing story was set – if I do become that annoyingly fan-girly, please smack me.

We’ll also see if I later come back and edit the previous sentence.

Kristen Britain’s Blackveil

If you’ve read Blackveil, you probably already know where this is going.

How many years will it be, Kristen? Can you give us a ball park? Think you can tie up a certain plot line before the solar flares in 2012 knock out the Int3rw3b5? (Well, whatever. Just in case.)

SPOILERS AND BITCHING BELOW

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A’ight. So, recap:

Karigan G’ladheon, whose name’s apostrophe actually seems reasonable, is a Green Rider, one of King Zachary’s elite and moderately magical mail couriers.

She, however, is not the king’s mistress, although he did once suggest to her that the position was open.

But wait, I’m making this sound ridiculous. It’s not, really. Nor is my aggravation at certain developments designed by the Evil Overlord (Britain) to keep the two apart.

Wait, I’m sorry, Ms. Britain! You aren’t the Evil Overlord, not at all! You’re super awesome! (Aren’t you? I don’t actually know.) Well, your books are. So write some more of them, now!

Ahh. Now that that’s out of my system, here are my predictions:

At the end of the book, Karigan is in the castle’s catacombs (But WHEN is she, hmm? Not conveniently in the time she was in when she busted the mask and went to space or whatever that was). She won’t die from suffocating in the sarcophagus (the big stone box she’s trapped in). How do I know she won’t die? 1) The publisher wouldn’t allow it; and 2) She was just in the arms of Westrion, The Birdman, the God of Death. Why the hell would he take her OUT of the void-with-a-gravitation-like-force and put her BACK in the world of the living, just so she can die five minutes later? That would be silly, and Westrion is anything but silly (unless feathery = silly).

Or maybe Karigan is actually on the Weapons’ super secret island (read this prediction at Amazon.com). I think SOMEONE is going to go there. Who, I don’t know. It just sounds too badass not to write about.

That marriage thing? A’int gonna last. I don’t know if Karigan will mess with any threads (possible timelines) that will cause the marriage not to have been moved up, or if it will end for another reason (Zachy fully regrowing the pair he apparently lost in the attack, perhaps).

Zachary will receive Karigan’s just-in-case-I-die-in-the-forest-of-doom letter. If they actually get to spend more than 1/6 of a minute together in the next book (I’m not putting anything past you, lady), he just might do something about it.

It’ll turn out that though Spane is the douchiest of all douches, he does know his gossip: Estora will be revealed as the daughter of the unnamed minstrel *cough* Aaron Fiori *cough cough* I could be wrong, but assuming he passed his musical ability to Estora, she’ll have something more to do than date r4p3 the king (yeah, I said it). Send her pretty little @55 to the wall while Estral is (TEMPORARILY, dammit!) voiceless.

Oh, and Lala can f*cking die. Or be redeemed and taught not to be a l’il creepster. Hey, most kids take something that isn’t theirs at some point. Plenty of them grow up to understand that stealing is wrong. And somebody’s gotta be able to work at crimes scenes and in morgues without barfing. Of course, most of these people DON’T PRACTICE DARK MAGIC SO DARN WELL. So she can die, but only after sacrificing Grandmother (out of context, this sounds really bad, doesn’t it?). But that wasn’t a prediction. Lala won’t die in the next book. She’s the scariest damn person in the whole series, except maybe Mornhavon (for NOW!). Yeah, she’s gonna be a bad ass. Poor kid. In our world, she’d be getting an individualized education plan that doesn’t involve using her blood in mean magical spells. In Karigan’s world, she’s powerful, not terribly relate-able, and somewhat unpredictable (despite this, my prediction that she will become a force with which to be reckoned stands).

Where was I… oh yeah, Estral is going to get her voice back. If it can be magically taken, it can be magically returned.

Grandmother isn’t going to last much longer. She’s not necessary to the plot, and lately, all she’s done is groan and creak and follow the voices in the fire. Lala can do plenty of evil without the groaning or creaking. However, I do HOPE we will find out if it’s Mornhavon she’s been taking orders from this whole time. She certainly did take orders from him towards the end of Blackveil, but was it always him? I think we’re supposed to assume it was; I’d just like it to be made clear (remember, after taking a corporeal form, Mornhavon was like, who’re you?).

And Mornhavon. Ohh, Mornhavon. You just don’t know how to move on. How many books will it take before he’s done? We’ll need to know more about what that mask did to him. Maybe it sent him through time again. I dunno. It’ll probably be cool, whatever happens.

Oh, and our man of many masks (sexy thief, sexy pirate, sexy slave of a witch or something), what’s his name. Amberhill. Seeing as how he’s tagged Estora with his pirate booty, and considering she’s totally got the hots for him, they will see something of each other. Amberhill’s plot will be revealed to be relevant to the proceedings of slaying evil sh*t. No idea how he’s gonna escape Yolandhe. In my ideal world, Estora would have to fight her for Amberhill. Although, I really don’t know how she’d win (Newfound music magic? *shrug* That would probably be more effective than wrestling). Actually, Yolandhe and perhaps various other sea beings could help in the destroying of Mornhavon’s obnoxiously eternal soulless soul-thing.

Will the wall be mended? Or will it fall and all hell will break loose? Can’t call that one. It would help to know how many sleepers remain. Remember, there may be other groves. Or not. But I think there are. Why? Because sleepers can get through the wall, and therefore pose a super scary threat (and, therefore, the wall doesn’t need to fall for all hell to break loose – oh, and all that hard work Estora better put in, ho hum!).

Oh, and can the Berry sisters come back, pretty please? That’s not a prediction because I don’t know what they would do other than be old and awesome. Same with L’il, except she’s dead and awesome. Wasn’t there a cliffhanger concerning her a book or so ago? Yo, KB! The f*ck? Get back to the Green Riders’ history. We’ve had our fun with the Eletians; now we could use some Rider magic.

That’s all I’ve got for now. The rest of my thoughts on Blackveil cannot be organized into this prediction format (too sleepy to remember enough specifics).

But this is not the last you will hear from me about this book. It was like over 500 pages! And, if past publication dates are any indication, it’ll be about 4 years before the next book in the series comes out. Gotta keep myself occupied.