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20 February 2014

Publisher: Race Point Publishing

Written By: Cameron K. McEwan

RRP: £18.99

Release Date: 9th January 2014

Reviewed by: Doctor Who Online

Review Posted: 20th February 2014

Now, it’s no secret that we’re good buddies with Blogtor Who owner, Cameron K. McEwan, and when we heard he was coming out with a Doctor Who book that would act as "a whovian guide to friends, foes, villains, monsters and companions", we were very excited indeed - especially considering his vast knowledge and love for the show.

Once you finally get over adoring the beautifully embossed ‘Doctor Who’ lettering on the cover, which also features The 10th, 11th and 12th Doctors (yes that is the correct numbering), you are presented with the simple, yet effective contents page that typifies this straight-up, no-nonsense guide which does exactly what it says on the proverbial tin.

The various sections within the book (The Doctors, The Companions, Friends & Allies, Robots, Time Lords & Ladies, Villains and Aliens & Monsters) are laid out beautifully and clearly in alphabetical order to easily find who you want.

As you thumb through pages and pages of character breakdowns, coupled with pictures and illustrations gloriously brought to life by Andrew Skilleter, you realise just how concise the book is. With over 50 years to draw from you will find information about characters you have long since forgotten (Rita from The God Complex), or even facts about the ones you thought you knew everything about.

The Who's Who Of Doctor Who is essential reading for anyone wanting to know anything from 'Ace' to 'The Zygons', and with over 300 entries to explore, you’ll be reaching for it time and time again.

 

+  The Who's Who Of Doctor Who is Out Now, priced £18.99.
+  Buy this book on Amazon.co.uk for just £15.77

+  Follow BlogtorWho on Twitter.
+  Follow DrWhoOnline on Twitter

28 September 2012

Publisher: I.B. Tauris

Written By: Graham Sleight

RRP: £12.99

Release Date: 30th August 2012

Reviewed by: Doctor Who Online

Review Posted: 28th September 2012

Although not an official release from the BBC, Graham Sleight's 'The Doctor's Monsters' deserves all the accolade and respect that the aforementioned corporation gets with their own titles.

The book serves as a dedicated guide to some of the monsters featured in Doctor Who, together with a glossary containing (as far as we could see) every monster ever to have appeared in the show.

It is clear from both the incredibly detailed and well-researched biographies, through to Sleight's narrative, that this is a book for fans by fans - and it is all the better for it.

Together with an introduction from Doctor Who Writer / Author; Paul Cornell, that sums up what to expect in the book perfectly, you can't help but feel just how tidy and concise 'The Doctor's Monsters' is.

Let's hope this is the beginning of what will hopefully grow to be a library of guides from Sleight and I.B. Tauris. Essential reading!

 

+  The Doctor's Monsters is available now via the I.B. Tauris, Who Watching website.

+  Follow Who Watching on Twitter.

27 January 2011

Manufacturer: BBC Children's Books

Written By: Justin Richards & Trevor Baxendale

RRP:  £6.99

Release Date: 3rd February 2011

Reviewed by: Rebecca Holbourn for Doctor Who Online

Review Posted: 27th January 2011

I found the idea of a two in one book rather exciting, but you instantly face this awful dilemma of which to read first due to the fact that both have fronts. So, naturally I turned the book over several times before choosing. I was excited to find out that Rory featured in both stories but disappointed he hadn’t made it on to the cover too.

I settled down to read Heart of Stone and was not disappointed as was instantly presented with a mysterious event to which there seemed no logical and immediate reason. How does a wall fall down as though hit by a lorry that doesn’t exist and why have all the rocks turned in to moonstone? Intrigued I read on, the characters capturing me and feeling very in tune with the show. The Doctor, in his Doctory way flounced around getting under everybody’s feet with Amy and Rory desperately trying to keep up. It is quite a light plot, although it does have its darker moments. There are several parts which make you laugh out loud and a few which have you on the edge of your seat. All the way through the twists and turns keep you constantly guessing and intrigued. Everything turning to stone really makes you wonder how can everything turn back? Although occasionally, it can have a slight lack of clarity and the occasional illogical moment, it is a book which keeps you captured and despairing that normality can ever return to the village, which is just what you look for in any good plot.

Thrilled with the first half I eagerly turned the book over and started reading Death Riders. Well, with a ride called “The Death Ride”, that is just asking for trouble. Why are some tunnels out of limits? And will the death ride actually lead to death? There is a lot of suspense built up in this book and you constantly long to know what is waiting round the corner. The funfair itself is enjoyable and Rory in particular jumps off the page whilst trying to win something. I found this half to have a more comedic Doctor and it is really easy to imagine all the scenes taking place. I always find it enjoyable to make the connections at a similar pace to The Doctor as it feels like I am being lead down the path at the correct pace. It had some really wonderful characters and even made you recoil at imaginary smells. Occasionally a bit more description was needed but aside from that it was a really simple plot to follow and I look forward to rereading it in the future.

