The sky was a shimmering green. Three suns shone through the haze, their heat prickling her skin. The muddy ground was the colour of olives and sloped up sharply, while beyond it a range of pale mountains, perfect pyramids, stood like pitched tents on the far horizon.
It wasn’t Earth. She was, officially, somewhere else.
It’s taken me quite a long time to review this one, hence the relative lateness of it. It took me a fair while to read it as well – things got in the way, and, I suppose, I wasn’t all that into it.
And I’m not entirely sure why. It was a good book, it was well written – great characters, great premise, great plot – but it just… wasn’t particularly gripping? With the other books that were released alongside it (The Clockwise Man, and Winner Takes All), they really did, to use a cliche, have me ‘glued to the page’.
I’m not really sure why this is exactly – maybe it was the way certain things were handled? I’m not sure. A complaint I did have, I suppose, is that the Slitheen weren’t handled fantastically – they were given a bit more background, but nothing was really added to them or developed about them. I mean, obviously you can’t give them laser eyes or something, but you could, say, address certain themes about them in different lights, perhaps. Not sure.
There is a lot to like in this book. The setting – a futuristic prison – leads to some great characters, and some great ideas being presented. The Doctor ends up in a prison think tank, working on new forms of space travel – at one point, the book sort of seems to be saying something about the function of prisoners in society… but it probably wasn’t, and I was maybe reading too far into it. Which could be alright really – that’s hardly the function of the book, it’s meant to be a diverting way to spend a few hours.
And provide that it does. One thing I remember is a particularly funny sequence where the Doctor is trying to give Rose a coded message, and does so via Coronation Street references! It was a nice moment, which I can really imagine showing up on TV.
So… good book, not the best. Probably comes into third place of this set of three. It’s nice though. Recommended, but not… not strongly recommended.