Top critical review
Not as engaging as it could have been
on 7 May 2013
Even though it was far longer before the Ice Warriors returned on television, it has been some time since they appeared in the Doctor Who books (their audio appearances have been much more frequent however). If anything, the Ice Warriors are a little under represented. For much of the story they are merely lumbering monsters; slowly and ineffectively chasing various protagonists and making for repetitive and tedious reading. There should have been a bit more variation between these scenes. By the latter stages of the book the Ice Warriors actually get some character through the introduction of an Ice Lord. In fact, the best scene of the novel is probably the interaction between Ixyldir and the Doctor. But by this time the Ice Warriors are overshadowed by a more serious threat to both the human community and themselves. Therefore when the Ice Warriors finally become interesting they are side-lined into the role they play in the final episode of `the Curse of Peladon'. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, it is just that this is the same ploy that has been used before and that I can't help wanting the Ice Warriors to be out-and-out bad guys after all this time.
The novel is a little stilted despite a relatively fast paced style of prose and dialogue. There feels like a lot of needless deviation and repetition. Not much actually happens and it is sometimes frustratingly tiresome waiting for the plot to move on. There is also an annoying ongoing joke between Amy and the Doctor concerning whether things should be described as either ...like, ...ish or ...esque. It is a little too silly and frequently breaks up moments of tension.
In essence, though, the novel contains many elements that have previously been successful in Doctor Who stories. The splitting of the Tardis crew is done convincingly, not forced, and allows the author to provide a great characterisation of Rory. All the Ice Warrior talk of honour, even though a little overplayed in this book, is still quite entertaining. The general idea of a colony creating its own confused version of its own history still works, although it isn't as imaginative as similar ideas in `The Face of Evil' or `The Doctor's Daughter'.
The regulars are pretty accurate to their TV personas and Ixyldir is a perfect Ice Lord (although personality wise he is a bit similar to Izlyr from `The Curse of Peladon'). The other characters all feel a little bit incidental however. Vesta has potential but soon does little more than tag along behind Rory.
Overall the story is reasonably entertaining but it lacks depth and originality.