Both books are very enjoyable and make you want to keep reading till the end in one sitting. I really enjoyed both endings and they felt very satisfying and cheering. They are both very close to character and feel very believable. They are definitely books I would recommend even though they feel aimed at a younger audience then normal. There is enough depth and mystery to all so that you aren't constantly reminded that you are older.

I enjoyed the layout of the books and it was with a pang of sadness that I couldn’t turn over and find another book waiting for me to read.  Very enjoyable and I look forward to reading more in the future, as both Authors are always top class and reliably so.

 

Reviewed by: Matthew Edge for Doctor Who Online

Review Posted: 27th January 2011

The only problem with this book is deciding which of the two stories to read first. The book is designed so there is no preference shown to either story. I recommend flipping it (carefully) and start with which ever is facing up, either way you won’t be disappointed.

Both stories are set after Series five and include Rory in the TARDIS crew. Both stories capture the characters of the main cast well and the dialogue fits so well I can hear the voices in my head. They don’t have a crowded TARDIS problem; both Amy and Rory have important moments in both stories. It is Rory that jumps out at me in this he has some very nice moments which fit him perfectly.

Heart of Stone is an unearthly mystery story set on a farm in England. Moon rocks are scattered around after a ‘not a lorry’ hits a wall but that is just a minor inconvenience, the bigger problem is about to walk in. The setting ties in well with Season Five, being set on a farm out yonder far from any place of interest. The characters are well built and rounded and they all add to the story with no added padding. The monster is well thought-out and is a big threat to all the characters. The short chapters help the story flow along at a fast pace. The Science is just there to move the plot along, which is all it needs to be.

All the fun of the Fair and so much more. Death Riders has its fair share of funny, strange, puzzling and musical moments all fitting together to give an enjoyable yarn. A story of dangerous tunnels, smelly old ‘men’, a funfair in an asteroid and an aptly named ride. This is a well plotted story leading up to an unpredictable climax. The only disappointment being that The Doctor doesn’t dust off his recorder.

The book is seemingly aimed at any fan of the TV show, it has something for everybody; Monsters, Aliens, Jokes and for the older fan, many references to the classic series (how many references to The Chase can you spot). It is a book that hits the heart of Doctor Who and doesn’t let you down. But putting it down and not reading it in one sitting was hard. The end of each chapter was a cliffhanger drawing you into the next page.

Overall it is a strong book and highly recommended.

 

Reviewed by: David J. Bascombe for Doctor Who Online

Review Posted: 27th January 2011

Death Riders starts, as many of my favourite Doctor Who stories do, in an underground cave system. The first chapter providing what would essentially be the pre-credits sequence if this was to be adapted for an episode of the current television incarnation of the series.  That being said, whilst The Doctor, Amy and Rory are all very much of the 21st century, elements of the story, particularly the monster of the piece, and the mystery surrounding the cave system, reminded me of the 80s era of the television show. 

Once the mystery of the cave system and the mysterious deaths is revealed the story turns into a high risk adventure and a race against time. One of the benefits of Doctor Who in print form is that it is able to do things the TV series can’t do due to budget or safety limitations. I doubt that the Death Ride scene could be realised on screen as I imagined it without taking a large amount of the budget.

Whilst Death Riders is an enjoyable read that captures the characters we know well, Heart of Stone feels like it’s influenced by the show, rather than an actual part of the on-going story of the three characters.  Whilst the names are the same the characters don’t actually feel like the Doctor, Amy and Rory that I know.

In terms of the story I felt Heart of Stone to be less enjoyable than Death Riders. I found it rather difficult to care about the characters and after a while, the mystery surrounding the Rock Man.

Reading the book I was conscious of the target age range being 8-11. A good book can be enjoyed by all and the reader shouldn’t notice the author writing for a specific age range. Whilst this seemed true of Death Riders I felt that Heart of Stone was written for the younger end of the target audience.

The book is worth buying for Death Riders, as you’ll also have Heart of Stone as well, you might as well read it. You might like it after all. 

 

Reviewed by: Richard Orr for Doctor Who Online

Review Posted: 30th January 2011

Death Riders

The Doctor, Amy and Rory arrive on the planet of Stanalan and walk straight into a Galactic Fair. Underneath the fun facade evil lurks in the shadows and when people start dying in mysterious circumstances the Doctor has a new mystery to solve.

Death Riders is a new story by long time Doctor Who novel writer Justin Richards and transports our heroes onto the planet as its residents await the completion of the adrenaline fuelled Death Ride.

However dark forces are at work and all is not as it may seem when Amy takes pity on a man and his furry friend.  Before long the whole universe is in danger as a long buried secret waits to be released.

The story itself starts off slow and calm, much like the Death Ride, and then begins to pick up pace as it hurtles with breakneck speed to a fantastic conclusion.

The characters are well written and the story feels epic in scale owing to the amount of people the Doctor, Amy and Rory come into contact over the course of the book as well as the sheer length of time it takes for the Death Ride to reach from one side of the planet to the other.  This is a fantastic story that will grip the reader from beginning to end.

