Doctor Who: Autonomy
by Daniel Blythe
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I'm not sure that I gave this book a completely fair hearing. It kept me occupied while running a number of tedious or stressful errands, which was great, but probably meant that I didn't give it my full attention. This might account for the slightly mixed feelings I had about it.
On a scene-by-scene level, this is one of the most joyously fun 10th Doctor novels I've come across in a while. Blythe really captures the 10th Doctor at his most oddball and manic. There's wit, there's humour, and there's just plain silliness. (A particular favorite: The Doctor shouting, "Whatever you do, don't eat the Turkish delight!" as he and another character are being chased by an Auton in the shape of the White Witch from Narnia.) There are also a number of in-jokey references to past stories that will please diehard fans without causing a problem for anybody else. (I laughed out loud when the Doctor remarked to Kate that every plucky young journalist should have an aunt with connections. Am I an nerdy fangirl? Why, yes, I am a nerdy fangirl.)
There's also a particularly good cast of secondary characters. I actually found myself regretting it when Kate, who most closely takes on the role of surrogate companion for this story, didn't end up going along in the TARDIS at the end.
However, despite the many delights of this book, I did find myself getting impatient with the overall plot. Here's the thing: the Doctor turns up in a giant shopping-mall/entertainment complex that's full of plastic animatronic people and shop window dummies and dolls. Even if you didn't look at the cover, or catch on the implications of the title, it rapidly becomes obvious that this is an Auton story. Which means that all the plastic people are at some point going to come to life and start killing the humans. And at some point, the Doctor is going to come up with some clever way to defeat them. Despite this book doing all kinds of clever things with Autons that mostly haven't been done before, I found myself repeatedly getting impatient for it to just get on with the inevitable. As I said, I was a bit distracted while listening to much of this, so maybe I'd feel better if I had a second listen under more relaxed circumstances.
Impatience with the plot aside, I found this very enjoyable, and would definitely recommend it if you're in the mood for something fun. View all my reviews >>