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The Tenth Doctor and Martha visit a land of fiction
on 23 October 2013
The penultimate instalment in this 50th anniversary series of novellas sees the Tenth Doctor and Martha trapped inside a fictional world created out of books; mainly those read by Martha as a child. There are obvious connotations with the Second Doctor adventure, `The Mind Robber', and as such there can't help but be a few similarities. The author is obviously aware of this and addresses it himself on numerous occasions, stressing the differences between his story and that (even though more often than not it confirms what they have in common). However, he does this with an entertaining, wry sense of humour that also acknowledges the above.
Most of the action takes place in the world of `The Troubleseekers'; a `Famous Five' style series of books read by Martha as a child. Fortunately the child heroes of this series have, wisely, only been given a very superficial role by the author. They could easily have been very irritating (as no doubt they are intended to be). Other fictional works exert an influence as the story develops and many popular children and young adult novels are referenced; from `The Wizard of Oz' to `Twilight'. Quite a few Doctor Who stories are also referred to. None of this is overindulgent though and an entertaining tweak of humour runs through them. Spotting them all is actually quite fun.
With mainly only superficial characters filing this fictional world, Martha and the Doctor really carry the story. For the most part they are relatively close to their television counterparts. The alien responsible for this strange world is the only other main role. He is an interesting concept but is defeated in a way far too similar to several televised stories of recent years.
This is an exciting, good paced adventure that doesn't take itself too seriously. Adults and children should both find much to enjoy.