**spoiler alert** Based on the classic children's adventure show (starring marionettes), this novel tells the backstory behind International Rescue an...more**spoiler alert** Based on the classic children's adventure show (starring marionettes), this novel tells the backstory behind International Rescue and their Thunderbirds ships. We discover what motivated former astronaut Jeff Tracy and his sons to create private, secret organization dedicated to rescuing people from disasters around the planet. We also learn how they meet supporting characters Kyrano, Tin-Tin, Lady Penelope and Parker. Finally, we also see how the ships and their secret base were constructed, and uncover the motivation behind recurring villain The Hood.
This books is very much a prequel, setting up the stuff fans will have already seen on the show. As a result, some elements (particularly the Hood) get set up but never quite pay off. Also, while we see the setup and get some pretty detailed descriptions of the Thunderbirds vehicles and their functions, as well as Tracy Island, we don't really see them in action that much. So it's a pretty atypical Thunderbirds story, and may appeal more to longtime fans than folks unfamiliar with the series. Having said that, I can't imagine too many people buying/reading this book who aren't already Thunderbirds fans, so that's probably not a big issue.
The author, Joan Marie Verba, is clearly one of those fans. The writing is occasionally clunky, and her detailed descriptions of the design and functions of the Thunderbirds and all the gadgets on Tracy Island certainly don't help to speed the pace. However, as the title says, this is merely the countdown to action, and it's fine that it's a slow, deliberate build-up to everything that comes next.
If I have one major criticism, it's that the characters aren't particularly fleshed out. However, I even have mixed feeling about that, since a novel based on a TV show should be true to that show. Is it a problem if the characters come across as stiff and wooden in the book, when that's what they literally were on the show? I guess the one change I would wish for is some more depth to patriarch Jeff Tracy. While we see his sons go through some trials and tests of faith, it would have been nice to have seen him go through the same sort of thing.
Having said that, when she's trying, Ms Verba really was able to evoke real emotion. Lucy Tracy's death scene actually brought tears to my eyes. Between stuff like that, and her fantastic evocation of the images of the TV series, I felt that she really wrote a successful Thunderbirds novel. I eagerly look forward to reading the next book, to see how she handles a more traditional Thunderbirds story, now that the groundwork has been laid.(less)
Feeling withdrawal pains after the mid-season finale of the TV series, I decided to read this book. On the plus side, Tod Goldberg does a good job of...moreFeeling withdrawal pains after the mid-season finale of the TV series, I decided to read this book. On the plus side, Tod Goldberg does a good job of capturing the voice of the show and its characters. On the other hand, by the time I got to the end, I wasn't quite sure how all the plot threads had come together to resolve all the problems. And while it was fun to read the first time, I don't want to reread it just to figure out how the story ended.(less)
A bizarre setup is once again rendered just okay by stereotypically standard one-dimensional evil aliens with a very unimaginative plot to kidnap the...moreA bizarre setup is once again rendered just okay by stereotypically standard one-dimensional evil aliens with a very unimaginative plot to kidnap the citizenry of New York into slavery. The characterization of the Doctor and Amy is just fine, and the book is fast paced enough to keep from being dull. But after the quality of the last couple of years of 10th Doctor novels, it feels like BBC Books has completely forgotten everything they learned over the past five years and is starting from scratch again, trying to figure out who their audience is.(less)