Sunday, October 10, 2010

Exile - Diana Gabaldon

The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel
Diana Gabaldon
Hoang Nguyen (Illustrator)
Del Rey
978-0345505385

The amazon.com product description:
Diana Gabaldon’s brilliant storytelling has captivated millions of readers in her bestselling and award-winning Outlander saga. 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, gorgeously rendered by artist Hoang Nguyen.

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.

And then there is Claire Randall—mysterious, beautiful, and strong-willed, who appears in Jamie’s life to stir his  compassion . . . and arouse his desire.

But even as Jamie’s heart draws him to Claire, Murtagh is certain she’s been sent by the Old Ones, and Captain Randall accuses her of being a spy. Claire clearly has something to hide, though Jamie can’t believe she could pose him any danger. Still, he knows she is torn between two choices—a life with him, and whatever it is that draws her thoughts so often elsewhere.
   
Step into the captivating, passionate, and suspenseful world of The Exile, and experience the storytelling magic of Diana Gabaldon as never before.
 I know what I've said about graphic novels before, here and here. Before this one, I'd never managed to finish one, either. However, I did finish reading The Exile, and quite enjoyed it, although I do feel like I need to reread Outlander to understand a lot of the subtleties of the plot.

Essentially, The Exile is the story of the first half (give or take, my memory is a bit foggy) of the book Outlander from the perspective of Jamie Fraiser. The illustrations are spectacular too. On the other hand, aside from the two main characters, I still had trouble telling characters apart sometimes. But, unlike some of the other reviews I've read, I didn't find that the depictions of the characters jarred with my mental images. The read was certainly an interesting experience, given that it's just the dialogue and thoughts that is actually read. Everything else is contained in the picture panels.

The story is coherent, even without recent knowledge of the story as told in Outlander. Overall, I quite liked it, but graphic novels are probably not likely to become my favorite format anytime soon.
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