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Blink and you'll miss it...?
on 4 April 2012
Now, Quick Read titles are not designed to be substantial, multi-layered texts. They're meant as straight-forward narratives designed to satisfy reluctant readers and those with insufficient time to engage with longer and more involved stories. On that front this story works: in the terms of content and structure it runs like a one-off television episode (and a fairly straight-forward one at that: the narrative is linear and without many of the timey-wimey twists and turns the producers of modern Who appear to be fond of, of late). This is also the story's downfall: it is a very straight-forward run-of-the-mill affair.
The trouble with many Doctor Who stories is the re-use of existing adversaries. The Weeping Angels in their first outing were innovative and genuinely chilling. By their second story they were on the road to becoming generic monsters, good for a scare and with enough hints of threat and tidbits of previously unmentioned menace to make the revisit worthwhile. In this book the Angels are bound to their existing television continuity but nothing new can be said about them, probably because innovation is limited - by necessity and the needs of the production office - to the television show and not a tie-in book. Consequently, the story feels stilted: it needs a little extra but none can be had and so it feels like a rehash of what's gone before - which is pretty much what it is.
Certainly, the TV regulars are characterised well and their dialogue shines (full marks there) - however, there is a plot-hole through which a whole army of Angels could be marched and that's how on Earth the Angel in this story was controlled in the first place. There is a suggestion as to how it was achieved but it didn't particularly feel convincing.
Generally, children will probably find this story thoroughly satisfying as it does deliver on pace, thrills and spills (provided you don't look beyond the fact it's a retread on previous stories). However, surely something a little less flimsy and more substantial could have been possible?