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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 24 December 2008
Barcode: 9781846075575

`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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 29 December 2008
Mark Michalowski's second original Doctor Who novel for BBC books is also the second to feature the most recent TV pairing of The Tenth Doctor and loudmouthed temp from Chiswick, Donna Noble.

Michalowski injects new life into well-worn sci-fi themes such as: Man versus machine, the sentience of robots, and the deification of unwitting humans who arrive unexpectedly on alien worlds.

The story suffers initially from the cramming-in of too many characters, and consequently the first few chapters are somewhat muddled. Fortunately, as the book progresses the tale becomes sparer and more focused, resulting in a darkly humorous adventure which sees the time-traveller and his companion quickly separated, and individually become involved with two factions who both seek to uncover the secrets behind the eponymous `Cult of Shining Darkness'.

There are moments of Douglas Adams-esque whimsy throughout the book, most notably in the facetious depiction of the fickle `Jaftee' who treat gods like fashions, and Donna's hilarious self-styling as `The Ginger Goddess'; a cunning ruse to escape The Jaftee - and one which promptly backfires.

I have found the pairing of The Doctor and Donna to be the one that works best on TV and in the novels it is just the same. The trick of separating the pair early on works well, just as in the previous novel in the range: `The Doctor Trap'. The book also works well on many levels and could be enjoyed by both young and old; diehard fan and casual reader. This is the key to the success of the parent series Doctor Who as well as its spin-off `The Sarah-Jane Adventures'; as long as the writers continue to bear this in mind and write accordingly, the possibilities are endless...

The audiobook, read by Debbie Chazen (Foon Van Hoff in 2007 Christmas special 'Voyage of the Damned'), retains much of the novel's charm - despite being abridged - but still works better as a book than a CD.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
In an effort to avoid running into trouble, which seems to follow them around, the Doctor has taken Donna two and a half million light years to an art gallery. Well, not just an art gallery. In a galaxy that Donna cannot begin to come to terms with, and while innocently looking at an exhibit in the gallery, she is transmatted away. And the Doctor must not only find her, but the exhibit that has been stolen along with her. All while trying to avoid getting into trouble with the ethics of organic versus machinekind politics and culture. So, business as usual then.

This is a great Tenth Doctor novel. The Doctor, as he would have been played by David Tennant, is perfectly written in this novel. I’ve found a lot of the Tenth Doctor novels have captured Tennant’s characterisation very well; he seems to be very well novelised, which is a great thing. Donna, as played by Catherine Tate, is also very well written in this novel. Her strongly individual twenty-first century Earth attitude is a great foil for the Doctor, and together they are more than a match for any trouble they find in this galaxy or any other. There is quite a lot of the story where they are separated, and both Donna and the Doctor are very well able to carry the narrative by their own actions. But the bond between them is ever present, and the narrative unfolds very successfully to a joint effort to put the world to rights. Definitely recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 17 March 2010
This is probably the best of the Dr Who novels to feature Donna. Her character is captured brilliantly and you can hear Catherine T saying the lines. Highlight has to be the Pythonesque/Hitchikery section in the middle of the book where Donna is mistaken for The Ginger Goddess. Laugh out loud funny. And the overall story`s good one too, concerning the usual notions of artificial intelligence/conscience but in a fresh & entertaining way. Buy it!
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on 7 September 2011
This book seemed to step outside the ongoing series by its monsters, tone and depth. There are no monsters ravaging a small area, but a clash in a distant galaxy between two groups - one who support mechanical (robot) life and one that doesn't. The humans are few and well defined, and the robots are numerous and full of character, whether dull and threatening, small and enthusiastic as a puppy or large and maternal. The range and interaction of them compares favourably to Douglas Adams (Hitchiker's Guide), in being funny, inventive and thought provoking at the same time. The Doctor and Donna are long separated and gradually learning about each side and the characters in each group before the explosive finale. It sticks in the memory and is well worth a read.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
an original novel based on the tv show doctor who, telling an all new story in prose form. featuring the tenth doctor as played by david tennant on tv, with his companion donna noble, who was played by catherine tate.

as usual with this range of books, the novel runs for roughly 248 pages of relatively large print, and can be read by readers of all ages, and the two lead characters are perfectly captured, with dialogue that you can well imagine the tv version saying.

does this one stand out from the range?

set in a distant galaxy it's determinedly alien in setting and succeeds in creating such a world, but it's more than accessible and never too alien. the doctor and donna are caught up in a struggle between an anti robot group and those out to stop them, and both are after control of a powerful artefact. a chase around the galaxy to reassemble it follows, and the book moves at a nicely fast pace as a result.

some comedic scenes and moments are well played and never silly, and there is a strong moral message at the heart of the story that will give you pause for thought.

the pace does let up slightly mid way through, but it manages to recover in time for a decent finale.

as with all of this range, they are not great literature, but this is an above average entry in the series and a decent enough read if you want a new doctor who story
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on 27 October 2013
A very Good Doctor who novel. It wasn't like most mainstream doctor who stories. it was an adventure comparable to treasure planet. A different approach that could of made a horrible doctor who story, but worked really well.
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on 12 August 2015
Great story with the Doctor and Donna. Storyline is funny, fast paced and interesting characters. Would have made a good tv episode.
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on 23 November 2015
Great story
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 20 April 2013
It's an old library book, with muddy pages, and a ripped one. How is that "very good"?

Even given the cheap price I'm still not to happy with it.
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