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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

'The Exile' an Outlander Graphic Novel by Diana GABALDON artwork by Hoang NGUYEN

From the BLURB:

The Exile retells the original Outlander novel from Jamie Fraser's point of view, revealing events never seen in the original story and giving readers a whole new insight into the Jamie-Claire relationship. Jamie's surreptitious arrival in Scotland at the beginning of the tale, his feelings about Claire, and much more - up to the point where Claire faces trial for witchcraft and must choose whether to return to her own century - are brought to life in brilliant four-colour art. A must-read - and a great holiday gift - for any Outlander fan!

‘The Exile’ is the much-anticipated graphic novel of Diana Gabaldon’s ‘Outlander’ novel.

I should be very clear though, about how much of a retelling ‘The Exile’ is of the original ‘Outlander’ book. . .

‘The Exile’ is told, primarily, from the perspective of Jamie’s godfather, Murtagh. The story begins with Jamie’s return from France and sees him navigating clan politics the moment he sets foot on Scottish soil. That means there is nothing of Claire’s life in 1945. We first meet Claire when she is stumbling form the Craig na Dun stone circle and taken captive by Dougal. And the story finishes after Claire’s witch trial, when she tells Jamie the truth about her time-travelling and is forced to make the decision whether to stay in 1743 or return to 1945. . .

Because ‘The Exile’ is told from Murtagh’s perspective (and to a certain extent, Jamie’s POV) the story is a departure from ‘Outlander’ in many ways. The clan politics are more of a focus, and Claire’s presence is more of a mystery (and possible conspiracy?). But fans can rest assured that because ‘The Exile’ is also told from Jamie’s perspective, many beloved and memorable scenes remain (like the wedding night).

In a bid to keep the time-travel story in play, Ms. Gabaldon has also included a side-story about Geillis Duncan and her lover, Kenneth, who travels through the stones shortly after Claire. This side-story was never referenced in the ‘Outlander’ series and it’s a little clunky within ‘The Exile’ . . . but it was great fun to revisit Geillis Duncan in all her insane witch-glory.

‘The Exile’ is not really meant for new-comers. The graphic novel will probably only appeal to that niche audience who are already devout ‘Outlander’ fans, because there are holes in the storyline that only those familiar with the series can fill. But to be honest, I was fine with the graphic novel’s elitism. I think it’s indicative of the series’ popularity that Del Rey published a graphic novel that would only appeal to die-hard fans. And as one such rabid fan-girl, I was drooling on every page. . . because, yes, Jamie looks gorgeous!

Jamie looks *gorgeous* and exactly as I pictured him (like a red-haired Gabriel Aubry!). That’s one of the bonuses of this graphic novel. Yes, there are still film talks going on. . . but it’s pretty much guaranteed that casting an actor to embody everybody’s beloved Jamie will be problematic. In this graphic novel, Jamie is represented exactly as Diana Gabaldon (and readers) envisioned him. And it’s good, so good! (I’m talking naked sexy-good, people!) Claire is also precisely how I pictured her (though a little well-endowed).

To be honest I was always going to love this graphic novel. For starters, I was one fan who was very open-minded about a graphic representation of my favourite novel. Yes, there are a few things that didn’t work – like the random side story about Kenneth. But for the most part I loved delving into the visual world of ‘Outlander’. I appreciated how much of a symbiosis was made between the novel and the art –that Diana Gabaldon had a lot of say in Hoang Nguyen’s final artwork and her personal vision for characters and setting. And the artwork really is to die for - Hoang Nguyen is extremely talented, creating classic characters and breathtaking settings, but unafraid to create slightly raunchy scenes when the story calls for it (which ‘Outlander’ definitely does!).

I loved this graphic novel so much because it was a wonderful representation of one of my favourite novels. The character’s are precisely as I pictured them. And Hoang Nguyen’s artwork is so gorgeous that I wanted to lick every page! This is a must-read for any fan of the Outlander series.

5/5

3 comments:

  1. This is my first graphic novel. It came in the mail this weekend but I haven't had time to crack it open yet...I'm a little leery because I'm not necessarily a fan of graphic novels but excited because it's Jamie and Claire!

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  2. Great review! well, I have to finish reading Outlander first LOL =P

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  3. I loved comic books well into my teens, and looked forward to The Exile. I, for one, am not disappointed. Given the constraints of the format I thought it was enjoyable -- and I loved the way Jamie and Claire were depicted by the artist. Someone wrote that Jamie looked too young and naive, seeming to forget that he was only 22 and still a virgin when he married Claire. I do agree that in some of the panels his looks changed somewhat, but usually due , IMO, to the artist attempting to convey emotion. Real people do not look the same all the time -- sometimes we look great and other times pretty darn unattractive (and I have the pictures to prove it!). The beautiful images of Claire succeeded in wiping away that horrible illustation that appeared on the cover of the first mass market edition to be released in the U.S. back in the early 90s -- the one where Claire looked like a middle aged washerwoman.

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