This is, perhaps, the most out-and-out children's story of this short novella series so far. This is no surprise considering the status of the author and this series is, after all, aimed at the younger market (even though I'm sure that just as many adult Doctor Who fans will be enjoying them).
Due to its strong orientation towards younger readers the plot is relatively simple (even if the Seventh Doctor throws about some complicated sounding terms). It is based around the premise of `what if the Daleks were pleasant philanthropists?' Unfortunately a similar idea has only recently been used in the novel `The Dalek Generation'. This time it seems as if the Daleks are legitimately peaceful though . This, too, is not an original idea as it has already been visited in the Eight Doctor comic strip `Children of the Revolution'. The Doctor's efforts to come to terms with accepting `good' Daleks has also been featured before, on and off screen. Malorie Blackman handles this well though by concentrating on Ace's perception of the Doctor's attitude.
The Seventh Doctor is quite well characterised, the author capturing his mumbled musings that are half to himself and half to those around him. The slight rift between him and Ace is effective in its subtlety. The author gives us the more immature version of Ace, making it likely that this is early in her travels with the Doctor but at least after `Remembrance of the Daleks'. It feels very like the Ace from her first two or three televised stories. There is, perhaps, a lack of other characters, only Tulana being significant.
Perfectly pitched at children, this novella is ideal for its intended market. However, this means that it feels that it lacks a little depth for the older readers.