Let me start by saying how much I LOVE Doctor Who! Since way way back in the mists of time, when I watched Jon Pertwee and thought, hmm, this is a cool little show. Then he regenerated and Tom Baker (and that scarf!) swashbuckled his way across my TV screen every week. Now, THAT, was a cool little show!!
In my ‘real’ life I’ve met many famous people over the years: celebrities on their way up & down, politicians, authors, even a Nobel Laureate. It’s no big deal to encounter these people, but Tom Baker literally took my breath away! He is not just THE Doctor, he’s MY Doctor. The strutting, preening, full of himself, phenomenon that carried Doctor Who from a ‘cool little show’ to the juggernaut force it is today.
There is the TV show, longest running sci-fi series in the history of the world and the books, movies, podcasts, websites, blogs, tshirts and more memorabilia than you can imagine. What the heck was going on at BBC that someone came up with this idea for a TV show? Who would have thought 50 years later, we are still watching and discussing Doctor Who.
Having said all that in three paragraphs that have nothing to do with books-in my defense I love Doctor Who in any form and can go on for hours. Now, let me get focused on BOOKS:
I was given the opportunity to read two new Doctor Who books in exchange for a review. Was there the slightest chance I would say no? Ha Ha, I laugh at the very idea!
The first one is Silhouette by Justin Richards. Silhouette is a book with the newest incarnation of the Doctor as played onscreen by Peter Capaldi. The tagline for the book is “Anyone can be a weapon”. Super creepy as our newest Doctor and his companion Clara head for Victorian London to look for a mysterious power source. They encounter old friends Vastra, Jenny and Strax as well as a weird Carnival of Curiosities and some very strange murders, one that involves a locked room.
The book was good but not great-I would recommend this for readers who are either die-hard fans of Doctor Who or for folks who have NO earthly idea about Doctor Who but they like steampunk mysteries with a sci-fi twist.
Here’s why: the book is tie-in for the new Peter Capaldi Doctor. But the book had to have been written MONTHS ago for publishing scheduling so Justin Richards could have only had the merest outline of the character, his style, attributes, attitude etc.
He does a good job but as we are now 4 episodes into the new series, Capaldi’s Doctor is growing and changing outside the confines of the character in this book, so what I’m reading and what I’m watching don’t really match. Not faulting Richards in any way-them’s the breaks in publishing. I do like his writing style and the way he constructed the story, he’s an old timer in the Doctor Who book arena so if you get the chance check out his other books.
I understand the process and why the characters of Vastra/Jenny/Strax were included in the book; it worked really well when they were center stage and the mystery of who killed, why they killed and HOW was brilliant. I enjoyed the book but kind of wish the Doctor had been a bit more behind-the-scenes since his character was fairly flimsy. There was a nice bit that I won’t give away but fans will get all warm and fuzzy when some old friends from the past show up …shhhh…
Don’t get me started on Clara-she is SO annoying in this book! She’s becoming annoying on the show as well but in this one I just wanted Strax to slap her-he calls her ‘Boy’ which makes me laugh every time!
So, as far as a review goes, this was 3 stars. I liked it but, as stated, I’m HUGE fan so it may not be the right fit for every reader.
The WAR DOCTOR! That tells the whole story of the character and strikes fear into the enemies heart all at the same time! This is NOT a warm and fuzzy Doctor Who book. It’s a fabulous telling of the story of the Doctor we don’t talk about-kind of like Valdemort but with a sonic screwdriver.
I feel like I’m getting into a rut with my reviews and the use of the phrase ‘little gem of a book’, but honestly, if THIS book were an actual gem I would put it at the end of a lovely chunky gold necklace and wear it every day! This book is a perfect example of why so many people adore Doctor Who. He is flawed, violent, haunted and not human; but we cheer for him, cry for him and want him to conquer his demons and be happy.
The demons in Engines of War are the dreaded Daleks. Enemies of the Doctor since forever, in this book we revisit the Great Time War where the Daleks have some nasty tricks up their sleeves. From his crashed TARDIS on Moldox to Gallifrey, this incarnation of the Doctor as played onscreen by John Hurt is everything we want our Doctor to be and more. There is some backstory that features more of our old favorites …shhh… don’t give it away!! Newbies may find parts of the book a bit confusing but just stick with it and you’ll soon be an old fan like the rest of us. George Mann is also another old timer Doctor author and this is probably my very favorite of his books.