on 25 June 2011
I'm not sure it is fair of Aaron Murphy to leave a negative review of this book based on their opinion of the TV show. What did they think of the book itself? Was it well written and paced? Did the characters work, and did they relate well to their TV versions? Was the plot ingenious? How did it compare to other DW book authors and storylines? If you have an issue with the TV show why not go post a comment about it on one of the many DVD/BD product pages? Can you say why you think the books are boring? All opinions are equally valid and I value reading both good and bad to help me judge a product before purchasing it...Aaron's would be insightful I am sure if it were more specific to this book.
For my two pennies worth...I enjoyed this adventure. I am not a fan of the Weeping Angels, I find them a half-thought-through monster with far too many inconsistencies for my liking. But in this book, oddities of Dr Who lore to one side, Johnny Morris manages to do something unusual and different with them, weaving a funny, thought-provoking, romantic, tragic plot and placing the monsters in a new role. Unlike many recent DW books, this is not another chase story, but something more contemplative, more human. Johnny has crafted an altogether more adult adventure here, one that makes you think about your own relationships and loved ones.
As with the latest series, it is nice to see Rory growing as a character, with both the slapstick and heroic elements of his personality being given decent airtime. In fact, Rory fans get more Rory than ever before in this adventure, with The Doctor relying on him in the way he has only relied on Amy in the past. Rory has truly ascended to full companion status.
Fans of Croydon will be pleased to see the much set-upon town getting a starring role. And South London's Camberwell undergoes a stunning transformation!
While there still some minor inconsistencies that the dedicated Who fan will pick up on regarding the Angels (why do the Time Editors from Father's Day not turn up to stop all this time-travel malarky, eh?), this is no fault of the author, more a result of the Angles erratic development, from one-shot baddie to multi-series big-bad. Put such quibbles to one side, and just enjoy what is a beautifully written, poignant and oft-times funny New Who adventure.
Out of all the new wave of spooks and alien monsters to become part of the Doctor Who mythos since its revival back in 2005, the Weeping Angels (created by current head-honcho Steve Moffat) are easily the best. Immortal stone statues that can only move when unseen, possessing frightening abilities, utterly cold and malevolent, virtually unstoppable and the only thing you can do...is NOT BLINK.
Much easier said than done.
The concept is unparallel creative genius, and in no time at all, the Angels have achieved the same notoriety and iconic status as more established Who baddies i.e. the Daleks or the Cybermen. And it's no surprise, really. 2007's BAFTA-winning masterpiece "Blink" (which debuted the Weeping Angels) and 2010's two-part sequel "The Time of Angels"/"Flesh & Stone" (a classic horror-ride) were Moffat's finest works. Moffat was able to produce some of the greatest episodes in the entire history of Doctor Who because of his highly original and unique concept, and simultaneously establish his creations as legitimately frightening foes.
But can such a VISUALLY brilliant premise work as well in a novel? Well, Jonathan Morris successfully proves that it can with Touched By An Angel, one of the latest in the Doctor Who series of hardbacks, featuring the Eleventh Doctor and his companions, Amy Pond and Rory Williams. Right away, I will say that this is another essential read for fans. It has everything you'd expect from a classic Who tale; psychological horrors, ethics being questioned, the consequences of time travel, characters you can emotionally invest in, and an overall impact that stays with you forever.
In 2003, Rebecca Whitaker died in a tragic road accident, leaving a widower in Mark. What makes the loss all the more painful...is that they were truly right for one another. Soul-mates. In 2011, the still-grieving Mark has withdrawn from all his old friends and family and is simply lost without Rebecca. Then he finds himself targeted by the Weeping Angels and the Doctor, Amy and Rory are too late to save Mark from being whisked back to the past.
Where he receives a message from his future-self...that he now has the power to save Rebecca.
As with previous TV outings of the Weeping Angels, Touched By An Angel is a story that's true to the nature of the evil statues and the stories they appeared in. This is a very tense, psychological & taut novel that will rattle you to the core. The sheer menace of the Angels and their essence has been captured perfectly by the author. Morris remains completely faithful to what they're all about, and is able to help the reader visualise them in a way as if you were watching them on the telly.
