Thursday, 17 March 2011

‘Doctor Who: The Sontaran Games’ – Jacqueline Rayner (BBC Books)

A much shorter review than normal, purely because the book itself is only ninety five pages long! For those of you who are interested, my reading really is governed by the length of the commute and I had to get home quickly the other day so... there you are :o)

The ‘Quick Reads’ books come out around the time of ‘World Book Day’ (which I always seem to miss, too busy reading...) and are aimed at people who either might not have time to read or just don’t read in general. They’re a short, sharp read and this has got to be appealing for those people put off by big thick books. ‘Doctor Who’ is a bit of a crowd puller these days so it’s no real surprise that his adventures would find their way into the ‘Quick Reads’ series. I’m more than a bit of a fan myself so when Sue brought this book home from the library there was never any doubt that I’d read it.

The TARDIS lands at an academy for top athletes (training for the Globe Games) and the Doctor soon finds a trail of dead bodies that suggests one of the athletes may be willing to murder their way to the top. The Doctor’s investigations are cut short though when a squad of Sontarans invades the academy and forces the occupants to participate in a twisted and lethal version of the Globe Games. The Doctor is an unwilling contestant and must try to survive if he is ever to find out who the original killer was...

I polished off ‘The Sontaran Games’ on the way home last night and not just because it’s a very short read. Jacqueline Rayner has written a fast paced tale with lots happening (I found myself really getting into the games the Sontarans made their prisoners play) and a mystery where the outcome may be predictable but you can still take the time to get involved with the characters attempts to solve it. Having the Doctor say that he knew the answer all the time though didn’t quite ring true, especially as you never see him pondering things like that to himself over the course of the book. Rayner may only have a little room to work in but more attention should perhaps have been paid to little details like that.

On the whole though, ‘The Sontaran Games’ was an entertaining little read that gave last night’s journey home a little extra buzz. Because it’s such a light read, ‘The Sontaran Games’ isn’t a book that will hang around in your head after you’ve finished reading it but that’s probably besides the point. I’d say that this book does exactly what’s required of it, making it an ideal ‘Quick Read’.

Eight out of Ten


GunMetalBlue said...

Rayner is one of the Doctor Who Extended Universe author's that I love to read. I've read both THE STONE ROSE (a 10th Doctor adventure), and WINNER TAKES ALL (a 9th Doctor adventure) are both solid entries in the franchise. I think Steven Cole is another good one (FEAST OF THE DROWNED).

Cool review, and sounds like a fun read.

I've yet to get into any of the 11th Doctor book adventures, but I plan on it.

Graeme Flory said...

I've always been more about the TV show than the books but will always pick up a Doctor Who book if I see one. I've listened to 'The Stone Rose' and 'Feast of the Drowned' on audiobook, David Tennant narrates them and does a great job. Really fancy reading 'Prisoner of the Daleks' actually...

GunMetalBlue said...

PRISONER OF THE DALEKS is apparently quite good!

I also hear good things about Dan Abnett's THE STORY OF MARTHA.