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.
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 16 July 2011
Since the BBC's Doctor Who books relaunched with the new series in 2005, the quality has been fairly patchy. I think a lot of this has been largely because of the writers having to create a book aimed at children which is primarily bought by adults. In addition to that, the appearances of the 'TV' villains, such as Daleks or Judoon haven't really been pulled off either.
On that basis, Touched By An Angel shouldn't work... but the good news is that, for me, it is the best of the 'new' Doctor Who books since that 2005 relaunch.
To start, the core characters of The Doctor, Amy and Rory are spot-on. The Doctor has echoes of the Third Doctor as he uses hypnotism as well as utilising the Seventh Doctor-style meddling and planning. There are still plenty of Matt Smith mannerisms that leap from the pages as well though. Amy is perhaps a little underused but there is lots of Rory, who is very funny throughout.
Even above them though, the characters of Mark and Rebecca and the nature of their relationship, which is complicated at first, is believable and very well mapped out. It is this that takes it above the children's book that some of the tie-ins clearly are.
The whole premise is interesting, with a clever weaving plot that builds nicely until the finale.
I was wary of the Weeping Angels being included in the book before reading it as I think they should only be used sparingly. Here, though, they do work and I would recommend Jonathan Morris' book to any fans of the show.