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Doctor Who: Wooden Heart Kindle Edition
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The Doctor and Martha arrive on a space ship which seems to be filled with the corpses of prisoners on whom unspeakable experiments have been performed. Returning to the TARDIS, our intrepid duo find that a forest has mysteriously appeared where there was nothing previously. Entering the village, they find the locals in the grip of fear: the children are disappearing and there are monsters in the forest.
This is a gripping, well-written and ingenious novel which avoids the usual clichés of monsters on the rampage to present a character-based story with a good dash of "hard" science fiction ideas. The monsters in the forest reminded me of the film The Village, although the solution is very different. The main characters are well-presented and behave in character as we know them. All in all, very enjoyable.
This story features the Tenth Doctor, as played by David Tennant, and his companion Martha, as played by Freema Agyeman. I always enjoy stories with these two, as they seem to be a good pairing, and Martha stands up well as an individual alongside the charismatic Doctor.
Petr and Kristine's son Thom has disappeared, just like many others in their community. Meanwhile, the Doctor and Martha come across a drifting, apparently deserted Century-class research vessel, the Castor. Naturally, the Doctor feels compelled to take a look.
This is a really good Doctor Who story; spooky disappearances, unexplained technology, action and adventure, and it all takes place in a well thought out environment. Great stuff.
There are two reasonable concepts within this story; although the whole prison ship experiment idea has too many similarities with ‘The Mind of Evil’. The problem being that these two ideas, and subsequent story threads, fails to coalesce in any meaningful way. It isn’t that they aren’t related, in fact they are quite closely, just that the writer fails to explain it in such a way that it doesn’t make the plot appear haphazard. The joining of the two storylines should have been far more of a revelation to the characters and especially the reader.
The characterisation of Martha is extremely poor; she is nothing like her onscreen counterpart. Perhaps, this is explained by this book probably having been written before the first Martha episodes were aired. The portrayal of the Doctor is also lacking. Some of the syntax of his speech and the described mannerisms seem fitting but he sometimes comes over as a bit stupid and at times unusually callous. He is somewhat unlikeable.
The Dazai is certainly an intriguing character, and part of the problem with the characterisation of the Doctor is that she overshadows him somewhat. She doesn’t have that substantial a role though and somehow feels under-utilised. There is also some potential in the two estranged brothers but this is never fully realised and left a bit emotionally flat.
The only other major character is Jude but there is a sense that she has just been included as a child role to appeal to younger readers. The mental journey she goes on during the course of the novel feels unfulfilling and juvenile and the Doctor is too blasé about the dangers of the physical journey she takes with him.
In some ways this is quite a frustrating read because with a bit more care and attention and a better structure this could have been a much better story.
Who survived the disaster that overcame the rest of the crew? What continues to power the vessel? And why has a stretch of wooded countryside suddenly appeared in the middle of the craft?
As the Doctor and Martha journey through the forest, they find a mysterious, fogbound village - a village traumatised by missing children and tales of its own destruction...
Featuring the Tenth Doctor and Martha as played by David Tennant and Freema Agyeman in the hit sci-fi series from BBC Television.
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