Diana Gabaldon is the New York Times bestselling author of the wildly popular Outlander novels-Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, Drums of Autumn, The Fiery Cross, and A Breath of Snow and Ashes (for which she won a Quill Award and the Corine International Book Prize)-and one work of nonfiction, The Outlandish Companion, as well as the bestselling series featuring Lord John Grey, a character she introduced in Voyager. She lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.
It's really not that great either. Yes, I did pre-order this graphic novel, and yes, I am a fan of the Outlander series.
I prompt you, however, not to read the bad reviews (despite the fact that there are many) until you read this review.
As someone who has a great appreciation of literature and art as well, I own a vast array of novels and graphic novels. I won't consider myself an expert by any means, but I think I have a decent working knowledge of where the two differ. I agree with most reviewers that this might be blasphemy for hardcore Gabaldon fans. I am not a hardcore fan, and I decided to take Diana's endeavor with a grain of salt. She was certainly trying something new and regardless of what it was, fans were going to buy it (and they still will, more than likely).
To be honest, most of what I loved as a reader about Outlander got lost in the translation from novel to graphic novel. Unlike some, however, I feel that this was not because of the artist, but because of Diana Gabaldon's writing style: she writes in first person. It makes it a little difficult to translate that to graphic form, especially when you are taking it from someone that is outside of the relationship that is the core of her series. I felt that this was the main problem. Had the story been told from Jamie's point of view and not Murtagh's...well, I'm not saying that would have made it leaps and bounds better, but it might have helped a little.
That being said, I enjoyed the graphic novel a lot. It was light, not too heavy, did have a lot of nudity, which knowing the Gabaldon, should come as no surprise to readers. I thought the art was gorgeous; the illustrator really did a great job. I personally enjoyed the rough edge that the pictures had to them.Read more ›
The storyline in this graphic novel ("comic book" to some people) is interesting, and adds new elements previously unheard of in the Outlander series (a new character and Murtaugh-focused sub-plot). However, it's also a little choppy and disjointed.
The illustrations are beautiful and sometimes spot-on. They are, conversely, also sometimes very far off if you're familiar with the details of the series. For example, Jamie is clearly in the 5'10" area in this book, and never appears "a head above" the other men. Additionally, it's very hard to follow which man is which, as they are all portrayed almost identically.
Having said that, though, I do think it's worth reading, and as a die-hard fan, I believe it's worth owning.
One last note: Please don't review with one star just because you didn't know what a graphic novel was. That's not fair to the author or artist.
While I was not terribly familiar with graphic novels, 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.
Now to the negatives: I agree that the color of Jamie's eyes didn't seem quite right, they looked too dark (Gabaldon wrote that his eyes were dark blue, but in the book they looked almost black); and the story of Kenneth was unnecessary and confusing. One of the problems with a graphic novel is that wonderful pieces of discriptive passages, with which Outlander abounds, are eliminated by the format. But I feel that Hoang Nguyen's beautiful illustrations of Scotland in many ways compensated for the lack of narration. I would like to see more of this format.
Let it first be known that I have read all of Diana Gabaldon's books, several times for some and love them. The Outlander series is, of course, THE best ever. But, I have to say that I did not care for The Exile at all. I found the artwork too dark, the male characters too similar and oddly oriental, and what can I say about Claire? Very disappointing. May as well have drawn in Betty Boop or some such. I labored through it simply out of devotion to the series but it was labor. Passed it on to another fan who only managed a dozen pages before giving it back. I applaud the exploration into a new genre but I have to give The Exile a thumbs down.
I am not a typical Gabaldon fan -- I read the first three books, but stopped after VOYAGER, and I don't have EVERY single character, love scene, setting, and plot point memorized. Nevertheless, I thought this little graphic novel was a lot of fun. Jamie and Claire are drawn much sexier and more fresh-faced than I pictured them in the book. In a way that's not so good for Claire. She's a tough, smart, worldly woman, and in this graphic version she's too cute to be a minute over seventeen!
But I adored the humor and the light-hearted romantic moments so much more, like when Jamie is holding her on his lap and he says out loud "I will protect you always" but inside his head he's thinking, "she has the most wonderful round bottom!" Diana Gabaldon is a genius, and in 500 years people will still be reading OUTLANDER and comparing it to ANNA KARENINA and ULYSSES. But the lady has a sense of humor too, and this little book was a real treat for her fans.
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