Book Review – Doctor Who: The Silent Stars Go By

  • Title: The Silent Stars Go By
  • Series: BBC Books New Series Doctor Who Adventures (new series)
  • Author: Dan Abnett
  • Characters: Eleventh Doctor, Amy, Rory
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 05/05/2017

The Silent Stars Go By is part of the BBC Books New Who series of original tie-in novels. The story opens with Amy and Rory in the TARDIS with the Doctor. Amy demands the Doctor take her home for Christmas, and Rory backs her up. The TARDIS lands on a snowy world, that definitely isn’t England on Earth. Outside for just a few minutes in the cold, Rory decides to go back to the TARDIS for his coat – and thus is separated from the Doctor and Amy for half the book, because when he comes back they are missing.

The world the Doctor, Amy and Rory have landed on is Hereafter, a colony world, that is undergoing terraforming. The Morphans eek out an existence as farmers and raising sheep, but the last three years have brought mysterious winters – and “the white” is getting colder and longer. The terraforming is going wrong, but after generations on the colony world, the Morphans no longer remember why they are there, much less understand the machinery they tend by rote, custom, and by a type of religion in a sense.

Amy and the Doctor discover that the Ice Warriors have also landed on the colony world and sabotaged the terraforming to make the world colder and more suitable for Ice Warrior colonization, though this would kill off the Morphans. However, though the Doctor and Amy as well as two Morphans that they run into, are chased and even attacked by the Ice Warriors – the Doctor is able to talk to them.

Meanwhile, Rory’s also chased and attacked by an Ice Warrior. He runs into a Morphan girl – the girl that had gone missing at the beginning of the book that everyone is looking for – the other farmers, her sister (who meets Amy and the Doctor instead) etc. Rory and the Morphan girl make it back to her village – but completely fail to convince the Elders that there’s an invasion going on. One of the Elders even decides that if anything is going wrong it must be Rory’s fault since he’s a stranger and tries to have him convicted of “conjury”.

The Doctor, Amy, and the two Morphans (one of whom is the sister of the girl Rory met) discover a communications room and reach Rory, the sister, and a few Morphans in the assembly. The Doctor starts to explain things, but they are attacked by ice Warriors and communication is broken off.

Amy and the Morphans escape and lock the door – leaving the Doctor in with the Ice Warriors.

The Doctor refers to himself as, “Cold Blue Star” a name given to him by an Ice Lord. Yet the Ice Lord he speaks to hasn’t heard of the Ice Lord the Doctor mentions – even though they are of the same clan, because it hasn’t happened yet. The Doctor tries to convince the Ice Warriors to leave and pick a different planet to Terraform – since the Morphans got there first, and as farmers and herders they aren’t equipped to go anywhere.

This argument isn’t working until there’s an attack by the other group that is attacking everyone on the planet. Turns out the Ice Warriors have been attacked. The attacks on the Morphans sheep weren’t by Ice Warriors but by this third force. And the reality of who and what the third force is – is horrifying. With the arrival of this other force, though, the Doctor is able to convince the Ice Warriors to leave the Morphans alone and to go to another planet orbiting a cold, blue star instead. The Ice Warriors help defeat the other force and the Doctor helps set them back on their path.

I enjoyed this story. The third force is a surprise, and quite horrifying. I liked that, in the end, the Ice Warriors weren’t evil, but simply trying to survive like the Morphans. The story moves at a good clip and is largely split between the Doctor, Amy, and the Morphans running around inside the Terraformer – and Rory who is chased by an Ice Warrior, falls in a river of warm water, gets out, makes it to an out-building, and meets the sister of the Morphan that Amy met. It’s also Rory who first meets the Morphans in the village. It was enjoyable to see Rory’s thought process and how his own compassion helps him in an unusual situation. Note that all the chapter titles are taken from lines in Christmas carols for the most part – though the story isn’t really Christmas-themed.

Recommended.

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