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Torchwood : Border Princes Paperback – 1771
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Top customer reviews
Several small tales are all explored throughout the book, all of which seem quite unrelated until they all neatly come together, weaving a complex and quite enjoyable storyline.
The plot mostly revolves around the well known members of the Torchwood team, including new addition James, who has more to him than meets the eye. This leads to the numerous twists and turns throughtout, and even thought the ending becomes quite predictable it is still an enjoyment to read.
I am now looking forward to reading the other releases in the series, and if this book is anything to go by I won't be able to put those down for a while either!
I found the difference in attitude of the characters - from what I'd learnt about them on TV and in the other two books - to be extremely off-putting; they just didn't ring true and, to me, acted out of character. Cap'n Jack was quite a marginal figure and seemed very weak - not leadership material at all and not the cool, calm but witty hunk we know and love! He didn't seem to be in control much and we didn't hear that much about him or from him, which was most unexpected.
The introduction of the character James didn't work for me either and the fact that he and Gwen 'got it together' was a real shame; Gwen's love of Rhys provides one of the strongest links to 'reality' - he represents the rest of us - that the series has. It is her constant battle between what she sees and learns at Torchwood and the 'normal' everday life of her and Rhys - the way she adapts and reconciles the two and the constant wrestling of her conscience between them - that gives her such strength and adds humanity and compassion to the team. The loss of that throws us out of kilter - all without good reason as far as I could see. Maybe I just didn't 'get it'!
Still, it's far better than anything I could write so I guess I have no right to criticise!
I should point out, that while I watched Torchwood all the way through, it was more in the hope that it would all come together at some point than because I was really enjoying it. So why read one of the books? Well both Andy Lane (who wrote Slow Decay) and Dan Abnett have proven themselves fine writers and I approached Border Princes as a Dan Abnett novel instead.
So I was mildly surprised (though not that surprised) to find that Dan's novel presented the version of Torchwood I'd been expecting and hoping for. A group of paranormal investigators, normal people, who deal with crimes using alien artefacts and incursions from other realms. The interactions between the team, which I'll admit don't mirror the television show that well beyond the first episode, make you feel like they're a good team, as opposed to the backstabbing, callous bunch of cheats and liars the show featured. When watching the show I could never understand why they all kept working together when they would shoot each other, bully each other etc. Captain Jack particularly feels closer to how Russell T Davies writes him than what we saw in the show and is a lot easier going and willing to share his mysteries.
The writing is well paced and quite gripping. Even though you'll probably see where it's all going, it's a pleasant trip getting there. There's plenty of humour and the relationship writing for Gwen is particularly strong, even if Rhys does get short shrift (but then Gwen had an affair with Owen in the show, so why should we believe her relationship with Rhys is particularly strong). James, the mysterious new Torchwood member, is a nice chap too.
If you're a big fan of the show, it isn't quite so faithful as you might hope, I guess. And it is hard to figure out where it fits into the timescale. I'm tempted to suggest it may fit better in the second series, depending how that turns out. (Edit: And whaddayaknow? I was right!)
The book also does a good job of fitting itself *into* the TV series without having to follow fixed rules for which characters will survive and which won't (in particular James, as other reviewers have mentioned), and yet it does NOT use a 'magic reset button' or 'it was all a dream' device, for which it should be praised.
Clicking the 'Dan Abnett' link on Amazon suggests that he's a seasoned writer for other tie-in books like Warhammer 40,000, and the battle scenes in this book are well-written. It's quite a masculine book, the up-side of which is that the book doesn't spend too long on the Gwen-and-Rhys-problem that "Another Life" got itself wrapped up in. Personally I found the Gwen-and-Rhys-relationship-breakdown the weakest written and least engaging part of both the TV series and the other books, so I'm grateful that this book doesn't dwell on it.
<geek mode> There is a bit of a plot contradiction between this book and episode 12 of the TV series, and Toshiko's character is very different to her TV appearances, but those are minor niggles. <end geek>
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it didnt seem like torchwood at all , it was badly written and the chracters were completely different...Read more