Learn more Download now Shop now Learn more Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle New Album - Tokio Myers Learn more Shop Women's Shop Men's

Customer reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
Doctor Who: The Scarlet Empress
Format: Mass Market Paperback|Change

on 29 May 2008
On the whole, a fairly enjoyable book, a nice story, etc. There's a strong basic plot, a fair bit of adventure, more adventure/fantasy than typical Doctor Who Science Fiction. But still a good read.

Looking at other reviews its suggested that this isn't really the eighth Doctor, well... I can see McGann, but will admit, Tennant would suit the story far better - but there's no real tie to the McGann Doctor, it could, for the most part, be any Doctor, the odd description, but nothing really to make it impossible to picture any other Doctor in the role.

My main gripe was the form of the narrative, it got rather confusing and for the first few chapters I was a bit puzzled as to how the story was really going, later on I got the hang of it, but it's a rather abnormal narrative style. But a nice endearing story, which certainly tries hard.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 2 April 2001
At the end of the day, I didn't really know what to make of this. The epic cross-country quest depicted is far more at home in mainstream fantasy novels than Doctor Who as are the magical/fantastical elements which didn't really add anything to the story in any case. The storyline itself I found neither funny or dramatic and ultimately just simple and silly, and what little plot there was uninteresting. Even Iris, for whom I initially had high hopes, turned out to be dull and uninspiring too. I can understand some people raving about this because it's certainly very different, but for me just too different. It just never really felt like Who to me. Sorry.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 13 August 2013
The Scarlet Empress is an 8th Doctor adventure featuring Iris Wildthyme by Paul Magrs. It is more a fantasy/adventure novel than it is science fiction which sets it apart from the previous novels in the range.

The Doctor and Sam arrive on Hyspero to discover the Doctor's old associate Iris Wildthyme embroiled in quest to reform a band of four mutants for the Scarlet Empress. Iris' motives are questionable, and she isn't giving much away to the Doctor. As the story progresses the band get back together and join forces to thwart the Scarlet Empress. It's a good premise, but it's the little side-stories which really let the novel down as they draw from fantasy rather than science fiction. It seems Magrs has tried to shoehorn in as many fantasy ideas as possible and it comes across a little fragmented at times.

I also have a couple of quibbles with Magrs writing style namely his use of long words and his insertion of "videotape" footage from the future. Whilst I don't like my novels to be dumbed down it's annoying when you have to stop mid-sentence to look a word up in a dictionary. The videotape footage just serves to confuse, and stops the flow of what is otherwise an entertaining passage.

Magrs does the 8th Doctor brilliantly, harking back to his portrayal in Vampire Science, and Sam is also a joy to read now she's matured. Both characters really shine with their interactions with Iris, Sam in particular taking to the "cool mum" image Iris has.

Iris Wildthyme is one of Paul Magrs original characters and I won't lie, she's pretty cool and it's nice to see an author change our established views of the Doctors past, and try to push the series forward. A Time Lady who has met the Doctor before on numerous occasions she adds dimensions to the Doctor which we wouldn't see without her. Also the similarities between her character and River Song from Nu-Who are pretty clear, including the use of the word "sweetie" Magrs might want a quiet word with Moffat. Anyway Iris is a joy to read, her illness and obvious pre-regeneration gives Magrs a chance to get into the minds of a dying Time Lord, something never really touched upon on TV (until Tennant/Smith of course). The other characters are all a bit flat, mainly due to the author concentrating more on the fantasy ideas than characterization.

