Top critical review
They had decided…to subdue anyone that stood taller than them
on 3 May 2016
For some reason this book feels as if it is re-counting Amy’s first adventure in the Tardis, as if it is intended to come directly after ‘The Eleventh Hour’. This doesn’t seem to fit with the events of ‘The Beast Below’ and it might just be the case that being one of the first batch of Eleventh Doctor novels it was written before the first Eleventh Doctor series was aired. It might also explain why the characterisation of Amy is way off, rarely feeling like her onscreen counterpart. The characterisation of the Eleventh Doctor isn’t particularly good either.
Both in theme and tone, the novel also feels like it is aimed at a younger audience than usual for the current series of BBC Doctor Who books. Virtually every aspect of the story is fairly immature. There are several characters that are mainly stereotypical caricatures and it seems like quite a superficial, naïve reflection of American culture. The humour is definitely aimed at quite young readers, being hinged on the kind that involves a policeman being stripped to his underpants ad then dressed as a pink fairy by the aliens he is facing. It is usually too silly to be entertaining.
The Vykoids are essentially ‘joke’ monsters that are played for laughs. They are treated and portrayed as frivolous and silly throughout the novel. As they are never really taken seriously by either the author or his characters they never feel like a credible threat. However, this does, match the tone of the novel whose humour is generally just too childish and, eventually, irritating.
Having events are set in New York easily allows for the inclusion of Trinity Wells, who virtually became a stalwart of the Russell T. Davies era. She is used a little more here but her inclusion involves nothing more than what we’re used to seeing her do. Her inclusion is noteworthy in that it reveals that this story reflects a transitionary period, this book probably being written between the tenures of the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors. It is also nice to see her appear in a Doctor Who novel.