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