Sunday 29 September 2013

Book review: Doctor Who--The Silent Stars Go By

I've been enjoying reading Miss Melvis's book reviews at Me, Bookshelf, and I for some time now so I thought I'd try my hand at my own review as I've always got a book on the go.  With the Kindle, it's actually more like ten on the go at any one time, but crucially, no one can see!

I grew up on Doctor Who in an age before TV series were repeated ad nauseum or easily obtainable on DVD/Blu-ray. So, in the dark half of the year when I couldn’t get my weekly fix of Who, I made to with the Target novelisation of each serial.. Luckily our school librarian was very understanding and made sure to buy every single one.  After Who limped off our screens with the truly dreadful "Survival", I started buying the BBC Past Doctor books and following the TV movie, the 8th Doctor books. These newer offerings had much more complex storylines, excellent characterisation and did a wonderful job of keeping the series alive for fans.

I should probably stop reminiscing and talk about the book in hand, huh?

The Silent Stars Go By has a Christmas special feel to it, but in a good way.  This is mainly due to The Doctor initially trying to get Amy and Rory home for Christmas, but also because the TARDIS materialises on a Winter world.  The ice planet or Winter world is a familiar trope to sci-fi readers/viewers (hello, Hoth!) and personally, I adore it. You can always have so much fun with it.

The settlers of this inhospitable winter world are the Morphans, who have struggled to build lives for themselves on this new Earth and indeed, to build the Earth itself. They are terraformers. Life has been hard for them, but lately it has been even harder as they seem to be in the grip of an ice age.  Winters have been getting colder instead of warmer and now animals and people are disappearing.  When The Doctor and his companions arrive they are treated with a great deal of fear and suspicion.

Abnett has a great sense of comedic timing and several times when reading The Silent Stars, I found myself bursting out into gales of laughter.  His characterisations of The Doctor, Amy and Rory are spot on with nice strong character voices.  I've read some reviews that criticise the book for having Amy and Rory relegated to the periphery of the book; I very much disagree with this.  We follow Amy and Rory separately on several occasions and my belief is that this is a Doctor Who book, rather than an Amy and Rory book, so it’s balanced just right.

The Silent Stars came out before the Ice Warriors returned to our TV screens in “Cold War” this year.  Therefore, these are still the old Ice Warriors with slow, cold menace (and LEGO-esque hands) but the details added about their society and culture made for compelling reading.  My only complaint is that the final act of the book feels rather rushed, everything seems to be resolved at breakneck speed, but on the whole I found it a fun read with a slightly more complex storyline than the regular line of New Who novels.

If you're a Whovian, I'd thoroughly recommend this!

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  1. If I'm a wannabe Whovian where would you suggest I start?? I love the review though, more please!!
    M x

  2. I'm a Whovian! My husband grew up on Doctor Who - specifically the 4th doctor. When I met him, I had never seen any of it so he made me watch the old ones first. Now I'm a huge fan. It's been interesting to see it catch on like it has in the US. We used to be able to wear our Tardis shirts and no one had a clue. Now we get stopped on the streets.
    Book looks great!

    1. I love your TARDIS shed, Tamara! We talked about doing one a while ago, but as with everything else garden-connected, we forgot all about it. I love how much Doctor Who has taken off in America, after years of blank looks whenever I mentioned Who :)


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