Similar to "Blink" and "Time of the Angels"/"Flesh & Stone", the Angels' motives remain hard to decipher. Just why did they target Mark Whitaker? Why do they keep showing up? And just how is the timeline of an innocent, ordinary man vital to their plans? The writer keeps you guessing, but he knows perfectly well where he's leading his story. The Angels' machinations are handled superbly, and when the truth about their agenda DOES come to light, the revelation is satisfying, logical and disturbing. Jonathan's plot is a thing of beauty, and does Steven Moffat proud, what with his well-paced, subtle unravelling of plot-layers, and his handling of characters.
Although the Doctor, Amy and Rory receive plenty of attention and are given meaningful enough roles to make them vital to the story, the REAL protagonists of Touched By An Angel are (without any doubt) Mark and Rebecca. Similar to Sally Sparrow from "Blink", Mark Whitaker has the biggest role, superseding that of the Doctor's. He's a tragic character, as is Rebecca. Throughout their lives, they've shared a great friendship and plenty of their own relationships/hardships, all of which makes you realise that Mark and Rebecca are simply MADE for each other.
Morris does a beautiful job of developing both characters, providing a strong look back on their lives, growing up and facing the struggles of normal life. You grow to love both Mark and Rebecca, and you really want the husband to save his wife. The finale is such a genuine tear-jerker. When Mark just wants him and Rebecca to live happily ever after, you really feel for him, and indeed for Rebecca (who is an equally strong character to love). The machinations of the Weeping Angels, the warnings of the Doctor and the questions and similar feelings from Amy and Rory, help make the love story between Mark and Rebecca even more tragic. It's such an emotional read, but one that isn't overdone.
Another positive to note is the trip to the past (from 1994 onwards in this case). Because the time period is still so fresh and vibrant in my mind, reading Touched By An Angel was made all the more believable and realistic for me. Because of Jonathan's wonderful references to things that are sadly no longer here (e.g. Woolworths, Our Price etc), classic TV programmes (`Allo' `Allo...', Cold Feet) and what life was like without no Chip & Pin, two-pound coins, HD, DVDs, plasma screens, mobile phones & laptops; it all grounds the time-travelling of Doctor Who in a way that's refreshing, yet also beneficial to the story.
The writing-style is excellent, the pacing is tremendous and the whole thing manages to avoid getting lost within itself. All this, plus subtle references to the Weeping Angels' history and a satisfying, believable ending make this book one to fit on your shelf. Doctor Who: Touched By An Angel is a novel no fan can afford to overlook. Trevor Baxendale's Prisoner of the Daleks is STILL the definitive Who novel, but this is truly a worthy runner-up. Pick up a copy, but never forget...
DO - NOT - BLINK!!!
on 23 July 2011
If you've not read Doctor Who tie in novels before then start here, Jonathan Morris' "Touched by an Angel", tells a complex story of time travel and the temptation to dabble in your own time stream that would leave Marty McFly stranded. Where these stories could end up disappearing in their own paradox this is well plotted and jogs along at a tremendous pace and is easy to follow and becomes very addictive. I'm not going to give the plot away but there was some tremendous emotional and sensitive writing that will leave you feeling moved by the end. These are characters you feel for, and when reading dialogue from the three regular characters, The Doctor, Amy or Rory you do hear the original voices in your head as you read.
After the Weeping Angels had reappeared on the programme for their second appearance I had honestly thought there was not much more that could be done with them, without spoiling their original creepiness and reinventing them beyond recognition. This books shows that these are durable adversaries for the Doctor with plenty of life in them yet.
on 25 June 2011
First off the the person who wrote the one star review, fine if you don't like the show thats up to you. However you should not mark down a talented authors work so you can have a rant.
Now on to the book this is without a doubt the best Doctor Who novel i have read. The main characters are all spot on and the story itself is an emotional roller coaster. By the last few chapters this 45 year old man was finding it difficult to keep a dry eye!
I cant recommend this book enough, great story, characters and Weeping Angels what more could you ask for
Touched by An Angel is another brilliant addition to the Doctor Who book range. The main protagonist is Mark Whitaker, a man who's still haunted by the death of his wife in a tragic car accident in 2003. (We Doctor Who fans love our nostalgia, so I couldn't help but think that Jonathan Morris chose to name his hero after David Whitaker, the TV series' original script editor, who wrote the first novelisation, Doctor Who and the Daleks, which also opened with a car crash). The main reason why I decided to skip ahead and read Touched by An Angel before some earlier books in the range is due to the fact that it featured the Weeping Angels on the cover, and I was fascinated as to how Jonathan Morris would convey these iconic beasts in his novel. The recently released trailer to the second part of series 6 also added to my excitement about this book, as it reveals that the Weeping Angels will feature in the TV series again. It's also worth noting that Amy is wearing the same red check shirt that she wore in her ganger guise, which (if intended) is a handy way of dating the events in this novel.
