Stare into my eyes ... and you'll become a Doctor Who fan.
About Dark Horizons: “Now, you may or may not have noticed, but we appear to be on fire…”
On a windswept northern shore, at the very tip of what will one day become Scotland, the islanders believe the worst they have to fear is a Viking attack. Then the burning comes. They cannot run from it. Water will not stop it. It consumes everything in its path – yet the burned still speak.
The Doctor is just looking for a game on the famous Lewis chess set. Instead he encounters a people under attack from a power they cannot possibly understand. They have no weapons, no strategy and no protection against a fire sent to engulf them all.
Add in some marauding Vikings with very bad timing, a kidnapped princess with a secret of her own and a TARDIS that seems to have developed an inexplicable fear of water, and they all have a battle on their hands. The islanders must take on a ruthless alien force in a world without technology; without communications; without tea that isn’t made out of bark. Still at least they have the Doctor on their side… Don’t they?
A thrilling new adventure starring the Doctor, as played by Matt Smith in the acclaimed Doctor Who series from BBC Television.
My two cents:I'm quite new to Doctor Who and don't be shocked: I haven't watched any Doctor Who (is that a collective *gasp* I hear?). Everything I know is secondhand (read: daughter is a fan). I do have one thing under my belt: I reviewed Doctor Who: Beautiful Chaos by Gary Russell, also for TLC Book Tours, ... and I really enjoyed that one!
Dark Horizons features the eleventh Doctor. He chances upon a Viking invasion gone awry, and ends up saving them from certain death in that huge mysterious fire burning on the water. The Doctor's untimely rescue puts a nearby island village in the uncomfortable position of having to "save" their potential invaders. In an unlikely melding of Nordic and primitive folklore as well as a futuristic alien invasion, this story is a fast-paced sci-fi adventure of how the Doctor comes between two life forms fighting for their respective sides' very survival.
***I really enjoyed this because there's so much going on! The sci-fi side is satisfying with its battle between humans versus the Arill, an alien life form that thrives on energy but faces the dilemma of being lost in a primitive time where electricity and the internet are non-existent. Fires, brain waves, and fried humans instead, Arill?
The human characters are also quite an interesting lot. The Viking raiders with their traditions of pillaging and where women were a prize and used as political leverage. In contrast, there is the folklore and belief systems of the villagers (I didn't particularly find them Scot-sy though) where survival depended upon strong leadership, a strong sense of community, depended heavily on their environment, and anything inexplicable was usually attributed to the gods.
I'd like to highlight the romance between Freydis and Henrik, which I found rather endearing. The strong female character of Freydis really made me smile: pulling and braiding her hair to fashion as a weapon, refusing to be a damsel-in-distress ... a kickass "trophy" woman gone bad! Henrik's little back story also gave me some insight into how simple times dictated simple dreams, yet never stopped people from dreaming and opening themselves up for bigger things.
The Doctor and the TARDIS were a bit of a revelation for me in this novel. The Doctor was hilarious, with a playful and even vulnerable side to him; I especially enjoyed his banter with Henrik and Freydis and his softer side revealed in his dynamic with little Luag, the young son of the village chief. As for the TARDIS, I couldn't really grasp the concept of a time machine with a mind of its own but its depiction here made me understand how much a character the TARDIS is in its (her?) own right.
All said, this was fun! This is sci-fi light, nothing too heavy, with a great mix of humour, romance and battle that is sure to engage Doctor Who fans and non-fans alike.
Verdict: Doctor Who fans, hold your horses! No, wait ... don't, just go get a copy of this and enjoy! A fun, light, fast-paced and engaging battle between humans and a power-hungry alien Arill.
About Jenny T. Colgan
A lifelong Doctor Who fan, at the age of 11 she won a UK fan competition to meet the Doctor and was mistaken for a boy by Peter Davison. Her favourite episodes are ‘Silence in the Library’ and ‘Warriors’ Gate’. She currently resides in France with her young family.
Don't forget to check out the rest of the tour here!
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: BBC Books (August 13, 2013)