7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Another Doctor Who talking book, which sees Matt Smith read an all new story featuring the Eleventh Doctor and Amy. And do all the voices.
This one runs for sixty eight minutes approx, and is complete on a single cd.
Minimal sleeve notes give all the credits and advertise other bbc Doctor Who related products.
There are no breaks in the middle of the story save for the usual cd chapter ones. It's basically one long episode. And it's a stand alone story.
It sees the TARDIS pick up a distress call which leads the Doctor and Amy to a shrine in medieval Japan. A place that has legendary healing properties. Is incredibly sacred. And that the ruler of the country has decided he'd like for himself. Thus Samurai are on the way to take it.
Caught up in the middle of the struggle to defend the pyramid, and having to deal with both honourable and duplicitous locals, the Doctor and Amy have an added problem in that the pyramid is guarded by stone ogres. Who come to life when the place is threatened.
Can they find the secret of the pyramid and save the locals?
A leisurely paced opening sets the scene and manages to grab the listener by showing us the Doctor and Amy though the eyes of one of the locals. The exposition that follows is interesting because it's steeped in history that may be new to many. And the incidental music and sound effects are very gentle and atmospheric, which does add atmosphere.
Being all narration does mean you have to keep your concentration at all times, especially during action sequences, which are thus not quite as effective as if it were full cast drama, but Matt Smith is a very good reader and thus it's not too hard. He does a very good range of accents and voices for the supporting characters also. And for Amy.
The plot doesn't offer too many surprises but one villain does receive a very satisfying comeuppance and the secret of the pyramid itself is a decent enough idea.
These talking books aren't the most sophisticated or memorable bits of original Doctor Who fiction ever, but this one manages to be slightly above average, and thus it's a worthwhile listen.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 January 2013
When Shijô Sada welcomes two 'aliens' to his village's shrine, he can have no idea as to their reasons for being there and what will befall both himself and his village. The mysterious Jade Pyramid sited within the heart of the shrine can only be visited by the monks and is powerfully protected, with an almost inhuman vehemence; something that Amy, the Doctor and seven Samauri, arriving on orders of the Shogun, find to their cost...
I approached this audio with some trepidation: based in medieval Japan, it promised to feature Samurai, ninja, village elders and all the usual stereotypes associated with 'Japanese' stories, generally the weaker ones.
Happily, this concern was almost immediate assuaged, with the descriptions of Amy and the Doctor's arrival from Shijô Sada's point of view demonstrating a wonderfully elegant and evocative approach to the text. From the outset, the author has tried to present a carefully constructed, and reasonably plausible, environment for his lightly drawn characters to populate. Time is given to each character, allowing you to gain a general feel for them, but this has been held in enough check to avoid the story being dragged down.
Which is the first reason for enjoying the story: it is a good story. Well-paced, with a gradual build-up to a solid climax and a resolution that, while being somewhat predictable, was worth the wait.
The second reason to listen to this audio is the presentation: AudioGO have provided an atmospheric and appropriate soundscape that consistently feeds into the story, lending authority to the performance, the third good reason to listen.
Matt Smith is an obvious bonus to the story, after all, he is the Doctor, but he works hard to make it obvious that this is 'Matt Smith' reading the story, not the 'Doctor'. He narrates with a quiet, even and almost confidential tone, sounding a little like you, the listener, is the only one this story is for. His characterisations are well-presented, but his 'Doctor' comes across a little muted in comparison with his on-screen persona, while his entertaining rendition of Amy must have drawn a few comments from his erstwhile co-star!
This audio manages to provide the trifecta of Good Story, Good Performace and Good Presentation, a solid entry in this series of Audio Exclusives.
After listening to a different Doctor Who audiobook that I found less than riveting (for, sorry to say it, these audio stories do seem to vary in quality), I decided to buy myself this. It was a good choice as far as stories go, and there's a bonus here in that Matt Smith reads the story, and you already know how good he is.
The Doctor and Amy arrive in feudal Japan in search of a distress call, where they find a local villager who makes some quite astute observations about the Doctor and his companion and trusts them even without the use of psychic paper. The Doctor soon discovers that the distress call is coming from a local and highly treasured artefact, but there are problems - the artefact is guarded by manikins who have taken on the shape of Otoroshi, ghosts or daemons of Japanese folklore, and on top of that the local shogun is sending samurai to take the artefact to the imperial court, by force if necessary. If the object falls into the wrong hands, it could alter the course of history, but that's not the only concern, as the locals revere the artefact and are planning to protect it.
This is a good, character driven, Eleventh Doctor Earth-based story. The background music is good too, having just the right atmosphere. The only reason I'm giving it 4 stars instead of 5 is that it doesn't really bring anything new to the table and though exciting enough doesn't really score big on the plot twists. But I did find the story highly enjoyable and will certainly listen to it again after a while.
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 28 November 2011
I'm very much a Doctor Who fan and am aiming to listen to all (if not most) of the audio books from the David Tennant to Matt Smith series, so I've listened to quite a few. I don't know what it was about The Jade Pyramid but it just didn't interest me as most of the other stories and I didn't think it was that good. That said, it wasn't awful and it hasn't stopped me from listening to it again.