Continuity does indeed play a huge part in the plot of this novel, as Mark is sent back in time by an angel at the start of the book. However, instead of being sent hundreds of years into the past (as the Angels were wont to do in Blink), they only send Mark back 17 years into his past. This concerns the Doctor greatly, as it means that Mark could very much interfere with his own future. Not only that, but his intimate knowledge of the recent past means that he's a much greater threat to the development of humanity than someone ignorant of the intricacies of history being sent back 100 years. However, to complicate matters, Mark's future self has sent him instructions which he must follow to the letter, or else this will create the kind of temporal paradox that the Angels love to feed on. Thus, one of the glories of Touched by an Angel is that it lets us see Steven Moffat's greatest monsters in yet another new light, revealing them to be much more adaptable and cunning than they first appeared to be in Blink (although some of their methods also derive from The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone from series 5). The Blinovitch Limitation Effect (a plot device first mentioned in the classic series) also gets a tasty look-in.
So, Jonathan Morris very much utilises all the intricacies of time travel here, which splendidly enhances the the thriller elements of Touched by an Angel. Jonathan Morris also chooses the locations of his drama's set pieces very well, as the Angels don't look all that much out of place in a churchyard and a museum. And when they do invade a student disco, it's very much to comic as well as thrilling effect. Jonathan Morris' depiction of our regular cast of heroes is excellently executed, as it should be by the writer of the official Doctor Who magazine comic strip. Although I did think the scene where the Doctor punched Mark was a bit out of character; however, I guess this could be evidence of series 6's "Dark Doctor" here, and he did also (uncharacteristically) punch Bracewell in Victory of the Daleks. (I guess Rule No. 11 could be that "The Doctor sometimes punches people, and even occasionally resorted to Venusian aikido in his younger years".) Something I enjoyed a lot more than this unusual bout of fisticuffs on the Doctor's part, was Jonathan Morris' depiction of early 90s student life, especially since it's quite similar to that I enjoyed myself (Jonathan Morris and I are roughly the same age).
However, the real joy of Touched by an Angel is the inevitable emotional angst that travelling back in time causes Mark, especially with regards to one momentous decision... Perhaps Mark's final encounter with his wife is a bit too sugary and implausible, but it's very excusable as it allows for an excellent joke regarding the Doctor's own bungling (or possibly intended) intervention in Mark's life. Jonathan Morris brilliantly brings the rather flawed Mark Whitaker to life with such aplomb, skill, and resonance that I, for one, would be very happy if he were ever chosen to write for the TV series.
This is another of the previously published Doctor Who novels, first published in 2011 and now republished in the Monster Collection in 2014. This one is unusual in the Monster Collection of stories in that it features a ‘monster’ which does not carry over from the ‘classic’ series like the Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans etc. Instead, this story features the Weeping Angels who are a ‘monster’ created for the new series and first featured in the 2007 story “Blink”.
This story is also quite unusual in that it is very much a tale of human interest. The Doctor, with Amy and Rory are important features of the story, but the story is really that of Mark Whitaker, a lawyer whose wife is killed in a car accident in 2003. When the Doctor arrives in 2011, Mark is starting to think he’s going mad; he can’t really be seeing stone angels everywhere, can he?
I really enjoyed this story; there’s a good depth of characterisation in it, and a real sense of living the story through Mark’s life. There’s a lot of time wibbliness in the story, and that’s necessary for the whole truth of the narration, but you need to keep track of where/when you’re reading about. Matt Smith’s Doctor is well portrayed here, and Amy and Rory have small but vital roles to play as well. A really good Doctor Who novel, and a good addition to the Monster Collection series.
on 6 April 2012
To all the glowing reviews posted here, I can add my own highly positive thoughts. Jonathan Morris has a decent pedigree when it comes to Doctor Who novels, and this offering that ties-in with the latest TV series is no exception. Inspired by Stephen Moffat's 'Blink', Morris has crafted an intricate and absorbing depiction of one man's desperate attempt to change history in order to prevent his wife's premature death and regain the happiness they previously shared.
