Tuesday, March 1, 2011

REVIEW: "Death Riders"/"Heart of Stone" 2 in 1 book


Reader Craig Rogers has sent in a review of one of the new 2 in 1 books from the Official range of Children's Books. Don't forget there's a signing this weekend in London with some of the authors - click here for more info.

Death Riders by Justin Richards

Let’s set the scene, shall we? The blurb tells us that The Galactic Fair has arrived on the mining asteroid of Stanalan. However, danger lurks in the Off-Limits tunnels…

As a huge fan of the TV Series, I found it easy to imagine Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill acting out their roles as The Doctor, Amy Pond and Rory Williams. Richards wrote the characters perfectly – their characteristics matched those performed on television. He also wrote their relationship with each other just as the television script writers do.


As with Richards’ other Doctor Who books, like The Only Good Dalek for example, his obvious sense of humour shines through. I found The Doctor and Rory’s banter concerning a Coconut very amusing. We are introduced to the characters of Garvo and Drexxon. These two characters probably play the biggest part, aside from our favourite trio. Richards introduces the character of Drexxon as I believe appears to be a tame and quite frankly, nice creature! Garvo, on the other hand appears to be the enemy, apparently controlling Drexxon with his Harmonica.

As the story reaches its thrilling, exciting conclusion, you feel like you are present with the trio as they attempt to save the lives of the people visiting The Galactic Fair… Overall, Justin Richards’ Death Riders is a fantastically written story which features every one’s favourite parts from the television series, including Amy’s attempt at using the Doctor’s catchphrase ,“Geronimo!” This is a must read for any Doctor Who fan. Thank you Justin Richards!


Heart of Stone by Trevor Baxendale

In the seemingly normal Conway Farm, a terrifying “Rock Man” is apparently haunting the Conway family, turning whatever he touches into Moon Rock…


What I found very funny was spotting the references to the TV Series – Most notably, “Jammie Dodgers”, “15th Century Venice” and an Orange which reminds the reader of The Tenth Doctor’s battle with the Sycorax in The Christmas Invasion. Baxendale has also written in several occurrences that we can relate to – the most obvious of which being the eruption of the Icelandic Volcano, Eyjafjallaj√∂kull.

It is unusual for the enemy to be introduced in the different stories in such depth and in an action-packed setting. I find what Baxendale has done gives us a better understanding into how the Rock Man behaves and allows us to predict what we believe will happen. The writer also uses a mysterious lexis when introducing the character of Chris Jenkins. At first, he appears to be a secretive and possible villainous character. The type that you wouldn’t want to be friends with…

As with Justin Richards’ Death Riders, Baxendale writes the characters perfectly – just as Steven Moffat and his team write for the TV Series. Even the simple “Oh” that Rory gives the Doctor, made me instantly think “I can imagine Rory saying that!” He also writes action superbly. This book probably has some of the most intense scenes possible – poor Ralph Conway. But thank goodness he returns at the crucial moment!

The only slight criticism I have is that at certain parts of the story, the humans that have been turned to stone, most notably Conway, appear to remind me personally of the Weeping Angels. I was not disappointed by this, because Baxendale writes the stone humans in their own way, but I couldn’t help but consider some of the similarities.

As it says towards the end of the story, “The Doctor Amy and Rory were on their way again – To amazing new adventures”. I for one, will surely be following them.

Death Riders/Heart of Stone is available now

Also available in the same range are System Wipe/The Good, The Bad and The Alien by Oli Smith and Colin Brake, pictured below and also available now.


Thanks to Craig Rogers for the reviews

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