When I first started to read this book, knowing I was going to review it after, I didn’t know how I was going to do so unbiased. It’s Doctor Who. One of Justin Richards’ (fan-girl, Mr.Richards!) Doctor Who books. Thankfully I didn’t have to worry, because the story was amazing and held its own in the literary world.
“Death is death,” Strax said. “You overcomplicate things.”
“Overcomplicate?” Clare said, irritated by his casual attitude. “This man was killed. Murdered.”
“And it is too late to come to his aid now,” Strax pointed out. “Better to determine his murderer’s strategy and lay out our own plans.” His tongue licked out briefly over his thin lips. “Shall I fetch the fragmentation grenades?”
In Doctor Who: Silhouette, the twelfth Doctor and Clara are lead back to Victorian London (after the Doctor said no to visiting King Author) due to an energy spike. Where else could they end up but at a Carnival! I was already hooked on the story by that point because I’m a sucker for freaky Carnival/Circus stories. The Seventh Doctor’s The Psychic Circus is still among my favorites.
The story has that typically odd flavor of Doctor Who. Sometimes you’re led in the right direction but for the wrong reasons, and sometimes you have the right reasonings but you’re going in the opposite direction. The book gives hits to the mystery like puzzle pieces, some of the pieces belonging to completely different puzzles to piece together. Of course at then end there’s always that ‘Ah ha!’ moment when everything finally fits together.
We don’t know much about the twelfth Doctor (at this time only four episodes have aired), but we do know that he’s not much of a people person and Richards has carried out that aspect of his personality perfectly. The Doctor runs around London, mostly on his own with his plans a secret, leaving Clara and the others to just trust that he knows what he’s doing. There’s even one part in the story when he seems annoyed with his own incarnations, (Spoilers!) which only irritated this Doctor. It was amusing to find that he couldn’t even stand to be around himself.
Jenny and Vastra always have the limelight in the TV shows featuring the Paternoster Gang, but in this book Richards lets Strax step up and shine. He has the chance to do his own detective work and even works at the carnival for a short time.
Clara is Clara. She annoys me in the show and she annoys me in the book, so taking that in consideration I’m guessing it’s fair to say she’s pretty much in character.
The antagonists are unique and creative, and you can’t always be sure who they are. The main antagonist is one you will love to hate. He/She is manipulative, clever, and resourceful with plenty of weapons at hand. Even the execution order by the Shadow Proclamation looming over his/her head doesn’t seem to phase him/her.
Easter eggs! There’s a few of them, and I won’t spoil everything and let you figure it out yourself, but one that amused me the most was one character named Jimmy Stone. Just had to throw that one in, didn’t you?
Overall, Doctor Who: Silhouette is a must read for any fan of the novelizations and highly recommended for anyone who likes to read carnival/circus mysteries with science fiction thrown in for fun.