The Doctors Are In by Graeme Burk and Robert Smith?

No, that’s not a typo in the title bar. One of the authors has added a question mark, legally, to his last name. Also, I love this cover. (If you want to get technical, one is missing, but I love it anyway.)

TRUE FACT: The ONLY Doctor of the modern era I have looked forward to “meeting” is Peter Capaldi. My reaction to the reboot in 2005 was: “A Doctor in a black leather jacket? NEVER. GOING. TO. WORK.” And then I loved Eccleston’s Dotor, so much that when he regenerated, I said, “New guy? I’ll hate him.” LOVE David Tennant. May be my favorite Doctor. Loved him so much that when HE regenerated, I said, “Who could ever follow him?” Enter Matt Smith, whose introduction was all but perfect. How is it that for over 50 years and 13 incarnations, each subsequent actor is able to both take on the mantle of this character AND make it his own?

The Doctors Are In Front Cover (ECW)

The Doctors Are In Front Cover (ECW Press)

THE COVERAGE: The book begins with an introduction to the show, the authors, and the format of the book. Each of the 13 Doctors gets a chapter, and each is divided into the following sections:

  • That Doctor’s first and last stories
  • The Changing Face of Doctor Who (about the switch to the new Doctor)
  • Who Is [the actor playing the Doctor in this incarnation]
  • Top Companion
  • Classic Foe
  • Who Is the Doctor? (specifics about how this Doctor is played, his characteristics, and motivations)
  • Three Great Moments
  • Two Embarrassing Moments
  • A critique of each Doctor, specially named to suit each Doctor, by one of the authors
  • Second Opinion: the other author’s take
  • Index files: the five stories the authors believe are “most essential” to that Doctor

Sometimes the authors agree with each other. Sometimes they disagree. Sometimes they call each other crazy, and then vehemently defend their position on why they are right and the other is wrong.

MY TWO CENTS: This is a pretty decent roundup of all the Doctors. If you’re unfamiliar with the earlier Doctors, you can get a snapshot of their eras. I especially enjoyed the background on each actor, and the general climate of the BBC during each tenure, and how that affected production.

Readers may take exception to the “bashing” of favorite Doctors or episodes. For example, one author despises David Tennant but adores Matt Smith. The other loves Tennant, but points out Matt Smiths’ bad moments. It’s definitely an eye-opener to different points of view.

I was just relieved that both authors felt the episode “Midnight” was worthy of mention. I probably would have stopped reading if they hadn’t.

NOTE: The authors state upfront that the book will only cover the TV series, and not other media like books, comics, or the Big Finish audio dramas. For example, although the Eighth Doctor has had a very healthy tenure in other media, the only appearances covered in this book are the TV movie and the Night of the Doctor.

BOTTOM LINE: I’m interested in checking out the authors’ other Doctor Who books, such as Who’s 50? If you’re open to hearing criticism about your favorite Doctors and episodes, and even mentally debating with the authors, give this a read.

TEACUP RATING: I give the book 3½ out of 5 teacups.

ON SALE DATE: The Doctors Are In will be on sale in paperback and ebook formats on September 1, 2015.

Note: Review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Doctor Who: Silhouette by Justin Richards

I was so excited to read one of the new Twelfth Doctor books! I chose one by Justin Richards because I had read a few of his Eighth Doctor books, such as The Burning, and really enjoyed it. Plus, this one features the Paternoster Gang, and Strax is always great fun.

Doctor Who: Silhouette Front Cover (Random House Publishing)

Doctor Who: Silhouette Front Cover (Broadway Books/Random House)

THE PLOT: A creepy carnival in Victorian England is the setting. A man is strangely murdered after beginning a letter to Vastra. A friend of Strax is also murdered, drained to a husk. At first, the two don’t seem connected, but of course they are. The Doctor and Clara show up to help unravel the mystery. The Doctor is enthralled by a strange shadow puppet show performed by a lady called Silhouette. A weird man hanging around the carnival also seems somewhat anachronistic, knowing things he shouldn’t for this time period. As they investigate, Clara, Jenny, and Vastra each meet people who seem especially sympathetic to them personally, but are these people really friends or foes?

MY TWO CENTS: This was the first Twelfth Doctor book I read, and I felt that the author captured him very well. Newer fans could pick up this book and clearly know they weren’t reading about Nine, Ten, or Eleven. This book also seems to distribute well among Clara, Jenny, and Strax, so it’s not all “The Clara Show” as I felt the show sometimes became at the end of Twelve’s inaugural season. I did feel that Vastra didn’t have as much of a presence, but she was strong in the finale.

I loved the idea of the paper origami birds that come to life. This is the kind of effect that works well in the a book, as the effect on film probably wouldn’t be as cool as what the imagination can conjure. The villain was the perfect kind of foe for the Doctor; totally selfish and destructive, and using innocent people to do the dirty work.

Note that this is a pretty short book, clocking in at 258 pages. I read an ebook ARC and it definitely moved along swiftly.

BOTTOM LINE: If you’re missing Twelve and companions, and the Christmas special and next season seem too far away, check out this book. You’ll be entertained, although only for a short while. (But probably still for longer than the run time of an episode!)

TEACUP RATING: Four out of five teacups.

ON SALE DATE: The book is available now in trade paperback and eformats.

Note: Review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher via Blogging for Books and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Doctor Who: The Bog Warrior (Time Trips Series) by Cecelia Ahern

I’m always up for a Tenth Doctor story, so requesting this ARC was a no-brainer.

The Bog Warrior ebook cover (Random House UK/Ebury Publishing)

The Bog Warrior ebook cover (Random House UK/Ebury Publishing)

PLOT: This is a version of Cinderella, with all the details you expect to find in a Cinderella story, but a bit more menacing all around. And with zombies. And the Tenth Doctor.

MY TWO CENTS:  It’s a short story, so (duh) it’s really short. This is set at a time when the Tenth Doctor is companionless, so he’s on his own when he stumbles into the plot. This allows him to quickly (but lightly) bond with the protagonists. He certainly acts like the Tenth Doctor,  which helps the reader believe in the story. On the other hand, you just don’t get much time to bond with the other characters, and yet that seems okay.

BOTTOM LINE: A cute little story, but not super-special. The Cinderella connection is amusing, but it’s all just a pleasant diversion. If you’re missing Ten and want a little bit of a story, then go for it. If you’re looking for more character development, this won’t fulfill you.

TEACUP RATING: I give it around three out of five teacups. I’m not sure I’d want to reread it, but it doesn’t stop me from looking into other Time Trips stories.

ON SALE DATE: The Ebook version of The Bog Warrior and other individual Time Trips short stories are available now; the entire Time Trips Collection will be published in hardcover on March 3, 2015.

Note: Review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Doctor Who: Tales of Trenzalore (Anthology)

I, for one, was not very happy with the last Matt Smith episode of Doctor Who. The Doctor stayed on Trenzalore for NINE HUNDRED YEARS??? Okay, I get that it was partially because the TARDIS was stuck (thanks, Clara), but nine hundred years is almost the Doctor’s entire lifespan up to that point, spanning twelve different incarnations. So when we get acquainted with Peter Capaldi’s Doctor, the Doctor will be about 2,100 years old? And about 43 percent of his ENTIRE life will have been spent on Trenzalore! Think of all the adventures all the Doctors have had, and then imagine them ALL taking place on one planet. What the heck went on there for nine hundred years???

Anyway, I was interested in this book because I thought it might fill in some of those gaps.

Tales of Trenzalore Cover

Tales of Trenzalore Cover (BBC Books)

THE PLOT: There are four short stories written by four different authors: Justin Richards, George Mann, Paul Finch, and Mark Morris. They take place at different times during the Doctor’s tenure on Trenzalore, and each features different citizens of Christmas and a different type of monster. We get to see Ice Warriors, the Mara, Autons, and Krynoid. A couple of the stories take place when the 11th Doctor has already aged, so…past the 700-year mark? You do not see Time Lords, Clara, or the TARDIS. (There is mention of the crack in the wall.)

MY TWO CENTS: I was familiar with two of the authors from reading other Doctor Who books, but unfamiliar with the other two authors. It was an unfamiliar author’s story I liked the least. I think the stories were most successful when they showed the Doctor in action doing something, rather than told the reader what was happening. When the Doctor had someone to talk to, you got the flavor of the Doctor much more than when the narration told you what he was doing. I think the story I liked least had far too much “telling” and not enough “showing.” However, I do think all four stories portrayed the 11th Doctor authentically.

BOTTOM LINE: I didn’t walk away from this book feeling that the gaps were filled, or even partially filled. I would say it was because it was only four stories, but the thing is, how many stories can you tell of the Doctor guarding one planet, one town, from various monsters? Without the TARDIS? without a “permanent” companion? It was an interesting read, and not painful, but not fulfilling. It didn’t give me that “Oh, so that episode WAS okay after all!” feeling I was hoping for. Maybe my perceptions of the episode made me expect too much from this book.

TEACUP RATING: I do give it three out of five teacups, because the stories were well-written and captured the spirit of the 11th Doctor. But I didn’t love it, and really recommend it only for die-hard Doctor Who fans (more specifically, die-hard 11th Doctor fans).

ON SALE DATE: E-book version is already available; paperback will release on July 3, 2014.

Note: Review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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