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3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5 out of 5 stars
Doctor Who - Martha in the Mirror (New Series Adventure 22)
Format: Hardcover|Change
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VINE VOICEon 19 November 2008
Barcode: 9781846074202

Martha In The Mirror is in interesting thing. With its setting in an imposing castle in the middle of space and with the story focusing around a mirror which contains a hidden 'alternate' world within it, this story represents an interesting blend of sci-fi and fantasy.

But this is not where the problems lie, where this book unfortunately falls down is in its overcomplicated nature. For starters, the New Series Adventures are primarily designed for relatively young readers so the prospect of a book which spends great parts of itself delving into intergalactic politics and peace treaties baffles.

This is then counterposed against additional plots of not only a mysterious little girl, but also a murder in the castle. The various strands intertwine throughout but sadly, more of ten than not, it is miss rather than hit with this story. The author catches the nature of the Doctor and Martha well but their voices often become lost in an overly wordy story which also features a large cast of supporting characters.

To be fair, there are good moments here too and when this book does work, it does so very well indeed. The idea of the mirror itself is a fascinating concept as are the 'glass people' it creates (although the title of this book 'Martha in the Mirror' is misleading, Martha's involvement with the mirror is actually quite minimal within the storyline).

Robots Bill and Bott do an admirable job of filling the classic Doctor Who comedy duo role and the book slowly builds to a triumphant conclusion which is suitably epic. It is here we finally recieve the pay-off for sticking with the tangled mysteries of the castle and its inhabitants. So, in conclusion, if you are a regular reader of the New Series Adventures, this book presents an interesting scenario, but ultimately, there are far better novels in the series than this.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 2 January 2014
I always enjoy Justin Richard's writing, he seems to have a real grasp of the framework and narrative of Doctor Who stories. Even stories with `modern' Doctors, such as this one featuring the Tenth Doctor (as played by David Tennant) have a good `classic' feel to them. In this story, the Doctor and Martha have travelled to Castle Extremis, where the Doctor promises Martha a great theme park. But he's got his timing a bit wrong, and they find themselves at peace talks at the end of the war between Anthium and Zerugma. The Doctor and Martha find that not everybody is as keen for the war to end as they might have imagined. And what does the ancient mirror have to do with anything?

This is a great story; there's a good mix of alien cultures with mystery and intrigue. It has a feel of the classic Third Doctor Peladon stories I thought. Well characterised, well narrated, and well put together. This is a really good Doctor Who story, and definitely recommended.
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on 21 February 2013
This book has the type of story pattern that has come up in Doctor Who several times; the Doctor arrives during some type of conference between intergalactic powers just as said conference is to be sabotaged, unearths the conspiracy and saves the day. Although not the most original of plots it is one that works quite well with the general character of the Doctor. Although this story lacks the magic of something like `Curse of Peladon' it is still written convincingly and manages to sustain interest.

The most interesting aspect is the eponymous mirror. The crux of the whole plot revolves around no-one knowing exactly what the mirror can do; including the Doctor. Really it is only a `magic door' type artefact that is fairly common in science fiction and fantasy. However, Justin Richards does a good job of letting it dictate the plot and keeping it at the forefront of the action. The title is a little dubious though as Martha uses the mirror a lot less than many of the characters. It seems odd that her name should feature in the title.

There is a lack of subterfuge in the portrayal and development of General Orlo. He is far too obviously the villain (so obvious that you think that can't be the case). He is also very two dimensional and almost has a stock personality. Some of the other characters are quite endearing and sympathetic though. The Janna/Tylda situation is the best example of this and forms a quite emotional sub-plot. Gonfer, despite a bit of silliness with the name, is also a very sympathetic character. Bill and Bott, the two caretaker robots, provide a comical element and also the only sort of twist/revelation in the plot. It's a good technique to make the reader emphasise with the seemingly `less important' characters at the conference and make the resolution come through them as well as the Doctor.

This is a fairly entertaining story and fits in well with Martha's adventures in the Tardis. But it fails to stand out from the other DW novels of that era.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 4 November 2010
Another Doctor who novel, telling an all new story not seen on the tv screen.

Featuring the Tenth Doctor and his companion Martha, this runs for two hundred and forty four pages. It's suitable for readers of all ages. And the two lead characters are perfectly written with dialogue that you can imagine them saying were this a tv story.

The book sees the TARDIS arrive at a strange castle in space which is host to the signing of a peace treaty. But some of the delegates have their own agendas. A strange little girl lives in the castle and seems to know more than she's telling. And there's a mirror which guards a secret also.

Can the Doctor find out the truth about the place before peace is shattered?

This one hits the ground running, throwing the TARDIS crew into the middle of the situation. But then the pace gets a bit more sedate as there's a lot of information to be gotten over to the reader. As a result it moves along nicely but you're never quite sure where it's going for a lot of the time.

It's worth hanging on in there with though because there are a great many reveals in the last fifty pages, including one surprise I really didn't see coming, and the various plot strands do come to some satisfying conclusions.

Although the main villain of the piece never quite gets to do enough, so they remain a rather thin character.

A good novel and a very clever plot and worth sticking to the end of. But there are stronger books in this range.
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on 19 April 2013
Castle Extremis - whoever holds it can control the provinces either side that have been at war for centuries. Now the castle is about to play host to the signing of a peace treaty. But as the Doctor and Martha find out, not everyone wants the war to end.

Who is the strange little girl who haunts the castle? What is the secret of the book the Doctor finds, its pages made from thin, brittle glass? Who is the hooded figure that watches from the shadows? And what is the secret of the legendary Mortal Mirror?

The Doctor and Martha don't have long to find the answers - an army is on the march, and the castle will soon be under siege once more...

Featuring the Tenth Doctor and Martha as played by David Tennant and Freema Agyeman in the hit sci-fi series from BBC Television.
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on 30 November 2010
A step out of the usual style of these books - no scared villagers, no hidden monsters, just a neat mystery in a castle. The characters are all clear cut and likeable with some touching pieces (the epilogue especially bought a tear to my eye), and plenty of puns and comedy thrown in. The Doctor and Martha are both in fine form. The plot and battles are inventive and engaging, notably in the use of glass as being fragile and dangerous.
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