Top critical review
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A tough one to judge. A LOW three stars. More like 2 1/2 out of 5 :)
on 20 February 2009
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It was the first book of Doctor Who I've read (and I only read it less than a month ago). But I am torn. On the one hand, I can't say the book is awful, but there are elements that bring it down.
First thing - the writing, although not bad, feels like it was written by a scriptwriter rather than a novelist. The dialogue is better and more involving than the descriptive sections. Somehow, reading Doctor Who is still fun, despite this fact and I think its because you feel the writer is enjoying this.
Unlike other TV-based books (such as LOST), the characterisations are more consistent (if not terribly revealing beyond the boundaries that we see in the show)and the prose has a greater sense of heart and soul. Well, a little more. The prose is still somewhat stiff in places. Significant improvements are made with the latest books. I've read two old books with Rose and a new one with Donna ("Shining Darkness"), the writing and storytelling of the latter succeeds all previous efforts.
The story of "Only Human" is hit and miss. It meanders all over the place as various characters go off in different directions. Jack and Das are poorly served, left to wallow in a sub-plot that keeps getting in the way of the main action. These pages would have been better off edited together, or left until the end.
There are various plot-holes towards the end - and end which is too daft for even Doctor Who. I can't say much more without spoiling the book.
Overall: The writing, plot and the structure of the novel is bearable, but very inconsistent at times, as is the characterisation of a few minor figures important to the plot. The ending is too silly, you wonder if the author struggled with finding a decent climax to finish with. Yet despite these things, it has a warm hearted approach and it is easy to see that the author loves The Doctor. It is much more fun to read than I anticipated.
Try the newer novels, they're much better.
It ONLY JUST gets a 3/5 from me.