Virgins: An Outlander Short Story (Outlander, #0.5)

by Diana Gabaldon

3.83 of 5 stars 6 ratings • 2 reviews • 9 shelved
Book cover for Virgins

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Virgins: An Outlander Short Story (Outlander, #0.5)

by Diana Gabaldon

3.83 of 5 stars 6 ratings • 2 reviews • 9 shelved

FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENED BEFORE JAMIE MET CLAIRE IN THIS BRILLIANT NEW OUTLANDER SHORT STORY.

1740: Young Jamie Fraser has left Scotland and, with his best friend Ian Murray, is running with a band of mercenaries in France.

Both men have good reason not to go back to their homeland: both are nursing wounds, and despite their best efforts to remedy the situation, both are still virgins.

So when a Jewish doctor hires them to escort his granddaughter to Paris, they readily agree. Both men are instantly drawn to the beautiful young lady.

What neither know is that their lives and their friendships are about to become infinitely more complicated - and a lot more dangerous ...

  • ISBN10 1473538017
  • ISBN13 9781473538016
  • Publish Date 8 April 2016
  • Publish Status Active
  • Publish Country GB
  • Publisher Cornerstone
  • Imprint Cornerstone Digital
  • Edition Digital original
  • Format eBook
  • Pages 112
  • Language English

Reviews

Avatar for jesstheaudiobookworm

4.25★ Audiobook⎮I don’t normally put a lot of stock into novellas, and I certainly don’t make a habit of reviewing them, but Virgins made such an impression on me that I had to pass my thoughts along. I’ve just finished the 7th Outlander book and I’ve begun to realize that it may be awhile before the ninth is released, so I wanted to bide my time before plunging into #8. Luckily, there are quite a few novellas set in the Outlander universe and a spin-off mini-series focusing on Lord John Grey.

Virgins is a prequel to the Outlander series. In it, Jamie and Ian (Sr.) are young lads having adventures in France. These adventures are sometimes alluded to in the main series, so it was a treat to hear about them first-hand. It also takes us closer to the events surrounding Jamie’s father’s death, as Virgins begins right after his (first) mutilation at the hands of Blackjack Randall and Brian Fraser’s subsequent death. We don’t necessarily learn anything new about those events, we just hear about them from a slightly fresher perspective.

Virgins was actually quite humorous as well. Gabaldon’s sense of humor is very cheeky. I’m sure she had a wonderful time writing about young Jamie and Ian as virgins in France. Their conversations reminded me of those had by pubescent lads exchanging (mostly incorrect) information regarding females and their anatomy. It is especially funny because we know the men Jamie and Ian turn out to be.

The main takeaway from Virgins was the closeness of Jamie and Ian. I mean, I knew that they had a close friendship, practically a brotherhood, but knowing something and seeing it are very different. In Virgins, I was able to really see their relationship as it was at possibly its strongest point. It was very moving, especially after reading the events of An Echo in the Bone. Virgins also shows us the meaning of “On your right, man”, a meaningful phrase between Jamie and Ian that becomes even more poignant in An Echo in the Bone. The events surrounding that phrase and its explanation in Virgins exemplify another important takeaway from the prequel. Diana Gabaldon is a “ show” type of author, rather than a “tell” author. She perfectly understands the pacing of a story and how to filter information through it. I think I learned more about her writing style in this 3-hour novella than I have in hundreds of hours of the main Outlander series. She doesn’t do information dumps and she would rather show something than tell it. I likely won’t remember the plot details of Virgins for much longer, but that won’t matter because it wasn’t Gabaldon’s point in writing the story anyway. Her message was that of the bond between Jamie Fraser and Ian Murray (Sr.) and I received it loud and clear.

Narration review: I began Virgins prepared to be disappointed by the narration, simply because no one can possibly compare to Davina Porter. It just isn’t fair. I’ve been so spoiled while listening to her narrate the main series and I’ve come to exclusively associate her voice the Outlander characters. However, Allan Scott-Douglas did an admirable job of voicing Jamie and Ian. I will say, as much as I adore Davina Porter’s narration, it was refreshing to hear Jamie and Ian voiced by a male narrator. His interpretation of Ian was spot-on. I could perfectly envision Ian Murray when hearing him voiced. His interpretation of Jamie was a little less accurate, though. I’m not sure if I was comparing it to Davina’s interpretation or Sam Heughan’s on-screen portrayal, but something about it didn’t fully line up. Not that it was a huge problem, however. It may have bothered me more in a longer story, but I was able to enjoy Virgins just fine and I hope Allan Scott-Douglas narrates more of the Outlander novellas. ♣︎

Avatar for bentbookworm

~*Full review and details on The Bent Bookworm!*~


"The Virgins" felt short-story in length to me, though I think it’s actually classified as a novella. I read it in less than an hour though, so…maybe I just read fast? The hardcover addition available from The Book Depository is 256 pages…which I don’t understand since my e-book version was only 86 pages! HUGE difference there and I feel slightly cheated, but it doesn’t seem that there’s actually a difference in content. HOW.

Feels:

I was so happy to be back with Jamie and Ian! Seeing them before Claire came to Scotland, and seeing Jamie so soon after all the horrific events that we only see in flashback in the the full length novels, was both heartrending and exciting. I also really enjoyed that this story was just straight-up historical fiction, no woo-woo added. Not that I haven’t enjoyed those aspects of the novels, but this was just the down and dirty, the nitty-gritty. Even for such a short story, I was totally invested back into the characters and their world.

Characters:

Jamie and Ian are SO YOUNG! They distinctly remind me of my own 17-year-old brother in the way they react to some things. This is Jamie before he became the confident, skilled warrior we meet in [b:Outlander|10964|Outlander (Outlander #1)|Diana Gabaldon|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1402600310s/10964.jpg|2489796]. This is Ian before Jenny. This is both of them as complete virgins in every sense of the word, and they are gregarious, lovable, and heartbreaking. Also cringe-worthy at a few points. I swear I can almost smell the teen-boy sweat coming off of them.

The secondary characters here are interesting and colorful, but I didn’t get attached to any of them. I was rather hoping someone would drive a dagger through a certain female person’s heart, but alas. Despite my non-attachment, I was devastated after a particular scene near the end. Not so much because of who died, but because of how it affected Jamie.

Plot:

The main line of the plot doesn’t become apparent right away. First, we’re thrown into Jamie and Ian’s meeting almost immediately after Jamie’s escape from Black Jack Randall. This, I think, is where it becomes apparent that this story is not to introduce a reader to Outlander. This story is for the fans. I loved it, naturally. However, the actual plot starts off a bit slow. Does it work? Yes. But I think it was secondary to showing us a young Jamie and Ian and just how they actually thought of each other.
“Did ye not mean to go to Confession yourself?” Jamie asked, stopping near the church’s main door. There was a priest in the confessional; two or three people stood a discreet distance away from the carved wooden stall, out of earshot, waiting.

“It’ll bide,” Ian said, with a shrug. “If ye’re goin’ to hell, I might as well go, too. God knows, ye’ll never manage alone.”


Setting/Description:

As usual, Diana’s writing appears to be impeccably researched. I’m not a historian, but the amount of detail and care is obvious.

Rating/Notes:

Overall, I’m giving 4 stars. I do think part of my rating is due to HOW MUCH I love these characters. The writing itself doesn’t seem quite as polished as in the books, but it’s difficult to lay a finger on what gave me that impression. Especially in the beginning, some things felt just a little bit forced. Once everything got started it moved along smoothly, and as usual Gabaldon is a fabulous storyteller. I would recommend reading immediately after the original Outlander, but it would be perfect for Outlander fans at any point in the series!