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Steve White "Steve" (Peterborough, UK)

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Doctor Who: Dreamstone Moon
Doctor Who: Dreamstone Moon
by Paul Leonard
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Dreamstone Moon, 19 April 2013
Paul Leonard has improved slightly since the awful Genocide, but not by much.

The story of Dreamstone Moon is kept pretty simple, and easy to follow. You are introduced to Anton who reluctantly uses a dreamstone to enhance his dreams, you catch up with Sam and eventually you follow the Doctor. The main premise of Dreamstone Moon is that a company is mining dreamstone, which is a mineral which enhances dreams. Some eco warriors are fighting the miners so Sam gets cosy with them, whilst the Doctor arrives suspects that dreamstone isn't quite what it is cracked up to be and then promptly gets captured. The story is pretty generic science fiction and is pretty hard to follow at times, but whether this is due to Leonard not explaining things properly or just my lack of interest in following the technobabble I haven't actually figured out. The story isn't anywhere near the painstaking ordeal of Genocide, and for the most part it held my interest, despite me not fully understanding why something was happening. The ending did seem pretty abrupt, nothing was explained very clearly so I was left knowing why things happened, but not so much how.

In Genocide Leonard had the Doctor acting very un-Doctor like by not getting involved, and spending the vast majority of the novel captured. Dreamstone Moon improves on this by actually having his characterization down this time around, but again he spends far too much of the novel absent or captured. I'd have preferred it if the story was totally Doctorless, like Face of the Enemy, but with Sam as the main, but instead you keep wanting the Doctor to show up and wow you but he does so just once, right at the end.

Dreamstone Moon is totally Sam's story. We catch up with her, still on the Kusk ship floating aimlessly in space. She is quickly rescued by the dreamstone miners and makes friends with an eco warrior and soon throws her lot in with them. Sam soon ends up in mortal peril again but without the Doctor is forced to make her own decisions and save her own skin. My main hope of the "Sam is Missing" arc was that Sam would mature and hopefully come through the other side as a far more interesting individual. Leonard certainly goes a long way to make this the case, and you do start to warm to the character far more than in previous novels.

The supporting cast are also pretty good, however they are not really consistent. One character hates all aliens to the point of wanting to kill them, yet changes her tune to trusting the Doctor with no reasoning whatsoever. They are also all mostly non-humanoid which seems to be Leonards gimmick. It isn't a good one, and is just annoying trying to keep up with so many different races.

Dreamstone Moon rights many of the wrongs that ruined Genocide for me but I still found Paul Leonard's writing style grated on me. It's not really a book for the casual fan, as it deals with the impact of Sam running away and features little of the Doctor but it is still a reasonable novel for Eighth Doctor fans.


Doctor Who: Legacy of the Daleks
Doctor Who: Legacy of the Daleks
by John Peel
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Legacy of the Daleks, 4 April 2013
War of the Daleks was like Marmite when it was released. You either loved it or hated it and I loved it. Now John Peel is back with another Dalek story, Legacy of the Daleks, in a book which is again is likely to divide fans.

The Doctor goes back to Earth 30 odd years after the events of The Dalek Invasion of Earth in search of Sam. There he finds the human race under populated in a Britain which is divided into Domains and littered with Dalek artifacts and sites. Two of those Domains are clamouring to be top dog, and one side has been gifted the use of Dalek weaponry from the mysterious Estro and instructed to power an old Dalek artefact. The story is very good, and it doesn't try too hard making Legacy of the Daleks a very lightweight and easy to read novel.

Characterizations are OK, with the Doctor reading more like an 8/3/4 hybrid and the 2 returning characters written for very well. The Daleks are a little underused, which if you want a Dalek novel might be a let down but it didn't really bother me that much.

Whilst not as accomplished as War of the Daleks was, Legacy of the Daleks is still an entertaining story from a very good author. Suitable for fans of the TV series and also the casual fan, it is a lightweight adventure which doesn't take a lot of concentration to read and enjoy.


