VINE VOICEon 31 December 2008
One of the main reasons why I loved the fourth series of Doctor Who so much was because of Catherine Tate. She made the character of Donna Noble such a fantastic one to love and cherish, which made her departure from the series all the more heartbreaking. Which is why I am so thankful for the recent audiobooks which feature more of Donna. However, The Forever Trap is truly special as it's narrated by Catherine Tate herself.
The story here is set sometime after TV episodes The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky. During the Doctor and Donna's travels, the TARDIS is invaded by a viral transmission, or rather, a holographic marketing scam that doesn't take `No!' for an answer. Despite their best efforts, the travellers find themselves trapped on the Edifice, a planet-sized complex of luxury apartments in space. Millions of beings across the Universe have been abducted, and where some really enjoy living in the Edifice, others have been taken from their natural habitat and cannot survive. Some are also vicious creatures who live only for war and conquest, and others still are mindless predators who look only to feast. Long story short, the Edifice is not all it's cracked up to be and is in fact a nightmarish mismatch of emotions that condemns all inside to eternal hell and death. With seemingly NO - WAY - OUT.
Obviously, The Forever Trap has been compared a lot to Pest Control, the other audiobook set during Series 4. Like Pest Control, The Forever Trap is a tale that's been done exclusively for audio. But is it better than Pest Control? Absolutely.
Dan Abnett, the author, is a man who should need no introduction. He's written plenty of stuff for Marvel UK (such as Transformers and Doctor Who) and he's famous for writing 2000AD, X-Men, stories for DC and Wildstorm and many bestselling novels. He's one of the most famous science-fiction writers in all the UK. So that was another reason why I wanted this audiobook so much. And true to nature, Abnett doesn't disappoint. He has written a STAGGERING story here.
Whereas Pest Control was action-filled, thrilling, multi-layered and great fun, The Forever Trap is much deeper and more psychological. As the mysteries of the Edifice unravel, the story becomes more sinister and darker. Like all good Who tales, there are plenty of twists-and-turns and enough action to liven things up, but this audiobook's greatest strengths are all the different alien species encountered, the whole concept of the Edifice, all the dangers and horrors within, the faultless relationship and conversational exchanges between the Doctor and Donna, Donna's bravery and resoluteness and finally some brilliant nods to important parts of the Doctor's life. The Ood and the Sontarans get a mention here, as does the Doctor's lost homeworld of Gallifrey, which is very creative and really adds to the psychology of the story.
But it's the SOUND that truly makes The Forever Trap really tense and nail-biting. Catherine Tate provides a PERFECT narrative to Abnett's story. She reads excellently, gives each of the characters great distinctive voices, continues to make Donna special and also does a good impersonation of the Doctor. Of course, all this is a given. We all now how excellent Catherine is at doing voices.
Like Pest Control, the music and sound effects really add to the drama of the story, but what's different and better here is that it's more varied. The music is so much more creepier and eerie and the sound effects WILL keep you on edge and make you jump throughout, especially during the EPIC finale when our heroes discover the Edifice's sinister secret.
Another reason to purchase The Forever Trap is because it's very much a `Doctor and Donna' story. All the other characters have minor roles and don't really have that big an impact on the course of events as the supporting characters did in Pest Control, and that's what makes the audiobook so refreshing. The Doctor and Donna's friendship is what made the fourth series so brilliant and this is a reminder of how true it was and how many great moments it provided for, such as the constant insistence to everyone that they WEREN'T a couple, and how much they were there for one another.
Doctor Who: The Forever Trap has everything it needs to satisfy die-hard fans. I put it on my iPod and was really glad I did. It will have you absolutely hooked from start-to-finish because of everything that's on it. Psychological, deep, gripping, tense, and will send plenty of chills down your spine. Utterly worth having.