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High-octane spaceship and robot fuelled action in a distant galaxy
on 24 December 2008
`Shining Darkness' presents Doctor Who at it's most `sci-fi', right from the start plunging us into a galaxy far removed from our own. The central theme of this book revolves around robots - or `mechanicals' as they are also known in this book - presenting on one hand the obvious typical sci-fi techy stuff involving them, while equally developing a strong moral message which becomes the backbone to this story.
With the Doctor and Donna separated early on, we follow two groups - one of them strongly anti-machines, the other group opposed to them trying to uncover their sinister plan and stop them. It's not long before we are swept off into a frantic planet-hopping scramble as the classic `collecting all the pieces of an artefact' storyline is expanded into an epic scale.
With it's various planets and spaceship chases/battles, this book has the feel of a Hollywood action thriller, a full on space opera that moves along at a fantastic pace. One thing that is so good about the Doctor Who novels is that they are free from the budget constraints of the TV show and this is no better demonstrated than here, especially in the epic finale.
The Doctor and Donna are excellently characterised, free from the overuse of personality cliché's copied from TV series that sometimes afflicts the New Series Adventures books. That said, this book isn't entirely free of cliché's as the `comedy robot duo' archetype crops up halfway through the book. The majority of the book's various protagonists are interesting and well-developed though and all in all, everything in this book comes together fantastically - definitely worth a read if you are a Who fan.