Heart of Stone

A quiet farm in the middle of nowhere. Sounds normal doesn’t it? Well all is not as it seems especially when night falls and stone comes to life.

Heart of Stone is the latest story from Doctor Who novelist Trevor Baxendale and drops the Doctor, Amy and Rory into what looks like a normal quiet farm. Upon arrival it becomes obvious that all is not what it seems especially when pieces of moon rock are found among the rubble of a destroyed wall.

So begins a story of death and destruction which takes the reader to the moon and back. The writer gets the characters of the Doctor, Amy and Rory spot on and the supporting cast are equally well written, so much so that you really feel for them during some rather traumatic events throughout this half of the book and like Death Riders before it feels like an old school Doctor Who television story.

In contrast to Death Riders this story feels a lot smaller in scale with only 7 main characters in play during the course of the adventure. Not that this is a bad thing.

My one problem with the story was that the writer felt the need to introduce the Doctor, Amy, Rory and the TARDIS like we didn’t already know who or what they are but as it takes up so little time in the book itself and the story is so good I shall forgive this.

Reviewed by: Emma Dudley for Doctor Who Online

Review Posted: 30th January 2011

The new style of Doctor Who books (2 in 1) is an ingenious idea, as the Doctor would say - especially as when you finish one book and you're left craving just a little bit more, you can just turn it over and there's another book! The covers themselves are wonderful illustrations of the monsters contained within each of the books. Flipping over from to the other is a great advantage and each title attracts you to look inside. However there is one slight problem in choosing which book to read first! Do I go for the Death Riders with the luring line of "It's not all fun at the Galactic Fair," or Heart of Stone and its "A single touch could turn you to stone forever," which sounds quite frankly, terrifying.

I made the tough decision of reading Death Riders by Justin Richards first. The initial chapter pulls you in just like a rollercoaster, (awful pun there, I apologise) and you are left wondering what has happened. Richard's has written the three characters perfectly, particularly the Doctor's randomness that he has and his urges to lick rocks. As well as Amy's persistence, the Doctor is always late. The talk of 'off limits' rings alarm bells and the Doctor does his usual raggedy investigating. Three new characters come to light in this adventure: Perpetual Pete, Gravo the musician and his "animal" Drexxon. 

There are many twists in the story and life for the humans within the meteorite they call home has its own danger they are unaware of. A hidden history threatens to bring home to both the Doctor, Amy, Rory and the human community. You'll have to read the nail biting conclusion yourself to find out about Drexxon and if the Doctor and his friends do indeed save the day. 

Heart of Stone by Trevor Baxendale is the next Doctor Who adventure, literally a page away. A mysterious beginning yanks you into the pages - is it a meteorite? An aeroplane? An alien? You'll soon find out. The TARDIS landing in a pigsty is amusing and our three regulars reveal themselves to two new ones, a farmer and his daughter and not forgetting Percy the pregnant pig. The Doctor jumps right into the heart of the matter and just as night falls a creature returns to wreck havoc. A farmhouse is destroyed and lovers separated. The moon involves itself and Rory even gets a trip there; one small step for Rory etc. 

The fast paced adventure goes on and you wonder how the Doctor and his friends will save the Earth. In the only way he knows how, the Doctor confuses everyone with his technobabble. A jaunt to a laboratory shows hidden a secret of an experiment gone wrong. The farmer becomes one of the enemy and the technobabble becomes out of control. You will have to read on yourself to see how Heart of Stone ends. 

Both books are fantatatic reads and being able to read 2 in 1 is just a great advantage. They read just like an episode would and the characters are described wonderfully. The separate adventures with their own twists and turns. I can't wait to get my hands on more adventures. 

11 April 2010

Manufacturer: BBC Books

Written By: Trevor Baxendale

RRP: £6.99

Release Date: 2nd April 2009

Reviewed by: James Sykes

Review Posted: 11th April 2010

It could be said that the New Series BBC novels have the tendency to be simpler, less engaging and frankly less enjoyable than the old ones. There are a few exceptions, however, and Prisoner of the Daleks is one of them. 

Trevor Baxendale, one of the strongest writers for Doctor Who novels, brilliantly captures the Doctor's character. You can always imagine Tennant saying the dialogue. He also turns one of the staple ingredients for these companion-less-stories on its head, in that the Doctor meets a would-be companion right away, but she is then promptly killed off, leaving him friendless with a group of bounty hunters. The other characters occasionally come off as be ing a little generic, but Baxendale does try to flesh them out a bit, making it vaguely shocking when they are gradually exterminated, although Cutting Edge resembles Cole Train, from the Gears of War Xbox game. 

The Daleks are also well written, and the different font for their dialogue is a nice touch. While Baxendale re-uses a lot of New Series stuff with the Daleks, he also manages to give the story a new spin, and it's a shame that this wasn't used as a TV story, rather than Daleks in Manhattan / Evolution of the Daleks, for example. 

Told at a relentless pace, with the ever crowd-pleasing Daleks, this is certainly one of the strongest, if not the best, of the New Series novels.

 

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