Doctor Who: Longest Day
Doctor Who: Longest Day
by Michael Collier
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Longest Day, 26 Mar. 2013
Longest Day is a very gloomy novel. Nothing nice happens to anyone, in fact most characters end up dead in horrible ways. This is very offputting if you are reading it for the first time, but on the second read through with that foreknowledge it is actually fairly enjoyable. I'd liken it to films like I Know What You Did Last Summer and with that in mind just enjoy the violence.

Story wise a planet called Hirath is split into zones of temporal energy, which a company is renting out to the highest bidder. The trouble is they can't actually control the temporal zones very well, the planet is falling apart and a race of bloodthirsty aliens have come along to reclaim it. The Doctor and Sam get split up and embroiled in separate storylines. The Doctor has to find the source of the planet's sudden demise and Sam gets involved with revolutionaries and has to fight to stay alive. It's all very Doctor Who, and the first half of the novel is well written and entertaining however towards the end of the book however things really do start falling apart. The story slows to a crawl, plot devices appear from nowhere, awful elements from previous books are included for no apparent reason and the solution to Hirath's troubles is one of immense techno-babble and just seems shoe-horned in to end things promptly. It all is a bit of a let down as the potential is there.

Character wise no one gets off lightly, most non-central characters end up dead in gruesome ways and even the Doctor and Sam get knocked about a fair bit. As such the characterisation is awful but it doesn't really matter. The Doctor and Sam are done well, Sam especially matures a lot and you do end up rooting for her, which is a nice change. The main enemy are called the Kusk and they are totally brilliant. Sure they like to kill people, but they shouldn't have been on there base/planet in the first place. Collier makes them believable as a race, and they are so good it's a shame we haven't seen any more of them.

In short, Longest Day isn't a brilliant novel by any stretch, but neither is it as bad as people make it out to be. Try re-reading it with the knowledge everyone dies and it actually is quite enjoyable.


"Doctor Who": Eye of Heaven
"Doctor Who": Eye of Heaven
by Jim Mortimore
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Eye of Heaven, 5 Mar. 2013
Eye of Heaven is the first 4th Doctor novel in the Past Doctor range and as such I felt it should live up to the glory days of the TV series. Sadly it falls short.

Mortimore has a fairly decent premise going on, but his writing style really lets him down, making what could be an entertaining romp an absolute chore to make sense of. Eye of Heaven is written in a series of diary style entries which are not in chronological order. So one minute everyone is on a boat sailing to Easter Island, the next they are yet to charter the boat, then they are back on the boat again in the next one. It is almost as if Mortimore dropped the chapters then picked them up in the wrong order. It is confusing, adds nothing to the story, and would have been better written as a linear tale. There is nothing worse than a chapter ending with someone in peril, only to wait another 3-4 chapters to find out the conclusion.

The Doctor in question is the fan favourite 4th. Jim Mortimore thankfully gets his characterization right, but he doesn't see much action at all, which is a slight let down. The bits he is in are well done, there just isn't a lot of him. Leela on the other hand is a totally different story. The majority of the book is written from her perspective which from the outset seems like a good idea but she was never my favorite character, and her constant savageness grated on me. Mortimore also seemed keen to show her lack of knowledge, yet also has her knowing things she couldn't possibly comprehend. For example when she meets Stockwood, Leela struggle to understand basic things such as a "glass" and a "newspaper". However 9 days later she is able to list a pretty wide array of nautical terms, including some I didn't even know. It's easier to have her know it of course, but to me it's very lazy writing and a bit of a let down given how much Mortimore seems to like mentioning her lack of Earthly knowledge.

In short Eye of Heaven is a mediocre Doctor Who novel which struggles to pique this fans interest. Whilst the story is entertaining and has the potential to be a truly great novel, it is badly structured and often lazily written which detracts from the enjoyment the story does offer. Had the novel been written in a linear fashion then I might be able to forgive the bad characterization and gaping plotholes but I really struggled to read this novel, which is never good.


