Doctor Who: The Forgotten Army
(Okay, this book is actually my cousin’s. He’s not a big reader though, so I benefited from his not reading it and his Who fanaticism this time. This was a good book.) A note that I am comparing this book to the TV series, not to similar sci-fi books. I really don’t read a lot of this kids-oriented sci-fi, so I’d have nothing to compare it to.
Doctor Who: The Forgotten Army, by Brian Minchin, is a book made from a TV series. Serious book-readers may be prepared to dismiss a TV book, because people hooked on a certain series will accept stilted dialogue, improbable plot, and boring characters who do nothing but what they do in the show, as long as it has the characters they love. But don’t worry; though this is not Serious Literature, it doesn’t skimp on the elements of a good book. It’s a summer read, breezy and fun, good to read outside.
The book doesn’t require you to have watched the show before-hand, but a lot of things in it would be funnier if you watched the show before. Yes, it is funny, maybe not nearly as funny as the show, but funny. There are quite a few strange references, and American ones too, because the characters are in New York. It seems to me that the author pushed a little too hard with the references, though. Grand Theft Auto? Batman? Oookay.
The plot? Let’s just say it would be one weird episode…in a bad way. Little aliens who use mind control and transform stuff into other stuff? Say, a gun into a princess wand in the blink of an eye. Still, it could be a lot worse. (Using the show as an example: Fear Her. Really? Scribbly-monsters?) Fortunately, it has no more plot holes than the average episode, and, though not optimal, the plot is certainly good enough. There’s action in spades, and a sense of fun. Also, it couldn’t be the best plot, because those plots (to me) generally hinge on some important thing that will change all upcoming episodes, and this must be a plot that influences nothing else in the series, as it cannot be necessary to read the book to understand the show.
The dialogue is actually good. It’s not mind-blowing, but it certainly could be in an episode, without being particularly noticeable. Sure, it can be heavy on the cheese sometimes, but that isn’t always so bad.
The characters are certainly their wonderful selves. Amy is actually more headstrong than usual, and there’s no Ponytail Guy to be seen. (It’s evidenced that this book is pre “death”, so there’s nothing about that) The Doctor’s as enigmatic as ever, if maybe less serious than usual. It doesn’t delve deep into the characters’ emotions, but that’s okay, because this is certainly a fun book, and there’s no reason to want any of that artistic stuff.
Doctor Who: The Forgotten Army is not the best book you’ve ever read, nor is it bad. It’s an “eh” book, but it’s certainly a fun little “eh” book. If you’re cooped up at home during the summer, and want a little read that’ll make you feel like you’re out there, chasing improbably powerful aliens on the street, pick it up. As long as you don’t expect too much, you won’t be disappointed.