on 29 December 2006
I sometimes worry when I start to read a novel based on a series that I love, but in this case I needn't have. I fell in love with this novel from the very first few pages just as I had with the first episode of the show. Each character is well written. The jokes are there, the mickey taking and the action. The great story telling and the descriptions from the gory scenes to the storm riddled scenes makes you feel like you are there with the characters. I'm so glad the the character of Ianto was written for as I think he is underused in the series, but he gets a bit to do in Another Life and I hope he is written more for in future novels as I know that he is a character that many fans of the show like. If you like the show you'll love this novel. I couldn't put it down. From start to finish it was great a real little gem.
on 29 December 2006
This is a real treat for fans of Torchwood even if, like me, you've been disappointed by TV tie-ins in the past. First of all, Anghelides seems to have actually WATCHED the series and captures the characters perfectly. We get Jack's flirtiness, Gwen's overbearing "I'M THE ONLY ONE WITH A HEART!", Owen's slightly-scary letchiness, Tosh's glorious techno-geekiness and, of course, Ianto's gorgeousness. The other books in the series don't make enough of Jack's interest in Ianto (indeed, Ianto doesn't feature much in the others) but this one does... You also get a real feel for Jack's damaged psyche and his willingness to sacrifice anything for the greater good. Pure gold.
on 8 February 2007
This is the first book of three hardcovers with stand alone stories. They are beautiful - the artwork is impressive and when you place the books together, the spine is showing a group photo of the characters.
If you have never watched Torchwood, it might be a good idea to read this book first in order to find out if this series is your cup of tea. It gives all the information you need, including what Torchwood is, the characters and what kind of stories to expect. The author knows Torchwood very well and the characterizations are very accurate. The book takes place early in the series which is reflected in numerous ways. I think also people who never watched Torchwood can read this book without any problems.
I see Torchwood as something between Star Trek`s Section 31 and "the department" of Starfleet Intelligence, led by Admiral Nechayev in the main Star Trek book universe, that is dealing with missions that push what is legal, what is moral, what is acceptable to its limits and sometimes beyond. When does the end justify the means when it is about protecting Earth from alien threats? And when, there is the next question, namely what is still justifiable under such circumstances? Torchwood is not an illegal organization and although what it is about is a secret, they are called to investigate suspicious murders or other events that are unusual. Their task is to find answers, stop threats and at the same time, keeping alien presences secret and collect alien technology they find. The Prime Minister knows all about Torchwood but how much further that knowledge goes, is unknown.
Torchwood is a spin-off of Doctor Who, a British SF series, and that this story takes place in Britain is also obvious when reading this book. "Another Life" is a story with an overall pattern that is typical for Torchwood: An evil alien is taking over humans, using them and killing them in the process. The story is dark, gritty, includes a certain amount of gore and violence. Lots of rain is falling, which is typical, too. Torchwood was created with an adult audience in mind and therefore, additional to horror elements, some sexual ones can be found as well in this book as it is the case in the TV series.
This doesn`t sound attractive but also this book shows that there is more behind Torchwood. A series first of all comes alive with its characters and some of them reflect the overall mood of the series well: They are good people but with flaws, flaws that make them interesting. Torchwood deals with questions that involve a lot of shades of grey and needs a certain type of people to deal with it.
"Another Life" is revealing what was at the beginning of the series even a secret to most other members of this group, that the leader Jack Harkness is an immortal who can`t die. What happened had been shown in the modern Doctor Who series but is not known to anyone in the Torchwood series, probably not even the Prime Minister. Jack is very charismatic, a natural leader. The book shows his two sides very well: He is dedicated, caring, in many ways a real hero but he can be frighteningly ruthless when he thinks it is necessary. I agree with what other fans have said as well, him being immortal robbed him a bit of his humanity at times.
This book is a good example showing that we viewers or, in this case, readers might not like what he does or did but when he asked here what other alternative there is, I didn`t have an answer either. Newcomer Gwen Cooper provided the same human conscience for him in this book as it was shown mainly in early Torchwood. The climax is not really surprising but I found it a gripping, touching read. By letting Jack sacrifice himself in order to stop the alien and save Owen, another member of the team, Gwen had to struggle with her conscience. This scene showed me why I am a fan of this series although I agree that there is definitely room for improvement.