The often surplus to requirements Rory has never been so well used, and conversely Amy Pond has very little to do here. The Angels themselves are more sinister when transporting people to the past than when simply killing them, and Morris uses them suitably sparingly but to chilling effect.
Ultimately this is tightly-plotted, highly entertaining read, that is both loyal to its parent show but also original and well-pitched to a wide readership. The overall theme is a little more adult-oriented than the majority of these BBC hardback books, but my seven year old daughter still enjoyed it on the level that she likes.
on 19 September 2011
I wish i could be touched by an angel so i could go back and be the first one to buy this. a trueley fantastic story and plenty of sadness and action not to mention scary sorry about the spelling im only 11 but this was a extravagent story i recomed it its five star
on 11 August 2014
"Whatever you do . . . DON'T BLINK!" - Doctor Who, Blink
One of the scariest things I have ever watched on telly? Blink. In this Doctor Who tenth episode from the third season, the Doctor and Martha meet Sally Sparrow. Well, they don’t really meet Sally – you see, there are DVD Easter Eggs, on sixteen DVD’s, where a mysterious man has a conversation, apparently with someone sitting on “our” side of the screen . . . and it all goes extremely terrifying from there . . . for the Weeping Angels are on the move. And they are very, very hungry.
In Touched By An Angel the Weeping Angels are back, and this time it is Amy and Rory who are The Doctors companions, as they desperately try to stop time, space and everything from imploding.
Our intrepid trio are back in England, and this time things are dire indeed. For Mark Whitaker, though a rather unassuming, sad and lonely widower has just received a letter – and that letter could destroy the universe. For if Mark follows the letter’s instructions, he will go back in time. He means to save his wife, no matter the cost. But the cost is more than he could ever dream.
This is a fantastic addition to your Doctor Library. Tense and exciting, but also heart breaking in the extreme, the story moves back and forth in time as the Doctor, Rory and Amy watch over Mark as he is sent back to 1994, his college days, and begins to live his life alongside his younger self. Ticking off the list of things the letter tells him he must do, he works closer and closer to the day of his beloved wife’s death.
Highly recommended for Doctor Who fans.
NOTE: I received this book from the publisher in return for a realistic review. All opinions are my own.
on 3 July 2014
Touched by an Angel is a Doctor Who story with the 11th Doctor and the Ponds. I have to admit that, even though I haven’t read that many Doctor Who books (SHAME ON YOU NER!), this one is my by far (as of yet!) one of my favourites.
The story is very touchy: Mark’s wife died eight years ago on a car accident and since then his life has been pretty much a misery. One day he receives a letter from his past self that will change his entire life, past/present and future, forever. That’s when the Weeping Angels begin their hunt and the Doctor, Amy and Rory have to help me from creating a paradox that will, very probably, destroy the entire universe. Because that letter contains something we can’t ignore: it says he can save his wife’s life.
The plot of this book was so good even though it features one of the things I’m most scared of: the Weeping Angels. Seriously, these statues that can kill you or send you back in time are the most terrifying thing in the whole world.
But what I enjoyed the most about this book was the fact it wasn’t only centred around the Doctor trying to save the world but, instead, it focused more on Mark’s own life.
This is one of those stories that, were it a true visually episode of Doctor Who, it would have been one of the best ones. Because it had a little bit of everything: mystery, time paradoxes, romance, comedy, everything we all love about Doctor Who. And it would be one of those that you would be hooked since the first second – I sure was hooked since page one.
I was a little bit worried about where the story would be heading but it was very solid. The Weeping Angels background story was very well developed and the whole jump in time and the “don’t-do-anything-that-can-alter-the-course-of-history” was so brilliantly explored I didn’t had any trouble following it.
The Doctor, Amy and Rory were so true to their characters in the series I felt like I was watching them before me. But Mark’s character was the one that had the most impact in the book. He was the true main character in Touched by an Angel and his constant battle between saving the love of his life or save the universe was so emotive I had tears in my eyes.
And since I don’t want spoil much and I can’t write a decent review without spoiling too much, I can only say that this is a must read book to all Doctor Who fans who wish a great and brilliant adventure where he, or Amy and/or Rory are not the main characters.