Thursday, February 18, 2016

Doctor Who, The Glamour Chronicles Book 2 - Big Bang Generation

To date, I have really enjoyed the Doctor Who books, probably because I have been selective in which ones I have purchased.  The first ones I ever purchased were because they had Donna Noble as a companion.  Then, when Rory came along, I purchased the books which featured him as a companion (along with Amy, since they came as a packaged deal).

When Amy and Rory left, I didn't purchase any more for two reasons - I did not like the new companion, Clara Oswald, and although I somewhat enjoyed Matt Smith's version of the Doctor, it wasn't enough of a draw to purchase the books.

Then came Peter Capaldi.  He brought a new take entirely on the Doctor, combining elements from many of the past eleven incarnations, plus adding his own style to it.  I love his version enough to purchase the books with him, regardless of my dislike of Clara.  So, no one was more surprised than me, when I get to the first Peter Capaldi book without Clara to find that I did not really enjoy it as I have all of the others I've read to date.

That's not to say that Big Bang Generation did not have its good points. The biggest highlight was the simple mention of Sarah Jane Smith and her adopted son, Luke (from The Sarah Jane Adventures) on page 25. Ever since Elisabeth Sladen's passing and the fact that her death has never been addressed on the television show, any mention of Sarah Jane is always a plus in my book!  Another highlight was the inclusion of Bernice Summerfield - a character that was never actually in the television show, but became so popular as a companion to the seventh and eighth doctors, that she got her own series of books, as well as some audio dramas (from which some of the characters in this book were pulled).  It was rather nice to see the author pull in characters from all aspects of the Doctor's history.

What I did not like about the book was pretty much the story itself. An archaeologist is after the Glamour.  An assassin and a conman are after the Glamour.  A professor and her group of misfits are after the Glamour.  And the Doctor just wants to put the Glamour back where it belongs before the very fabric of time -- and existence itself -- is destroyed.  Perhaps it was the author's storytelling style (which, having read books by him before, I can't imagine that's it), or the large number of characters in the story (including non-main characters and non-supporting characters who only appear in one chapter, or in some cases, only on one page) that ultimately led to very little time being devoted to some of the bigger cast members (such as Summerfield and her son, both of whom I would have liked to have learned more about in the book).  And while most of the other books I have read have felt very much like reading an episode of the television show, I never got the feeling I was 'watching' an episode while reading this one.

Maybe, despite the time traveling aspects of this tale (and believe me, there were a LOT of time traveling aspects about it!), it just did not read like a Doctor Who tale.  Now that I think about it, that might be it.  Without a companion at his side, the Doctor sort of meanders.  Like David Tenant in his last few specials, where he wandered to each time and place on his own, no companion to play off of.  And while Bernice Summerfield may have been a companion of the past, she in no way acted like a companion in this story.  Rather, she and her crew more acted like the leads in the book, with the Doctor just being on the peripheral, simply showing up at the appropriate times to save the day.

Ultimately, this is not a Doctor Who book I would recommend to a casual Doctor Who fan. Personally, I think it is for only those truly die hard fans that love anything and everything Doctor Who.

RATING: 6 time-jumping pyramids out of 10 for keeping the memory of Sarah Jane Smith alive!

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