One of these needed improvements is about another grey character who plays a main part in this book, Owen Harper. When I first saw him on TV, my reaction was "What a creep!". But I also wondered from early on, maybe a series like Torchwood needs such a character as well. "Another Life" shows "Owen the creep" very well but makes a good effort to look closer at him, analysing what makes him the character he is. I don`t think he is likeable in the book but he is definitely interesting and in spite of his flaws, I couldn`t help caring for what happens to him.
"Another World" makes good use of Toshiko Sato, the computer expert of the group. I learned more about her character in this book than I did on TV so far. Somewhere in the book, her attitude towards computers was described as being a composer. And then there is Ianto Jones, the kind of assistant and caretaker. He is a troubled character with a secret that is revealed later in the series. People who know what I am talking about can read between the lines when reading the book.
I think people who like watching Torchwood will also like this book. But if you never have watched it, I understand very well why Torchwood is a controversial series that is not for everybody.
on 20 October 2014
(Review by my 15 Year-Old Son)
For as long as I have been a reader of the series of Torchwood novels, I have never read them in order. I know this doesn't affect a thing as the books aren't linked but still ... As a result, I have finally got around to reading the very first book in the series. I have also read Peter Anghelides second book in the series, Pack Animals. I was a huge fan of Pack Animals. This combined with an amazing plot summary, meant that I had high hopes for Another Life. Were they fulfilled? Pretty much ...
The plot starts with a Cardiff serial murderer throwing himself off a multi-storey building and we see how the city's drainage system collapses with extremely heavy rainfall (a fact I love by the way, true to the UK's weather). We also get to see some proper Torchwood-meets-alien action here, with the mastermind Bruydac and the monster in the bath ... It can't be denied that there is a lot for a reader to get their teeth into here. This is combined with Anghelides' great characterisation of the Torchwood team and the supporting characters.
In conclusion, Peter Anghelides has written a fantastic book here, perhaps not up to the great standard that was evident in Pack Animals, but still brilliant. Once again, I would definitely recommend it to any Torchwood fan, as it's a great read! (8/10)
on 5 September 2013
I miss it so much and this helped a bit. Can everyone who loves Torchwood and John Barrowman, Eve Myles and Kai Owen please write to the BBC and demand they make another (and several more after that) series - go on you know you want to and if you dont know what i am talking about what series 1, 2 and 3 - season 4 was when it all changed and it went to America.
This first of the Torchwood spin-off novels (at least going by the picture on the spine) features the team going up against a killer mind-hopping alien whose spaceship also happens to be slowly drowning Cardiff as it emerges from the Rift...
Strip away the investigative details and the plot of 'Another Life' is sadly a rather generic 'invading alien warrior' already seem a few hundred times in the main Doctor Who lines. Beyond the creatures mind-hopping abilities and delightfully gruesome diet there is also absolutely nothing interesting about the main alien threat, who seems to be entirely devoid of any interesting motivation beyond being 'alien'. Thankfully this rather generic warrior is accompanied by some non-talking starfish creatures which lead to some of the novels better moments...
Peter Anghelides does well to provide a good chunk of material for each of the Torchwood regulars, and while Owen probably gets the meatiest section of the novel with the tale of his own doomed attempt to recruit a new Torchwood member, everyone gets a good slab of the action - even tea-boy(or should that be 'coffee-boy'?) Ianto. The only slight downside to this is that the novel is almost entirely lacking any strong or well-developed original supporting characters, as Anghelides concentrates exclusively on the Torchwood regulars, with (a few short death scenes aside) practically every paragraph seen through the eyes of one of the TV series stars.
As with the TV series Captain Jack's immortality is something of a problem dramatically, as thanks to the aliens modus operandi it becomes very obvious early on how Jack will end up defeating the menace.
