Halflife deals, albeit temporarily - with the amnesia that has been plaguing the 8th Doctor since The Ancestor Cell. In this respect the novel is satisfying enough, but as a novel in it's own right the story of an organic sentient weapons factory on the run is only semi-successful. The first half of the novel is languid, with the Doctor and Fitz exploring Espero and going through a bit of mind-swapping - the latter half is overly busy, with numerous aliens and concepts struggling to be fully realised in a short amount of space.
Reasonably enjoyable, but Halflife is ultimately stronger on it's characterisation (the Doctor's amnesia, Fitz's hilarious erotic dream, Trix finally failing to go in disguise and starting to reveal her own character) than it's plot.
Good, but a little disappointing as a follow up to the authors debut Relative Dementias.
on 2 May 2009
Mark Michalowski has produced another enjoyable and accessible novel; although I couldn't help thinking that it had the potential to be a lot better. The main problem lies not with the author but in that the book seems poorly edited with the balance of the story definitely leaning towards the second half of the book.
The plot is pretty straightforward and the stock characters a little one dimensional; The continuation of The Doctor being an amnesiac is getting a bit tired now, it just retreads with every new book and could do with being resolved one way or another.
Despite these minor gripes, this is still a decent story told simply and well. It's not the greatest book we've seen in this line, but it's head and shoulders above the majority of the previous story arc. It wasn't `unputdownable' but kept me reading to the end.
Finally freed from the story arc, we can now get back to more regular doctor who stories. This is one such, bringing us a rather conventional plot of strange worlds and alien devices. There's a lot of strong incidental detail, mostly in a nicely realised alien world and some good supporting characters, but the book meanders for the first half and then has to rush to wrap everything up before the end.
It also deals with the doctor's lost memories. The resolution of this was not was I hoping for, but I didn't throw the book across the room, so it can't have been too bad