Doctor Who: The Face of the Enemy
Doctor Who: The Face of the Enemy
by David McIntee
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars The Face of the Enemy, 12 Feb. 2013
The Face of the Enemy is a Past Doctor Adventure which doesn't actually feature a past Doctor. Well the 3rd is there briefly, but he isn't integral to the plot. The story takes place whilst the Doctor and Jo are busy during the TV serial the Curse of Peladon and features Ian and Barbara, UNIT, The Master and a brief cameo from Harry Sullivan. A risky, but tantalising move for a Doctor Who novel.

The Face of the Enemy's story is fairly simple. A plane is lost and then returned with radiation and damage caused by nothing in the Earth's atmosphere, whilst a gang owned bank is robbed by professional criminals. It soon becomes clear that there is more than meets the eye and the story becomes a sequel to the TV serial Inferno, exploring what happened to the people who survived on the parallel Earth and there current quest to take over our Earth.

As mentioned previously The Face of the Enemy features no Doctor. Therefore the novel relies on other characters to carry the book. All are well done but a special mention goes to the Master, who essentially plays the role of the Doctor. David McIntee has Roger Delgado's Master down perfectly, his mannerisms and his viewpoint of others are superb. It was a very refreshing change to get the story from his perspective, and they way he interacts with the other characters, especially the Brigadier is a joy to read.

The Face of the Enemy is probably the best PDA so far with only Illegal Alien coming close to matching it. The story is entertaining, the characters are superb and it is a thoroughly enjoyable read throughout. It is fairly continuity heavy, but it all makes sense and stays true to the shows roots. Highly recommended to all Doctor Who fans.


Roulette
Roulette
Price: £19.55

1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One Love for Blue, 8 Feb. 2013
This review is from: Roulette (Audio CD)
I really liked Blue back in the early noughties. They had something a little different from the rest of the boy band pack and backed it up by some catchy songs and clever lyrics. I was a little blue when Blue split. Then along came Eurovision 2011 and the release of the brilliant "I Can" and the promise of a new album. 2 years later we finally get to hear that album, so was it worth the wait?

The truth is not really. Firstly, music aside Blue have had little to no publicity in the UK and the album has only been officially released in Germany. This isn't an issue in this digital age but buying an import adds £££ to an album people are already unlikely to buy with no advertising. Secondly, the lead single and first track "Hurt Lovers" is a mediocre ballad which fails to ignite the catchiness which I've become used to with Blue.

The album doesn't really get going at all, don't get me wrong there are some good tunes on here, but "Break My Heart", "We've Got Tonight" and "I Can" are the only 3 I can still remember which after 5 listens doesn't bode well.

Roulette isn't a bad album by any stretch, but neither is it up there with All Rise or One Love which is shame.


Doctor Who: Option Lock
Doctor Who: Option Lock
by Justin Richards
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Option Lock, 29 Jan. 2013
Option Lock is an Eighth Doctor novel based on present day Earth and revolving around a complex plot to cause nuclear destruction. Sadly the word complex means just that. Within the first few pages the amount of different plot threads raised was staggering and served only to confuse this reader. That isn't to say parts of it were not interesting, there was just so much going I struggled to keep track. You have people collapsing, a plot to kill an obviously powerful American, dodgy ruins, and enough characters to fill a rather large hall.

After a confusing start, the novel then does get better. The Doctor and Sam are made welcome at the manor house under the flimsiest of cover and spend the next few chapters investigating the ruins, some spooky painting and something called the Philosophers Stone. It soon becomes clear that all is not as it seems and one by one the plot threads do sink into place and the final half of the book is exciting and interesting. The fact it took so long to reach this excitement rather ruined the book for me.

This is a fairly standard Doctor Who adventure which will please the majority of people but be forgotten within a month.


Doctor Who: Kursaal
Doctor Who: Kursaal
by Peter Anghelides
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kursaal, 17 Jan. 2013
This review is from: Doctor Who: Kursaal (Paperback)
I don't envy Peter Anghelides much, Kursaal, his debut Doctor Who novel had the misfortune of following Lawrence Miles' Alien Bodies which is quite possibly one of the greatest and critically acclaimed novels to date. Therefore it was always going to struggle given the fans now high expectation of the range. That said Anghelides manages to give us a fairly decent offering, which is still enjoyable, just nowhere near Alien Bodies league.

