Saturday, April 26, 2014

Book Report #5 - Doctor Who / The Doctor Trap

I realized why I stopped collecting more or less blindly all Doctor Who books (not that I gathered up that many to begin with): not every author can write well for the Doctor. Or perhaps it's just that not every of those many authors that work for BBC Books writes to my liking.

"The Doctor Trap" is about Ten and Donna. It shows their faces on the cover, but I found myself often thinking of Eleven instead. Not that this was a typical Matt Smith adventure right from the beginning - it's just that I couldn't find much that way typical David Tennant in it. If the author hadn't described the Doctor's appearance now and then and if I hadn't reminded myself that only Ten spend time with Donna, it really could have been any Doctor (or a whole range of other people).
Donna herself was better portrayed, probably because she's rather unique. However, her's was only a small part in the whole story.
The main character seemed to have been the antagonist Sebastiene, who started out as the all-powerful ruler of a planet that fulfilled his every wish, but ended as a slightly annoying maniac.
And then there was the Doctor's doppelgänger, Baris - who probably was a main character, too. Although since he doesn't know if he's himself or the Doctor for most of the time, he has to share this with the real Doctor.

Confused yet? Well, I was now and then - but not as much as I would have preferred.
Ever more confused now? :)
Well, I think this story was about how someone wanted to hunt the Doctor and thus created a doppelgänger to lure him in. However, the Doctor saw through that scheme and turned it on its head - acting as the doppelgänger and making the Not-Doctor believe he was the Doctor so the real deal could find out what really was going on.
Not the worst idea I've ever read, but somehow it got revealed too soon or perhaps just in an unfortunate way. I soon found myself a bit bored of "I'm really him" and "you can't be him" and "perhaps you are lying" etc. and I didn't really care much how it all got resolved in the end.

I still have a few more unread Doctor Who books and I might even buy more in the future, but most likely not another one by this author (Simon Messingham).

And if I ever want to write a story about a person pretending to be someone else, I now know I should be careful how I go about it.

This got cross-posted in my LiveJournal.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Book Report #4 - Omen of the Stars 3 / Night Whispers

Yes, I finally managed to complete more than 1 book in a month, although the Warriors books are all rather short and fast reads. This one was the 3rd in the sub-series "Omen of the Stars" and of course, I want to continue with that storyline.

You have to be a cat-lover to like those books, I guess, and you shouldn't mind reading about animals that talk and act like humans among each other. Well, not quite like humans, because they still have distinct cat-traits and usually they are the only animals that do any talking, but I dare say they have been quite humanized, too.
Nevertheless, I've liked this series since I started it a couple of years ago. It's not very demanding literature and since each book more or less tells you all the essentials you need to know about that world and its characters, you should't read more than one book in a row. But now and then, it's nice to be back in the forest - or nowadays at in the forest by the lake.

The current storyline is a bit weird and sometimes annoying, however, because the bad guys are evil cats that have already been defeated and should be dead. On the other hand, there always has been a supernatural element in that world, so I shouldn't complain that those "ghosts" can be rather active.
One of my favourite characters is still Jayfeather, even if he's often grumpy and doesn't always know what to do and seems to make a lot of wrong decisions, too.
Now, at the middle of this sub-series, I have only a vague idea where this all will end and there is no guarantee who will survive it or what will happen to the clan cats. All I know is that this is apparently the last in the whole series, from a chronological point of view (there are prequels and sequels, I believe). So, I think I won't spoil myself (much) this time and just wait and see.

I've never wanted to write a story from an animal's point of view, I think. They are interesting to read, however, if you like to be in that particular specie's set of mind and if it's well written, of course.
One thing you certainly can learn from this series is how to develop characters and let them grow until they gradually fade away in the background while new characters become the heroes. Humanized as they are, these cats certainly are more or less as complex as humans (or elves or aliens etc.). Their world, however, is a bit simpler and smaller than most others, even if they constantly have new problems.

Les Miserables is on hold for now, because I've got too much else to do and much better books to read and it wasn't particularly interesting where I left it.

This got cross-posted in my LiveJournal.