Doctor Who: The Dangerous Book of Monsters by Justin Richards and Dan Green
|Doctor Who: The Dangerous Book of Monsters by Justin Richards and Dan Green|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: A very high quality companion piece, listing pictorially so many perils to peruse that any level of fandom will be happy.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 176||Date: October 2015|
|Publisher: Penguin Group|
|External links: Author's website|
It's imperative you keep up with The Doctor, in both senses – meaning in case the first thing he tells you to do is Run! and in the sense of following all his various adventures and maintaining knowledge of what's what and who he's faced, enemy-wise. One great way to be enemy wise is to peruse this book, which really is a great present for the young fan – and of course a life-saving manual for when you yourself find sharks in the fog, gas-mask wearing boys sans their mothers or indeed gigantic Cyberking dreadnought spacecraft. Honestly, why this is classed as a fiction title I have no idea…
It's pretty much what you'd expect in fact, but just a little bit better. On one or two colourful pages per entry you get a replica of what might pass for The Doctor's scrapbook of scraps, scrapes and adventures – were he so weak of intellect and memory that he'd have to keep one. A great screen-grab shows the nasty at hand, with a paragraph or two about what they'd like to do to you, or whatever threat they hold. Captions and pointers litter the image with details to look out for, but even reading these en masse doesn't grate. You get a size indication, and origin if known for everything, and a speed and danger rating, topped off with a sort of Post-It note of how to get away, if such a thing is possible.
The good thing is that while this has clearly been written in the voice of the now current Doctor (Peter Capaldi's one) it doesn't just catch us up with his adventures. All the modern Christmas specials are included one way or another, and even a couple of baddies from the old era Whos. There definitely are old adventures that aren't covered (if a Drashig turns up you're scuppered), but so much gets a look-in that the fan will come across many an old foe, to their pleasure. The book therefore has the appeal to the modern, young fan and the old-timer, such as I. What's more, while there are flippant mentions of how The Doctor bested things (right down to with a tangerine, of course) you don't get too many spoilers. This book then is also perfectly suited to a different pairing of fans – ones who know pretty much all the stories, and ones with a fondness for knowing the basics behind more of them, without having the ending ruined for them.
Chief appeal for me, though, lay in the sustained way the arch, flippant voice of this Doctor was on every page. The book shows both the creativity and depth of myth and lore the programme has generated over the generations, and the ability of Justin Richards to make this a really quite brilliantly readable example of its kind. I know he's a busy man, but he can do all franchises' junior encyclopaedias from now on, if you ask me.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
Thunderbirds are Go Official Guide has less to cover but is almost as welcome as a gift.
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You can read more book reviews or buy Doctor Who: The Dangerous Book of Monsters by Justin Richards and Dan Green at Amazon.com.
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