Kursaal is a leisure world, or will be once it's built. The trouble is developments are being hindered by eco-terrorists (HALF) and the re-emergence of a long dead wolf like race, the Jax. The Doctor and Sam arrive for a break, 5 years too early and end up separated and embroiled in the struggle between the opposing parties.

The beginning of Kursaal is great, really really great. Sadly it drops off around halfway through and you feel that Anghelides is just going through the motions. There are no surprises, you know what happens before it happens and it makes the book seem clichéd, even though Doctor Who hadn't dealt with werewolves previously. The ending isn't as satisfying as it should be and I finished the book feeling slightly let down.

The characters are what really lets Kursaal down though. The story is interesting enough, but the characters just don't cut it. Sam is relied on for the last third of the novel and she just isn't a strong enough character to carry the novel.

Kursaal had big boots to follow, and it fails to deliver when compared directly to it's predecessor. If you look at it from a stand alone point of view then it is a perfectly enjoyable, but utterly forgettable Doctor Who novel.


Doctor Who: The Roundheads
Doctor Who: The Roundheads
by Mark Gatiss
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Roundheads, 6 Jan. 2013
Classic Doctor Who (First and Second Doctor's mainly) didn't just used to be about alien planets and invasions of Earth. The Doctor and his companions would find themselves back in Earth's history, exploring key events. The Roundheads is one of those historical novels, starring the 2nd Doctor, Ben, Polly and Jamie and set in the back drop of the English Civil War. I'll be honest and say that most historical Doctor Who episdoes bore me, I just don't find them interesting, and given they are few and far between once Jon Pertwee took on the role, I can't see that I am the only one. Sadly The Roundheads did very little to change my view. The first 100 odd pages were a struggle to say the least, but once Mark Gatiss got the plot in place it wasn't a bad story.

My issues didn't end there though, a lot of the characters actions just didn't make sense. The Doctor and Jamie are imprisoned as spies, yet they get let out on a whim. Richard Cromwell finds a book which tells the future, yet does nothing with it. Sal Winter trusts Ben totally after one boozy night in Amsterdam. I could go on. The Roundheads also suffers from some lazy writing techniques and plot devices. Why does the Doctor need a book about the English Civil Wars? He hasn't before and he hasn't since. You may be able to overlook it if the book had a purpose but that story line just fizzled out. Nearly all the characters are stereotypical, there are two which aren't but the rest you never feel anything for.

The Roundheads isn't a bad book by any means, once you get through the beginning the rest is actually a fairly interesting story. it also does stick pretty closely to the historical stories of it's era so if you like that sort of thing then it would be your kind of book. Sadly I didn't find much to get excited about.


Doctor Who: Illegal Alien
Doctor Who: Illegal Alien
by Mike Tucker
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Illegal Alien, 21 Dec. 2012
Illegal Alien is the first 7th Doctor PDA of the BBC Books range, the first book in Mike Tucker and Robert Perry's self styled "Series 27" and was infact based off an actual script in consideration for the run.

The premise of Illegal Alien is, well I don't actually know. The Doctor and Ace stumble upon Cybermen in the war torn streets of London 1940. The reasonings are still not clear, but it makes for a fairly entertaining read nonetheless. The book keeps your interest all the way through and the pages seem to fly by.

Character wise Mike Tucker and Robert Perry have got the 7th Doctor and Ace down to a tee. The supporting cast seem to be cliched, or two dimensional but it doesn't detract from the enjoyment. The only bad thing is the treatement of the Cybermen, for the most part they are pawns to other people and not at all terryfying. The Cybermats are scary, but there use seems to diwndle as the book goes on.

In short, Illegal Alien is a perfectly fine Doctor Who novel and one I heartily recommend to old and new fans alike.


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