Review – The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel

The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel

By Diana Gabaldon

Illustrated by Hoang Nguyen

Ballantine Books

ISBN: 978-0-345-50538-5

3.5 stars

The Exile is Outlander from Jamie Fraser’s point of view.  Being a graphic novel, it took me a few pages to move past and tell the voice raging in my head that while I didn’t picture Jamie Fraser this way, someone did so get over it.  Once I moved on, it was all good and the visions in my head and those on the page began, inexplicably, to merge.  As a side note, this book is beautifully illustrated so it was hard to be all that disappointed.

However, the story itself didn’t work for me and I think it’s because I know the story too well.  In graphic novel form it feels too light and that too much information is missing.  All the basics are here — Jamie’s story is pretty much the same as Claire’s so there isn’t much that differs — but it’s the little details that I loved about the first book that I missed.  And let’s face it, Gabaldon, if you’ve read any of the Outlander books, likes details.

For those not familiar with the story: Jamie Fraser is a Scotsman returning to his homeland with a price on his head.  Claire Randall is a 20th Century woman who, while visiting Scotland and touring a group of standing stones, passes into the stone circle and goes back in time to the 18th Century.  As two outsiders, Jamie and Claire are thrown together in a marriage of strange convenience but fall in love despite their circumstances.

Jamie and Claire are true to their characters, there’s still a lot of sex, and somehow Claire is much more voluptuous than I ever imagined her to be but that might just be due to the fact that I don’t add extra boobage to female characters instinctively.  Jamie remains the hot Scottish guy in a kilt too so plus for that.

There was one scene from the original book that I wish had been left out.  At one point, Claire tries to escape back to her own time and makes a run for the stone circle that brought her to the 18th Century.  She gets captured by a British Captain who is looking for Jamie.  Jamie is able to get her back before any damage is done but as punishment, he beats her.  I almost put the book down when I first read it in Outlander and hoped that the scene had been expunged from this version.  It hadn’t.  I had an even more visceral reaction to it this time around.  I tried to explain it to myself in terms of the time frame (1700s) but it will never be something I can overlook.  I’m sure many may think I’m making too much of one rather small part of the story but it just soured it for me.

If you’re a fan of Gabaldon’s Outlander series, you’ll probably, like me, want to read this one.  I wasn’t thoroughly sold but it hasn’t ruined the series for me either.  As I mentioned earlier, it’s really beautifully done and worth a look for that reason alone.

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3 thoughts on “Review – The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel

  1. I hadn’t realize that there was a graphic novel written from his perspective. As far as the scene with the beating, I always looked at it as a punishment in much the same way that Jamie would have punished any of his men for a similar disobedience (obviously not the same physical punishment, but a physical punishment nonetheless). It doesn’t make it any more comfortable to read, but I did look at it as a cultural/time difference. Thinking about it as domestic violence does make me think of it differently. I’ll have to ponder it again when I read it the next time.

    I haven’t read any of the graphic versions because I don’t want to mess with the images of the characters that I have in my mind.

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