Monday, 15 July 2013

Review: Beautiful Chaos by Gary Russell

Well. Who would have thought that I would end up reviewing a Doctor Who novel on here? Although I've been a fan of the series since about the time when Colin Baker was happily regenerating into Sylvester McCoy (easy one of my favourite doctors,) I can't say that my interest in the series ever moved on to reading the books. Anyway, earlier this year when BBC Books released the 50th anniversary editions of eleven books, re-releasing one of the best books featuring each doctor, I just couldn't resist picking up some of them (I haven't quite got a complete collection,) and giving them a go.

And wouldn't you know it, the first book I review features the tenth doctor?

You know, as a female in her thirties, I'm almost reluctant to admit I like the tenth doctor. Of course, Tennant is a brilliant actor and put his heart and soul into being The Doctor and there was also some very brilliant scriptwriting and each of his three companions during the run were superbly cast. But that said, there's something about being my age, a Doctor Who fan and saying that you think David Tennant did a good job that brings up entirely the wrong impression--that of being the love-sick fangirl who only likes the show for the actor that has been cast as the lead. And in my case, that notion simply isn't true. (And for the record, of the 'modern' doctors, my favourite is the ninth doctor anyway. Eccleston is an equally talented and diverse actor, but played a slightly more morose doctor.) But this last paragraph has just avoided one point that is vital to this review. I'm reviewing a book featuring the same characters, not an episode of the television show.

Beautiful Chaos was originally published in 2008 and features the tenth doctor and Donna, shortly before Donna's adventure where she saves all of humanity and the Doctor erases her memory. In this adventure, the Doctor and Donna visit earth as Wilf has discovered a star and a party is to be held in his honour. It's not hard to guess what happens next--all pretty standard Doctor Who fare, the star isn't a star, someone is trying to control various humans and take over earth and you know who has to find a way to save everyone. But that's cool--it's basically a young adult novel and back story featuring the Noble family and the introduction of Wilf's elderly girlfriend who is suffering Altzimers makes it all worth the while. The themes of memory and memory loss are entirely appropriate, given what lies in Donna's future and the topic is sensitively handled. On the whole, this one was a very enjoyable distraction.