A Rare Book Review: Beautiful Chaos

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This is a first for my blog, but as I’m hoping to start doing some more reading, I’ve decided to review a book. I know right, a book?! But I thought you only reviewed media! Well good reader, you were wrong (well, you were right until the 9th of June 2016).

Okay, so the book I read was Beautiful Chaos by Gary Russell. My version of this book was a special edition for the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary so naturally it looked amazing and I had to read it. It also features my favourite Doctor and one of my favourite companions – the 10th Doctor and Donna. But yes, if you hadn’t worked it out already, this book was a Doctor Who novelization, and I know there are some people who think that TV/Film novelizations and tie-ins don’t count as real books, these are also the same people who think the same about comics, but these are real books. They have solid plots and character development – i mean, of course there are some that are really crappy but the large majority serve as good reading and make the hardcore fans feel even more immersed in a growing universe.

Right, now on to the book itself. Beautiful Chaos follows an adventure with the 10th Doctor (played on TV by David Tennant) and his companion Donna Nobel (played by Catherine Tate). Donna asks the Doctor to bring her home so she can be with her family on the anniversary of her fathers death. Whilst home, however, the Doctor discovers a sinister alien plot to use technology to take over the world and ‘help’ expand it into the universe. Of course by the word ‘help’ I mean ‘take over and destroy’ so naturally the Doctor, with the help of Donna, Wilf (Donna’s granddad played by Bernard Cribbins in the show) and Netty (Wilf’s new Lady Friend) has to stop the alien force and save the earth once again.

So, naturally this is nothing completely brand new, if you’re a fan of Doctor Who it will be the standard weekly adventure format (which, if you’re like me, is a welcome return). But, despite it being the same format, the story-line is completely new and it introduces some new characters. These new characters come in the form of Netty, Lukas and Joe. Netty becomes a key part of the plot and is such an adorable character made sad by her struggle with Alzheimer’s disease, she’s developed well and feels as if she could appear in the show at any point. The other two new characters however, don’t have quite the same impact. Lukas and Joe’s inclusion within the story did raise some eyebrows. I felt as if they could easily have been replaced by Wilf or even Donna’s mum, they were basically plot devices, used only for exposition and it felt like a real waste.

Something else I really enjoyed about the book? The return to the adventures of the Doctor and Donna, something I’ve really missed the past 6 years. The humour and charm of the pair was still there. The friendship was still clear and it felt just as it was always portrayed on the show. One tiny nitpick I do have, however, is that sometimes the friendship borders on the romantic, but it’s not too bad.

The plot for the book, although being a standard Doctor Who plot line of monsters invading and needing to be stopped, was actually quite good. It kept me intrigued throughout and really kept me on edge about what was going to happen and how the alien force was going to be stopped when they seemingly couldn’t have been. This could be something that people might not be expecting from a TV Tie-in and, if I’m honest, I wasn’t expecting it either. And that could be a slight criticism of the book, the fact that you know where these characters’ stories go in the TV show does mean that the sense of tension is lost and when they’re in danger you are left knowing that they’re not really in any danger at all, but it is interesting to see how they get out of it.

Alright then, I guess I’ll leave it there for my first book review. Overall Beautiful Chaos was a very good read, I thoroughly enjoyed returning to the adventures of the Doctor and Donna and the fact that the cover of the book was beautiful was an added plus.

Beautiful Chaos: 5/5

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