Torchwood: Almost Perfect Paperback – 3 May 2012
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The ninth novel in the bestselling Torchwood range from BBC Books
About the Author
James Goss spent seven years working on the BBC's official Doctor Who website and co-wrote the website for Torchwood Series One. In 2007, he won the Best Adaptation category in the annual LA Weekly Theatre Awards for his version of Douglas Adams' novel Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency.
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With fewer characters left in the show (it's now the Torchwood 3), each character gets more opportunity to shine. Jack takes a back seat for much of the book, giving Ianto the chance to appear more than one-dimensional for once- an opportunity he takes (mostly), in some interesting directions.
Like the TV show it does have moments where it goes over-the-top- in particular about Cardiff's gay community. There are cliches and stereotypes about women and gay men flying left right and centre here, which you'll either laugh off or find a bit offensive. Hopefully you'll just laugh it off, as it's a funny story with a lot of good comic dialogue.
It's well written and a really easy read- I'd finished it in a couple of hours. In fact at under 250 pages it's too short.
The main focus of this story is on Ianto Jones but it also focuses on a woman called Emma, who after coming across an unknown alien tech on the dead body of a woman, finds a sinister voice in her head telling her that she can mysteriously make both herself and the men that she meets almost perfect, through the use of physical manipulation.
Gwen arrives at work one morning to find a beautiful and unknown woman appearing to be doing Ianto's job but it isn't until several minutes later that she finds out exactly who the 'woman' is. On the same day, the team also find a fully clothed skeleton sitting at a resturant table.
Rhys also gets to play a role in the story.
Whilst there are obviously humourous moments to be found in Ianto's situation and a few moments that make you roll your eyes when it comes to female cliches, there are also poniant moments too, with Ianto thinking about his relationship with Jack from time to time.
Both the Jack/Ianto and Gwen/Rhys relationships are given more warmth and dignity here than in much of series 2 - there isn't a hint of Jack/Gwen anywhere beyond friendship and even Gwen and Ianto get to share some nice moments together as Ianto faces up to his situation - and whilst it's fairly clear that Jack isn't in love with Ianto, you come away with the feeling that it could be a possibility in the next series.
The reason I bought this book was to see if one of the authors in the Torchwood tie-in series could finally capture the Jack/Ianto dynamic that has come across on screen: playful, loving and oh, the amusing banter. Mr. Goss gets a B+ for effort, but by allowing Ianto to be stuck in the body of a woman for the entire book, he goes wimps out on the potential romantic homoerotic leanings that could have happened.
While I enjoyed the Captain Jack and Ianto banter I would have preferred Ianto to have regained his male form much sooner. And the subplot of the aliens (The Perfection) I found to be worse than any D plotline on Dr. Who, it nearly had me laughing becuase it was so lame.
So, good points: Jack/Ianto banter and chemistry. Rhys is in the book and he's just lovely. Just enough Gwen, not too much to annoy you, but she's not too underused to feel like she's being slighted.
Bad points: Alien subplot and the fact that Ianto is stuck too long in the female body (that could have been played for more humorous laughs, it wasn't, which is a shame).
Overall, its a enjoyable read if you like Torchwood and I liked this book more than the other Torchwood tie-ins I've read so far.
There's also a very cute portrait of Gwen and Rhys as a couple, and Rhys gets his share of adventure too. Really entertaining book. I'm glad I bought it. And as the team solves the mystery, it gets very entertaining and in the end the reader is just hooked. After I started reading this, I couldn't put it down because it was so exciting!
Jack get's his fair share of attention too in this book, as usual.
The short chapters switching from one set of protagonists to another really move the story along, and keep you turning the pages, although you do have to concentrate to keep the time-line straight as the narrative jumps around.
All the main characters are well written, especially Jack who leaps quipping, smirking and larger than life out of the pages, until he is once again put in the position of having to make the really tough decisions to undo the damage.
There are moments of great humour including the Time Agency's use of flowcharts and Rhys & Gwen undercover at a speed-dating session; real horror and also poignancy - particularly when Ianto is given the opportunity to have his heart's desire granted.
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the almost in the title is really not necessary.
Set after the trauma of "Exit Wounds" and therefore operating with only the 3 surviving members of...Read more