Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)'s Reviews > Festival of Death

Festival of Death by Jonathan Morris
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did not like it
bookshelves: doctor_who_50th, sci-fi_fantasy, tv_tie-in

*Special Content only on my blog, Strange and Random Happenstance during I ♥ ♥ The Doctor (October-December 2013)

The Doctor has arrived at the G-Lock, a space station that is the result of a massive pile up two hundred years ago. The G-Lock has become a place of pilgrimage for those wishing to experience The Beautiful Death. The attraction doesn't just simulate what death and the veil beyond is like, but it quite literally kills you and then a short time later brings you back, that's if you're wanting to come back. Though the most recent death has gone horribly wrong turning almost all 218 participates into zombies controlled by some unknown force.

The Doctor and Romana arrive in the aftermath to find that everyone knows them and are heralding The Doctor as their saviour. Problem is, The Doctor's never been here before. Which means only one answer remains, in his future, the G-Lock's past, he comes here and saves everyone. Romana warns The Doctor that crossing their own time streams is very dangerous and they have to be careful not to change anything. If they are fated to die, well, they must face this fact, they can not mess about with time, something a time lord should know. Yet each journey into their past proves that they are inextricably linked to the G-Lock, and it's more then a little frustrating trying to find a time when they were unknown. If they are careful, then the G-Lock will be saved, but their own fates, well, that's another thing.

I'm sure every one of you has had a book that you just can't be bothered to pick up. You know that you just need to bite the bullet and power through, but somehow, you just can't. The longer you avoid the book, the easier it is to accept that you will never finish it. If you are like me, and reading is an integral part of you life, this one book then throws everything in your life out of whack. My moods and emotions are usually keyed into what I'm reading at the moment, if I like the book, life seems easier, if I don't... well, I'm a bit of a grump. This inability to finish yet unwillingness to pick up anything else is the worst situation a reader can face. It doesn't happen to me often. The worst case I suffered was back in August of 2008, the book was Breaking Dawn. While I'm not going to comment on this book by Stephenie Meyer here, that would require far more time and energy then I'm willing to spend on this book review, I will say that it took me an entire month to get through that book. Think of all the other books I could have been reading? While I never allowed Festival of Death that hold on my time, I will say that I begrudge it everything else I could have been reading and will forever hold it against it. Though, in the final analysis, this was the least of this books sins.

My issues with this book started on page one. I am never one to skip the intro, even if it might contain spoilers. I have attempted in recent years to read the intro after the books conclusion, but, well, the majority of these new Doctor Who intros are, how shall I put it, just reveling in the fact that their book was chosen. The first three books had something to offer, a little bit about their love of The Doctor and in particular, why they loved THIS Doctor... not so with Jonathan Morris. Jonathan Morris's intro seems more along the lines of us mere mortals should be privileged to read this glorious book he has written. While until this book he was a humble Eraser fan running the fan club (seriously, dude you really think this is an accomplishment?) then this glorious piece of writing was birthed by him, and, while he won't take all the credit for bringing the wibbly wobbly timey wimey to the Whoverse... oh, who am I kidding, he will take all the credit. He will view the complex time lines and the ability to loop back on your own life as his own amazing creation, forgetting, oh, almost a centuries worth of work that came before him. That Red Dwarf episode, "Future Echoes," the one from 1988, more then a decade before this book, well, forget that, this book totally didn't just rip it off, because, well, Jonathan Morris CREATED timey wimey! In fact, if we take his introduction to heart, using his own timey wimey, he must have created Doctor Who himself and every other time travelling show, literature, what have you, ever. Quantum Leap, totally his. Gaw, this author is so full of himself.

And here is the real snag in the book. Ego aside, the book is just a pastiche of all these other shows and books, that couldn't possibly be as original as Festival of Death because the author says so. I can't tell if it's his naivete as a new writer, or his immense ego that let's him just rip off other writers without a care in the world. These are not nods, these are blatant rip offs. The "reference" to Douglas Adams, ie, the depressed computer ERIC, well, let's just call him MARVIN and move on. I mean, seriously dude, this isn't cool. If you watch Doctor Who, you've read Adams at some point, and well, readers aren't going to let this slide. Adams was a genius, YOU ARE A HACK. The reason I mentioned Red Dwarf above, well, it's because one scene was almost lifted fully from that previously mentioned episode. A good author is able to incorporate other ideas and references into a solid narrative that is original while yet being referential... Jonathan Morris, the author I shall never read again, doesn't do this. The book isn't a cohesive whole, just a bunch of jokes and scenes lifted from other sources and precariously strung together. Here's all the "references" I was able to ferret out, and I'm sure it's by no means exhaustive: The Shining, Alien, Titanic, Lord of the Rings (in particular Gollum), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (and yes, I did check release dates so that I am not wrong), and in the end, Being John Malkovich, in the weirdest "nod" yet. Seriously, couldn't the author try anything original? All he did was point out how bad his book was by "referencing" books/movies/whatever that I enjoyed far far more.

In the few rare instances that he tries to show some originality, it comes across as bad jokes or goes against the cannon of the show. The alien races that he encounters, I'm not talking about those little lizard people who are obviously out of the canon of Adams, but the Arboretans... could you think of a lamer name? I'm sorry, but plant based life that is kind of Fern Gully meets Doctor Who and you named them Arboretans? Do they live in the Arboretum near my house? Could you try to think of a non cringe worthy name? Like you're deja vu jokes that made me groan. Preja vu? The stupid running joke about The Doctor not having passed his test to fly the TARDIS. Or the fact that you actually killed The Doctor for thirty minutes and therefore destroyed some of the cannon, because, if he died, he would have regenerated, and well... HE DIDN'T! That is one of the glaring problems of this book. Because we know The Doctor saves the G-Lock, but in doing so he supposedly dies... well, we know he can't die, neither can Romana, because, well, that's not what happens to them, so there is no peril, no impetus to keep reading because we know what happens. I can say I finished the book, but I will never read this author again, I would rather have my brains smashed out by a slice of lemon, wrapped 'round a large gold brick.
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Reading Progress

February 4, 2013 – Shelved
February 4, 2013 – Shelved as: doctor_who_50th
June 18, 2013 – Shelved as: blog_need_to_read
October 2, 2013 – Started Reading
October 10, 2013 –
0.0% "This author is really full of himself, he takes WAY to much credit for timey-whimey, which, to be fair, most of the book is ripping of Red Dwarf, so... not original in the least. But once you get past his ego, the story is pretty ok so far, well, except that there are these random plant people called Arboreteans... like they live in the Arboretum... and don't get me started on the lame deja vu joke."
October 11, 2013 –
0.0% "Nods to Douglas Adams? Let's say straight up rip offs with ERIC, or should I call him MARVIN?"
October 12, 2013 –
page 211
68.73% "It's turned into a mess of Prisoner of Azkaban meets The Shining, with Alien thrown in. Couldn't this author try anything original?"
October 18, 2013 –
page 211
68.73% "So now it's ripping off The Shining, Titanic, and LOTR's... excellent, if I liked such overt "references" to other books/movies/whatever that I enjoyed far far more."
October 18, 2013 –
page 211
68.73% "And then it became Being John Malkovich and I swear I will never read this author again."
October 18, 2013 – Shelved as: sci-fi_fantasy
October 18, 2013 – Shelved as: tv_tie-in
October 18, 2013 – Finished Reading

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