Which book in the Outlander series should you start with?

Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images /
Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images /

When it comes to the Outlander series, starting with the first book may not actually be the best option.

While Diana Gabaldon’s novels have been entertaining readers for decades, it was only in 2014 that the series was finally created. Fans cheered and cried tears of joy, eagerly anticipating the portrayal of Claire and Jamie. But the show did something else. It brought new fans to the series, with many of those picking up the books shortly after.

However, you may be one of those show-only fans; those who have watched every episode but still hasn’t read any of the novels. Now you want to give them a go, but have no idea where to start.

It’s not always as simple as starting from the beginning. Outlander Season 3 is telling the story of book three, “Voyager,” and there are five more after that. Each season tells the story of each individual book in the series. Do you start with the current story, jump ahead to the next book, or start from the very beginning.

Watch Outlander with a FREE 7-day trial of Amazon Channels
Watch Outlander with a FREE 7-day trial of Amazon Channels /

More from Claire and Jamie

This will depend on whether you like being spoiled or not. Either way, the storyline will be spoiled, but you can work with the way you prefer.

Start with the very first book

More often than not, the best place to start is with the very first book. “Outlander” will tell you the story of Outlander Season 1; how Claire and Jamie met and fell in love. While you’ve already watched the series, starting here will bring more detail to the stones, Claire’s relationship with Frank, and Claire’s learning of a world 200 years in the past.

The novels are long. You may find it the perfect way to take up Droughtlander when it happens next month. Once you’ve finished with “Outlander,” you can move onto “Dragonfly in Amber” and “Voyager” to catch up with the TV series.

One of the biggest benefits is that you won’t spoil anything to come in the TV series. You can avoid twists and turns that Claire and Jamie will face.

Start with the current book

Some fans are starting with the current book. This is understandably. They want to delve straight into the series and understand where the journey is going to take them for Season 3. There is enough information from Seasons 1 and 2 to understand enough of the Outlander world and jump in at book three. There will be times when you feel like you’re missing a little detail, but not too much to distract the reading.

When you’ve finished the novel, you can continue the series and get ahead of the show. This will constantly help you figure out what is just around the corner. You’ll also see the changes that are being made.

Some readers opt for reading the book along with the seasons. This allows them to see the small and big changes clearly.

Start with book four after December

Rather than starting from the beginning or jumping in with the third book, you could start reading book four, “Drums of Autumn,” in December. Allow Season 3 to finish and then continue the story during Droughtlander. You’ll have an idea of the twists and turns to come next season. Considering Season 3 is almost over, this may be the best way to start right now if you don’t mind spoilers for the show.

Once you’ve finished the next five books, go back and read the first three. The eight books are long enough that they may just take up the whole of Droughtlander without feeling like you’re missing your Claire and Jamie fix.

Next: 6 biggest questions from Outlander Season 3, Episode 9

Are you going to start reading the Outlander novel series? Where will you start? Share in the comments below.

Outlander Season 3 continues on Sundays at 8/7c on Starz. Get the Starz App for access to the latest episodes at midnight on Sundays.