AVERAGE REVIEW SCORE:
3.5 out of 5
Doctor Who: Night Of The Humans
An original adventure starring the Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) and his companion Amy Pond. The Doctor and Amy respond to a mysterious distress call and find themselves on the Gyre, a vast interplanetary scrapheap where they encounter a group of aliens planning to detonate a bomb, the rogueish Dirk Slipstream and a civilisation of primitive humans whose culture has been warped over millennia as castaways.
Here we see the Doctor and Amy very early in their adventures together and, truth be told, that's not necessarily a good thing, meaning that there's not yet much depth to their relationship. On top of that, Llewellyn rather hamfistedly tries to cram in page-long scenes of bantering between the two characters and, like Peter Capaldi's Twelfth Doctor, I'm totally against banter.
However, setting aside the Doctor/Amy dynamic, the author does a pretty good job of writing an entertaining Who story. His descriptions of the Gyre are evocative and his development of the humans there is inspired, with their myths and legends wrapped around old Westerns which survived the crash of their spaceship millennia before. I particularly liked the way their version of the Devil, the Bad, was clearly derived from Lee Van Cleef's iconic performance in Sergio Leone's seminal spaghetti Western.
Overall, a perfectly enjoyable read but nothing mindblowing.
3 out of 5
Doctor Who: The Taking Of Chelsea 426
This original adventure, set between Series 4 and Series 5, stars David Tennant's Tenth Doctor. Chelsea 426 is a human colony floating in the atmosphere of Saturn where mysterious spores have developed into huge flowering plants. The Doctor arrives as the colony prepares for the flowers to go on public display, but matters become more serious when Chelsea 426 becomes the latest battleground in the unending war between the Sontarans and the Rutans.
The core story of this book isn't really anything new, with humanity being caught between two warring races, but that's not entirely a bad thing. What it gives us is as story that does feel somewhat derivative but nevertheless feels entirely at home among the Doctor's adventures. And there are some new elements which contribute hugely to the enjoyability of this book. Primary among these is the way that Llewellyn teams the Doctor up with a couple of teenagers, meaning we get a more youthful perspective on events and the Doctor gets to indulge his childlike side.
Both the Rutans and the Sontarans are done justice here too, with each alien race feeling genuinely threatening, albeit in different ways. However, where the author excels is in his portrayal of Tennant's Doctor, perfectly capturing the puppylike enthusiasm and terrible wrath that make up the dichotomy of the Tenth's persona.
4 out of 5