Friday, October 8, 2010

Review: The Exile by Diana Gabaldon

The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel

I'm sharing a few of my thoughts upon finishing the new Outlander graphic novel: The Exile. The Exile is a re-telling in graphic-novel form of the first half of Diana Gabaldon's wildly popular novel Outlander, and while it is true to the original story, the reader gets to see it from a different point of view. If you haven't read Outlander, then you should certainly start there as this graphic novel is really just a fun little extra and does not have the depth and scope of the original.

I'd never read a graphic novel before and I found it took some getting used to. Sometimes I couldn't tell in which order the dialogue was spoken and I was disappointed that the characters' faces were not drawn with the same detail throughout the novel as they were in the beginning of the story, but I'm supposing that's how it goes: the artist gives you a couple of very detailed, complete pictures of the main characters, Jamie and Claire, so you'll know what they look like, but doesn't keep up that level of detail throughout the rest of the novel, focusing more on the action shots. Thus sometimes Jamie and Claire looked like cartoon characters. But, oh, those first few frames of Jamie are awesome!! (You can get a sneak peak by browsing through a few of the pages on Amazon.)

The story begins with MacKenzie clansman Murtaugh bringing Jamie Fraser home from an abby in France where he has been recuperating from an attempt on his life. They meet up with their fellow clansmen to make the trip back to Castle Leoch, the MacKenzie stronghold, and then along comes Claire Randall who stumbled through an ancient stone circle in 1945 and ended up in 1743, and if you've read Outlander you know what happens from there! There's a new element to the story, though, and it involves Murtaugh and a mysterious man who appears from out of nowhere, and Murtaugh, being highly superstitious, believes him to be a faery demon. But this fellow keeps popping up and soon it becomes evident to the reader that he is a fellow Traveler who's come through the standing stones. This new subplot has no real bearing on the Outlander story, so it doesn't change anything we already know, just adds another layer to it and helps give a little more insight into Murtaugh's mind. The story ends when Claire makes her choice between her old life in 1945 and her new life in 1743 at the circle of the standing stones. (In Outlander, this is actually only about two-thirds of the way through the book and much more story follows.)

I gobble up anything Outlander-related, so I pre-ordered this as soon as I was able to do so. Based on story and read-ability I'd rate it 3 stars, because I did find it rather confusing, the addition of the new subplot was nothing to get too excited about, and the bare bones storyline does not do justice to the original book. BUT the artwork is absolutely beautiful, I loved getting to see one of my favorite novels of all time get a treatment like this, and its "coolness" factor earns it 5 stars, so I'm splitting the difference and calling this one 4 stars. I don't think it's going to end up a beloved classic, but if you're a devoted Outlander fan you've got to add this to your collection.

Rating: 4 Stars out of 5

1 comment:

  1. I read this one over the weekend and thoroughly enjoyed it. I did however keep on wondering about that additional character. I only reread the original Outlander earlier this year and I found myself thinking "I don't remember this guy!".

    I loved that it had all of the major Jamiesm, but it did skip a lot.

    The artwork was beautiful too.

    I do however think that this is one for the existing fans of the series. I don't know that it will bring a lot of new readers to the series.


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