Review - The Exile by Diana Gabaldon

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Exile: An Outlander Graphic NovelThe Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel

The Outlander saga has captured the hearts and minds of many readers over the years. Now, in her first-ever graphic novel, Gabaldon gives readers a fresh look at the events of the original Outlander - Jamie Fraser’s side of the story, rendered by artist Hoang Nguyen.

An interesting concept to be sure, but one, which in my opinion, did not live up to expectations at all.
Synopsis - After too long an absence, Jamie Fraser is coming home to Scotland—but not without great trepidation. Though his beloved godfather, Murtagh, promised Jamie’s late parents he’d watch over their brash son, making good on that vow will be no easy task. There’s already a fat bounty on the young exile’s head, courtesy of Captain Black Jack Randall, the sadistic British officer who’s crossed paths—and swords—with Jamie in the past. And in the court of the mighty MacKenzie clan, Jamie is a pawn in the power struggle between his uncles: aging chieftain Colum, who demands his nephew’s loyalty—or his life—and Dougal, war chieftain of Clan MacKenzie, who’d sooner see Jamie put to the sword than anointed Colum’s heir.

My Thoughts - It's been a while since I last picked up an Outlander book. That being said, I was looking forward to reading this graphic novel as not only have I long been a comic book fan, but also in hope of seeing something valuable added to a beloved storyline and watch the characters come to life. I was disappointed - on all aspects.

I did find it mildly interesting, but only as far as the story goes. The illustrations left me cold, particularly when it came to depicting the face and body language of the characters. Most of the time the expressionless face of Jamie, the way his mouth never changes shape and how he looks different in different parts of the book were jarring. I also got confused repeatedly as the characters are drawn such that it is difficult to distinguish them from each other when the focus is not full face. This is especially true of the male characters. Also, they do not appear realistic, more like an anime version than real people - no wrinkles, laugh lines etc; just smooth, bland, ageless, expressionless faces. Other irritations include the innumerable Asterisks in the narrative, Claire's DD cleavage, and the worst one of them all - how dark the entire novel is, literally, color-wise. The picture below (courtesy Amazon), is actually much lighter than the one in the novel.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Overall, I'd rather stick to the actual books as they were a great deal more entertaining. And the images in my mind are much better (and brighter).

Note - This book was received for review/feature consideration. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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