Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Doctor Who - The Crawling Terror

Mysteries from WWII, giant insects, alien consciousness, and small towns in the English country side.

Sounds like an episode of Doctor Who to me.

Actually, The Crawling Terror by Mike Tucker will almost never be made into an actual episode because the CGI cost would be too high, however, with a good imagination Tucker's book is the next best thing or perhaps even better for book loving Whovians.

I was highly impressed with Tucker's offering.
First because he did such a beautiful job of structuring his plot and characters.
I mean, this was the first of the three Whovian novels I was given that actually describes the Doctor's new face. Furthermore, not content to leave his readers there, Tucker explores the changing nature of Clara and the Doctor's relationship now that 11 is gone. The delight Tucker seemed to take writing nuances into his story whether they were character traits, sarcastic quips, or plot points worthy of an episode made me feel that someone who respects Who was behind the novel (I have no idea and should probably go look up Tucker's background).

Secondly, Tucker presented an amazing story because, although I love stories set in England and especially ones that bring in WWII, I am equally against stories that future giant, mutant insects that take over towns. Somehow, despite my own crawling terror up and down my back (I really hate bugs) I was riveted throughout the story. It takes an excellent story to override my distaste for bugs and keep me wanting more so for that I salute you Tucker.

As far as the bones of this story go, I acknowledge my copy may end up slightly different after final edits but the flow, structure and pacing all felt comfortable. For those familiar with the show the surprises were in content not in jarring literary techniques. I think this contributed to my enjoyment of the book as Doctor Who, even in its most uncomfortable always seems to follow the same flow and core rules, it feels like a friend and that's how this book read.

4.5 out of 5 stars.

I received this book from NetGallery in exchange for my honest review. The opinions are my own.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Doctor Who - Silhouette

After reading my first novel featuring the newly regenerated 12th doctor, I picked up Silhouette by Justin Richards with cautious excitement.

The blurb sounded intriguing: murders behind closed doors, favourite characters back for a visit, and a curious carnival at the center but as I've found with books before descriptions can be deceiving.

Luckily for me, the only deceiving part of this book was the villain, just the way a good Doctor Who novel should feel in my opinion.

Silhouette started off a little rough, with the structure and pacing feeling a little foreign. However, by the middle of the first chapter I was back in Victorian England  exploring the Carnival of Curiosities and watching a mystery worthy of an episode unfolding before my eyes.

I loved Richards portrayal of the established characters he worked with: Clara was perfectly represented, Straax made me smile in all the right places (Straax has long been a favourite of mine), and Jenny and Vastra both presented themselves true to form. Unlike my first venture into Whovian novels, Richards made me care about the newest regeneration (more than I already was) and allowed the new doctor to begin to form and take on his personality.

The story itself was brilliantly constructed. I felt some of the final revelation could have used a bit steadier pacing but everything unfolded true to the story that Richards had unfolded. Mysteries have to be careful so that their surprise ending still fit the flow and temperament of what came before and in Silhouette the justice served is wonderfully written.

The characters unique to this story, particularly Silhouette and Affinity also showed more depth than I thought capable given the constraints of a short novel. These are two characters I could easily see a Doctor running into in the future.

I realize for some that novels within a television genre are a chance to explore outside the confines of broadcasts rules, this is also why fanfiction has risen to such popularity. However, I've always loved stories that feel like they belong, that feel months later when I reflect back like they could have or should have been an episode I'm having trouble remembering the visual details of, this is what Richards delivers. I loved this intro to 12 and look forward to what Justin Richards brings to the Whoniverse in the future

4.5 out of 5 stars

I received a e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. The views are my own.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Doctor Who - The Blood Cell

Doo Wee Oooh . . . I'm so excited!!

For those who are new to my blog, I'm a complete nerd and love every minute of my nerdiness (with the slight exception of the pain of long hiatus . . . I'm looking at you Sherlock).

For those familiar with the world of sci-fi and fantasy, particularly that of the British persuasion, it is old news that in just under 2 weeks a new doctor shall be revealed to the world or, at least the rest of him will be revealed. Technically, we've already been introduced to his kidneys.

For the uninitiated, Doctor Who is a long standing British show featuring the Doctor, a timelord from the planet Gallifrey who spends an exorbitant amount of time in the London and Cardiff areas for an alien who can go anywhere in any time.

That said, I love the show.
I love the whimsy and fantasy. I love the sarcasm and wit. I love the way it makes me think, makes me care, and get my brain moving.I even love the way it makes me cry though i'm equally fond of the laughter it brings ( I dare you to go watch Vincent and the Doctor and not cry, go on give it a try worst case scenario you still get to see an episode of Who).

So, as any fan who is eagerly awaiting the season premiere of Peter Capaldi's twelfth doctor, I was ecstatic to be offered the chance to review three brand new Doctor Who novels featuring 12 and Clara.

This also means three reviews for you. Aren't you excited now?

The first book up for review is The Blood Cell by James Goss.

The fact that their prison was inescapable was a point of pride for the governor, now if only he could just get prisoner 428 to stay put.

The premise of The Blood Cell was fascinating. Take one impenetrable prison set on an asteroid. Add disappearing prisoners, a prison head that has a mysterious past, and a prison that is slowly turning against itself before adding a dash of the Doctor in all his new snarky, edgy glory with a healthy dose of pop culture references for good measure.

I think this could have been a good episode in the hands of the right director, however, I had trouble following this novel as a book.

Although The Blood Cell was a Doctor Who novel, the Governor was the main character and through whom readers were allowed entrance into the story. This left the plot feeling jumbled at times as past events tumbled out all wibbly wobbly, and scenes jarred from too descriptive to too much conversation. This narrative really called for the visual back up.

The other drawback with this novel is that with a little tweaking, the novel could have easily become any sci-fi, with the exception of a small handful of scenes, nothing felt distinctly Whovian.

Now, on to the good.

I realize some fans are up in arms about Clara as a companion but, I have become rather fond of the Impossible Girl and this novel only increased my delight. Clara's petitions and picketing were the perfect counter to the Doctor's brooding and, perhaps depression. I laughed out loud at her interactions with the Governor and loved the perfectness of their order.

Also, as I mentioned earlier, I do think this could have been an interesting episode, so for readers who have a good background when it comes to all things Whovian and creating mental landscapes they may be able to fill in the gaps a little better than a mama who's little one is overachieving in the teething department.

3 out of 5 stars

I received this book through Netgallery in exchange for my honest opinion