The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel by Diana Gabaldon, Illustrated by Hoang Nguyen

“Experience Jamie’s Side of the Story!”, the cover cries and who am I to turn down any Outlander material? I suppose that this graphic novel might be a good starting place for people curious about the book series who also like this format; moreover, Outlander is entirely from the heroine’s perspective and The Exile mostly from the hero’s which is something lacking until much later in novels and a welcome change.

If you haven’t read Outlander , and you really should, it’s AWESOME, here is a bastardized summary from my review: In 1946, Claire Randall is on a second honeymoon in the Scottish Highlands. She visits a local henge and through the magic of fiction is able to walk between the two halves of a broken stone slab and end up in the same place, but in 1743.  As an outsider, Claire is regarded with suspicion and is thus pulled into a protective relationship with the chief’s nephew, Jamie Fraser… and thus an epic historical adventure and love story begins, spanning decades, leaping centuries, and continents, with eight novels and still going.

The Exile shares the beginning of the story from Jamie’s perspective both before and after becoming involved with Claire. It also includes some back story on other significant characters and adds one that is either new or I have forgotten. Even with pictures (and like the book and TV series) I had trouble keeping all the craggy men straight. Overall, it was a quick read that left me flat.

I’m no judge of the artwork, but it seemed competent in a simplified, shorthand way, i.e. the dress is long and she’s wearing a corset tied over it, so it must be historical. Really, this means that, in keeping with my perception of female depictions of women in graphic novels, all the ladies are running around in their underclothes or that which simulates same. There are a lot of boobs on display, such many boobs. Magically, heaving two-dimensional boobs in that distracting “my clothing can barely withstand the pressure” way of boobs in fiction. Squished and/or overflowing boobs, not only for Claire (apologies for the picture quality),

exile 1

exile 2but supporting characters as well,

exile 3

Clearly, The Exile is not made for what is considered the usual Outlander audience: women. If Claire had been given a frequently savoured comely backside, I could have understood it more as her arse is frequently appreciated in the books.

Graphic novels have simply never been part of my reading. I read some religious Archie comics that one time I spent 10 days at bible camp (never to return), but the whole world of comic books was not a part of my formative years and as such they leave me cold. The most interesting part of the book for me was the brief Afterward in which Gabaldon shares her correspondence with the illustrator about what Jamie and Claire look like. You can check out the book to see, but to get the idea just look up some combination of “Gabriel Aubry Jamie Fraser” and apparently you will be quite close. (Self-congratulatory aside: That’s pretty much what my Jamie looks like, too. My Claire is entirely different though.)

My reviews of the books in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series can be found here.

Links to my other reviews can be found on my complete reading list of books sorted by author or Author Commentary & The Tallies Shameful.

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