Book Review – Doctor Who: Engines of War

  • Title: Engines of War
  • Series: BBC Books Doctor Who New Series Adventures
  • Author: George Mann
  • Characters:  The War Doctor, Cinder
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 10/24/2015

Engines of War is the War Doctor’s story, though most of it is told from the point of view of Cinder, a young, female, Dalek Hunter on the planet Moldox. The Doctor leads a fleet of Battle TARDISes into battle against the Daleks near the Tantalus Eye, a maelstrom of temporal energies. However, the Time Lord fleet is ambushed by Dalek Stealth Ships and the Doctor’s TARDIS crash lands on Moldox. There he meets Cinder, and discovers the Daleks working on a horrific new weapon. He and Cinder go to Gallifrey to warn the Time Lords – only to discover that Rassilon is willing to use an even more horrifying weapon to stop the Daleks. Soon it is up to the Doctor and Cinder to find a way to defeat the Daleks without using the Time Lord Doomsday weapon, and without allowing Rassilon and his Time Lords to use it either.

Engines of War is the War Doctor’s Story (as played by John Hurt in “The Day of the Doctor”) and satisfactorily explains why he made the terrible choice he was forced to make. And it introduces as a one-off companion, Cinder, a young woman who’s entire life was torn apart when the Daleks came to her world. The novel is a quick read, written without difficult vocabulary, and very much has that “young adult” feel to it. It moves quickly. I enjoyed it, but I find it has the same problem as other books in the Doctor Who New Series Adventures range – it’s written for teens, and is not challenging to an adult reader. Not only that but it doesn’t have the crossover appeal of other fantasy or science fiction young adult literature (such as Harry Potter). Previous Doctor Who series of original novels such as the Missing Adventures, the New Adventures, the Past Doctor Adventures and the Eighth Doctor Adventures were more “adult” in nature. Not, obviously “adult” in the sense of an R or X-rated movie, but they weren’t G-rated kids-only entertainment either. I liked the more complex storylines of the other ranges.

Still Engines of War was a good story, and I did enjoy reading it.

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