Paul Magrs took some risks in writing The Scarlett Empress and for the most part they paid off. The fantasy setting is a nice change although it feels a little mish-mashed at times but the inclusion of Iris Wildthyme made the novel by adding to the dynamic of the TARDIS crew. A little bit too long, and a little bit too sesquipedalian (using long words for the sake of it) for me, but enjoyable nonetheless. Only really one for hardcore Doctor Who fans though.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 27 January 1999
Although I feel a little unfair at offering a review for a book I didn't finish, I'm afraid I simply couldn't bring myself to plough on any further through this turgid bowell-movement of a novel. It's a (very) simple quest story, told in a hugely uninteresting way, and this is only the second Doctor Who book I have ever given up on before the conclusion (the other being the Shadow of Weng-Chiang). The book, while containing a few credible fantasy ideas is unfortunately written in such an unreadable way that my concentration was rarely held and I just gave up completely around page 200, completely unsatisfied with what I had read. The narrative flits (apparently randomly) between third person and various first person speakers in a very annoying manner. Sam, incidentally does virtually nothing, although this is not necessarily a bad thing. If you're new to the range, whatever you do, don't start with this one.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 21 February 2012
Paul Magrs is, without doubt, my favourite Who author. His sweeps of fancy - more fantasy than SciFi - are visionary, with a richness of detail that's rare in the EDA's and truly brings his landscapes to life.

Iris - you either love her or hate her. I think he overuses her in later books - they are supposed to be about The Doctor, after all and at times, you do start to wonder who the star of Magrs show is - but here, where we first meet her, he gets the balance just right. His fellow Time Lord is gloriously amoral, Machiavellian; utterly unpredictable and untrustworthy and an absolute joy.

Magrs world-building is multi-layered with just enough description to make it alive and real, but not so much that the story is lost in a welter of drifting metaphor.

A pre-Fitz, Sam EDA I can wholeheartedly recommend. That's not something you hear everyday.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 4 December 2013
I'm slowly working my way through the BBC 8th Doctor books and most of them are pretty good. This isn't. I skimmed the last 180 pages, and in a 280 page book, that's not good. The thing is, I didn't feel like I missed much. There's very little plot. What plot there is, is a by-the-numbers collect the x idea, where x in this case is a series of weird mercenaries. That could have been the framework for a decent, if predictable quest story, but this isn't it. The titular villain is an interesting idea, but is barely relevant to the book. The supporting character of Iris Wildthyme is good fun, but not perhaps very well written. I can see this story on TV as a late Colin Baker or early Sylvester McCoy story (i.e. the show's mostly crap period). Miriam Margolyes would have been Iris.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 12 June 1999
Of the BBC Novels this is my favourite so far. Paul Magrs resurrects his character of Iris Wildthyme (last seen in Short Trips' "Old Flames"), a Gallifreyan Miriam Margolyes. She is hopelessly in love with the Doctor and follows him through time in her TARDIS, an old red London bus which is smaller on the inside than the outside. The story is basically a quest to find a gang of vigilantes who the Scarlet Empress, ruthless leader of the planet Hyspero, needs out of the way. To complete this task she sends Iris who, on the way, manages to get the Doctor mixed up in it too. The really impressive part of the book for me was the snappy dialogue, particularly between the Doctor and Iris. I was reading this on a train and it was very difficult not to belly-laugh at times. There is an hilarious moment when the Doctor hears Iris scream from inside the bus and presumes she's run out of tonic. If (and when) the series eventually returns to TV I sincerely hope it's like this and I hope Magrs is a regularly contributor. He so perfectly captures the essence of 'Doctor Who'; exciting, scary but, at the same time a real good laugh. Failing that, BBC Books should seriously consider asking him to write new novels - preferably bringing back old Iris at the same time (and it would be great to see her with the past Doctors too). Highly Recommended!!
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
A stunningly original piece of work putting the doctor and sam into a fantastical world on a fantastical quest, this holds and grips the reader with it's sheer inventiveness. It's something different, and it's something different that works superbly.

Pity Paul Magrs' subsequent efforts haven't been nearly as good
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 25 September 2010
Relished this story. The Doctor plays second fiddle to the wonderful Iris WildThyme. Well written and well paced. Each character narrates and each voice is distinct. Thoroughly enjoyable.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 30 March 2007
Anyone who has seen the movie with Paul McGann and listened to his subsequent performances on the Big Finish audio range will find this hard to take. There are some sections where you can hear his Doctor deliver the lines but other places where it simply doesn't fit. Overall the story is nothing to write home about - standard quest based adventure. I am sure many people will love it but for me it was an example of someone regenerating the Doctor into what they wanted and not staying true to his personality. Its not the worst Dr Who book in the world for the 8th Doctor but its somewhere near the bottom in my opinion
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse