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Thursday, 25 August 2011

Touched by an Angel Doctor Who Magazine Review

A few months ago, Doctor Who Magazine did a few reviews on the three new Doctor Who books. Now they're back and with a much more in depth review...

Hello. Doctor Who Magazine have done it again and have reviewed the three newest Doctor Who books, Paradox Lost, Borrowed Time and Touched by an Angel. Over the next three days, I will post one of the reviews for you to read if you're not too sure on getting the books for yourself. The first one, the review written by Michael Cregan, is of Touched by an Angel. So, let's begin:

A while ago, Doctor Who stories which dealt with the nature of time travel and its implications were about as rare as Bandril's teeth. This month all three of the new books from the BBC are concerned with timey-wimeyness in one form or another. In Touched by an Angel, Mark Whittaker finds himself 17 years back in the past, and realises that he might have been given the perfect chance to save his wife from a tragic death. Of course, with the Weeping Angels behind the whole thing, it's not going to be that easy...
Jonathan Morris is an old hand at this kind of story and knows that Doctor Who is often at its best when its roots are showing. A lot of the emotional heart of this novel will resonate with anyone who has read David Mitchell's One Day with its cataloguing of significant moments in a relationship. However, this is Doctor Who, and instead of just reading about Mark's on-off love life with Rebecca, we get to see him live through it all again as an outsider. It's a very tempting idea, which of us wouldn't want to try and change something from our past?
Sending Mark back 17 years into his personal history gives Morris a chance to play up the nostalgia factor, and the book is full of reference to pop music, television and the differences between life now and that of the mid 90s. There are some nice observations from Mark's point of view about the absence of of iPods, all the trappings of modern life, but an awful lot of the period details seem to be rather forced. One scene with Mark and his mother, where he attempts to save his father from an early death, says more about what Mark is going through that any reference to what was on the radio.
This book sees the return of the Weeping Angels; indeed with a title like that, you'd be a bit cheesed off if it didn't. They're not the most obvious enemy to use in prose - they don't speak, and without their striking visual presence, Morris has to rely on the human characters to make the Angels seem properly threatening. This lot of Angels have got a particularly cunning bunch of stunts up their stone sleeves, and our heroes are certainly kept on their toes working out what exactly the Angels are up to. The Doctor is very well written here, and he's most definitely at the centre of the story. Amy and Rory don't have an awful lot to do, although there's more of Rory than you might expect.
This is the kind of story you can easily imagine in the TV series; it leaps from one big event to another, and has the kind of plot that may well have you thumbing back a few pages to make sure you're following properly. There's a reliance on a 'Tempus ex Machina' resolution to see off the Angels, but that's backed up by signs of a new life for Mark and a nice reminder that we shouldn't get fixated on our past.

Touched by an Angel is written by Jonathan Morris; features the Eleventh Doctor, Amy Pond and Rory Pond and you can buy it for £6.99. Once again, thanks to Doctor Who Magazine for publishing the review and thanks to Michael Cregan for reviewing it.

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