Many authors have attempted to do what Mr Driscoll does with Echo McCool, but few have succeeded. It's a very traditional story but at the same time n...moreMany authors have attempted to do what Mr Driscoll does with Echo McCool, but few have succeeded. It's a very traditional story but at the same time new. It feels like a timeless classic has been updated to appeal to kids today. I was watching Sherlock on BBC One the other day and it put me in mind of how the makers of that show have updated an old idea to make it appeal to viewers today. Mr Driscoll has done the same here with classic children's fiction.
The stars, Jason and Echo, complement each other very well. Mr Driscoll does not give in to temptation and just have Jason 'do a Pygmalion' on Echo - instead he has them learn from and help each other. Yes, Jason is resourceful and has modern knowledge, but Echo is uniquely skilled, sharp not to mention self-sufficient. 'I know not ring the police,' she says, but I think she is not just saying she does not know who the police are - I think she is intelligent enough to work that one out for herself - she is saying 'I would not ever use the police.' Echo's strength is reflected in other ways too: e.g. Jason derides Echo's medieval language and tries to teach her how people speak today ("All this perchance and thou art stuff - no one speaks like that anymore. It's better to say perhaps and you are.") Echo then explains to him how "thee" differs from "you" and how modern language is actually a dumbed down version of what she speaks - it's less specific. I found this a joy to read as when I have read books like this before, the authors have tended to make the person from the past seem stupid when in fact they are just not educated about modern things. In many ways though they are cleverer.
I also like how Mr Driscoll combines Lord of the Rings-style mythology with modern day action. Going from a Drayad netherworld to a couple of working class blokes cutting a tree down really underlines the differences between the main characters' worlds, and he makes each's character's seem believable.
The story ends on a high note with Jason reunited with his sister and promises of new adventures to come, perhaps involving all three of them with any luck. I am looking forward to reading about the rest of their journey together. (less)
I knew from the blurb's Chesney Hawkes joke that The Tally was going to bring back memories of my old Uni days, and it definitely did. Little touches...moreI knew from the blurb's Chesney Hawkes joke that The Tally was going to bring back memories of my old Uni days, and it definitely did. Little touches like the students playing on Champ Manager and having them moan about cashpoints not doing fivers really sets the scene, and the author really gets the adolescent male mentality - the difference between how the characters think and feel, and how they try to portray themselves to their peers, definitely couldn't be any further apart. This is in effect the book's MO, as the storyline looks at the differences between thought and action, and different aspects of the same person fighting for control.
The book definitely lets itself down though with some difficult dialect. Northerners might well disagree "wi' me", but I found The Tally just as tough if not tougher than some of the hardcore Scottish fiction I've read. There were one or two chapters I couldn't even tackle. Hearing dialect is one thing but reading it is something else - less is definitely more in print, I think.
But while this may be true, The Tally is still definitely one on its own, and probably the most evocative piece of university fiction I've ever read. Call it by its name or by its number, it's not the same as all the rest... (less)
Us Doctor Who fans are probably far more preoccupied with continuity than any other set of fans in the whole world, which I think is more than a bit i...moreUs Doctor Who fans are probably far more preoccupied with continuity than any other set of fans in the whole world, which I think is more than a bit ironic as Doctor Who itself clearly isn't. Most fans who try to do the impossible and put the Doctor's adventures into some sort of order tend to put things from the Doctor's point of view, which is hard enough, but Parkin and Pearson have really made it hard for themselves by trying to put the whole history of the Dr Who universe into one history - Ahistory. There is that much stuff crammed in there they do not even have space for a space in the title.
This second edition includes pretty much everything from TV, Big Finish Finish, the books, and even the comics right up until 2007. The first series of Torchwood is even covered along with the opening Sarah Jane Adventure and K-9 & Company.
It's a controversial book, as you'd expect, as the authors tackle divisive topics like UNIT dating, the destruction(s) of Gallifrey and even the Doctor's past, but it's engaging and fun throughout, and there's not been a book to top it yet. Hopefully there'll be a third edition at some point, but it will have to be BIG... (less)
I received the Destiny trilogy of books as a gift and absolutely loved them - they really re-kindled my passion for the franchise. From there, I worke...moreI received the Destiny trilogy of books as a gift and absolutely loved them - they really re-kindled my passion for the franchise. From there, I worked backwards, taking in all the "post-finale" Next Generation, DS9 and Voyager books before deciding to take a punt on Titan - the spin-off series that focuses on the voyages of the starship captained by Will Riker after Nemesis.
Taking Wing - the first book in the series - sets the scene for what's to come. It's a little slow, as it spends a lot of time introducing (or re-introducing...) the characters and the whole general set-up, but it gets very exciting indeed as it gets towards the end. The crew takes pride in being the most alien Starfleet has ever assembled - there's a carnivorous, dinosaur-like Doctor, Melora Pazlar (who a lot of readers will remember from the DS9 episode Melora) not to mention Voyager's Vulcan security chief, Tuvok, the Enterprise's Betazed Counsellor, Troi. Riker is among the few humans.
Taking Wing has quite a Farpoint feel, but it reminded me a lot of Caretaker too, particularly in how it builds on other Trek-universe events (not to mention the ending...). I think to really enjoy the book you need a good grounding in at least the more recent Trek TV series and especially the Nemesis movie, but I suppose those buying the book will. (less)