This is the third 11th Doctor story I've read so far, and I can't say I'm feeling too impressed with the new series of books. Night of the Humans was...moreThis is the third 11th Doctor story I've read so far, and I can't say I'm feeling too impressed with the new series of books. Night of the Humans was only so-so, and very much focused on a younger audience. The Coming of the Terraphiles was, quite frankly, terrible. The Forgotten Army maintains that strange over-focus on a young audience with villains that are miniscule in size, but looked like ogres and fight like obnoxious cartoon characters (seriously, there was even a scene where they dressed a police officer up as a fairy). More obnoxiously, however, Minchin kept reusing scenes and phrases from the early episodes of the television series.
I realize the authors of these early books were only able to see an episode or two before writing these books, but really. I've just started reading Apollo 23, and it is much more promising than any of the other first four 11th Doctor books, but Justin Richards has been writing Doctor Who novels since the Virgin New/Missing Adventures. So, he actually knows how to pull it off.
Brian Minchin wrote the excellent Torchwood audio, Sin Eaters. So, I know he can write a decent tale. It just seems like he toned it down way too much to fit a younger audience, and didn't trust himself to write a character he'd only just met. Disappointing.(less)
There's part of me that longs for the days that the Doctor Who books were written for an older audience, and this book is no exception.
The introductio...moreThere's part of me that longs for the days that the Doctor Who books were written for an older audience, and this book is no exception.
The introduction had unnecessary confusion, in some extraneous attempt to make the alien race seem more human than the humans on the junk planet. It didn't really help the story, especially since the secondary characters were written well enough—even over-the-top characters like “Dirk Slipstream” (who reminded me of Ace Rimmer with the voice and mustache of Terry O'Quinn). You might think the story is simply too much if you add in the Pioneer 10 cliché (that satellite gets around in sci-fi universes), overly-blatant anti-religion subtext, and the now common DW rush to the finish (comet hits in 100 minutes, Doctor's at the edge of an acid lake with a spear poking at his back, Amy's outside the enemy base, nanobomb's set to go off, and there's something weird in the Gobocorp ship. Whatever will happen?).
Fortunately, where Llewellyn fails with cliché and excess, he succeeds with dialogue and characters. He does a fantastic job of presenting the Doctor and Amy. The voices are spot on, and its easy to see them in this adventure. The Sittuun, the major alien race present in this story, were interesting, if not fully developed. Slipstream is obnoxious at first, but makes for an interesting foil as the story progresses.
Overall, the book is a simple read and the interactions between the Doctor and Amy make it worth picking up. Personally, I love the Matt Smith Doctor and Amy, and any opportunity to see them in action is one I'll take. This isn't the best Doctor Who book I've ever read, but it was good fun and I wouldn't mind trying another book by Llewellyn in the future.(less)