Still, this is a good solid pacy spin-off, and thanks to the lack of the more jeuvenille sex-based antics of the TV series this is superior to some of the more embaressing episodes of the TV series itself. All in all a good translation of Torchwood to the printed page, and if you are looking for more Torchwood between TV seasons this will fill the gap admirably, but compared to some of the more imaginative original Doctor Who novels of the past this doesn't really add anything to the Torchwood mythos. A good spin-off book yes, but simply not original enough to be a great novel.
on 14 January 2007
I follow Torchwood and it does have it's highs and lows. I'll admit it's not always brilliant, but this book shows what it's about. People, real people in situations that you just don't expect. The writing is gripping, with each character getting fleshed out more than there is time for on screen. The plot, about half eaten bodies, a drowning Cardiff and virtual reality, is sound, and all links together beautifully. There are some wonderfully funny moments, which I won't spoil because that's not fair, and there are other moments when you want to cry but won't because it's a book. (Go on, let it out.)
The chapters cunningly end on a cliffhanger, which makes it very awkward to put down when you want to eat your lunch, and in true sci-fi style, there are some stomach turning descriptions that put me off my food for a bit.
Do give this book a try as it's probably one of the best I've read in a while.
on 9 July 2007
Another Life is the first of the Torchwood books. Unlike many TV-tie-ins it hits the ground running. The story is interesting enough which fits well into the Torchwood world. All characters are well represented and Torchwood McGuffins like the Rift, the Hub and the various technology all fit in well.
The main plot concerns a theft of nuclear material. Its nothing remarkalbe but its enjoyable reading about characters we have only till now watched on TV. Nothing too ambitious is tried in this first book but at the same time the reader gets the impression a lot of work went into this book as it fits seamlessly with the Torchwood world. Its set between episodes 3 and 4 of the series it seems.
The secondary plot concerns Owen hooking up with an old girlfriend. This eventually fits well with the main plot but initally meanders.
There are some good descriptions of various areas of Cardiff and various Welsh characters.
The end is not too surprising but we get a lot of insight into Gwens character without her deviating too much from her TV persona.
So all in all a good start for the Torchwood range.
on 20 May 2013
TORCHWOOD (spin-off of Doctor Who) is an intensely thrilling television series that cleverly combines sci-fi and otherworldly aliens within a thoroughly modern, twenty-first century setting. This specialist secret organization, hidden away from prying eyes beneath Cardiff, is led by close friend of the Doctor and time traveler himself; Captain Jack Harkness. As foreign creatures, strange spirits and deadly demons attack the UK, it is Torchwood's duty to protect the Earth from outer-space invasions. Having fallen in love with the television series (complete with a cast of fantastic actors including John Barrowman and Eve Myles), I was keen to delve back into this creation via the page. This book certainly didn't disappoint as it captured the tension between the characters, their personalities and the sinister supernatural ambience through the page perfectly!
Thick black clouds are blotting out the skies over Cardiff, as twenty-four inches of rain falls in twenty-four hours. The city center's drainage system collapses. The capital's homeless are being murdered, their mutilated bodies left lying in the soaked streets around the Blaidd Drwg nuclear facility. Tracked down by TORCHWOOD the killer calmly drops eight stories to his death, but the killings continue. Their investigations lead Captain Jack Harkness, Gwen Cooper and Toshiko Sato to a monster in a bathroom, a mystery at an enemy base and a hunt for stolen nuclear fuel rods. Meanwhile, Owen Harper goes missing from the hub, when a game in second reality leads him to an old girlfriend...
Something is coming, forcing its way through the rift, straight into Cardiff Bay.
The hit television series created by Russell T Davies for the BBC is now brought vibrantly to life, through wonderfully detailed descriptions and explosive drama. Similarly to the TV shows, I found myself unable to tear my gaze away from the page as I completely lost myself within TORCHWOOD and all the nail-biting, unexpected events which concern it. Very readable and full of dry humor and wit, I was mesmerized totally by this entertaining adventure. I would recommend this to fans of Doctor Who and those who love science-fiction *adult themed.
"By day we are chasing the scum of the Universe..." - Ianto Jones
"...The end is where we begin" - Jack
on 29 October 2012
I was sceptic when I heard books had been released, because books based on a series are hardly ever a patch for the real thing. I was pleasantly surprised.
The character's personalities transfer so well from screen onto paper, and their mannerisms etc are exactly the same as they are in the episodes. It has the same humorous moments (especially Owen's dig at Welsh place names), great action, a gripping plot and everything you would expect from a Torchwood book.
I would highly recommend this to anyone who is a huge fan of the "old" Torchwood and would like to hear untold stories. It's a shame none of these books made it to screen - they'd be brilliant feature-length episodes.