Review of ‘I Am a Dalek’ (Gareth Roberts)

Dalek
Dalek. Image from Wikimedia Commons

I recently found this short novel-a ‘Quick Reads’-whilst looking for some books to dispose of (a sad, bad day). Very much a product from its time-eight years ago-it features David Tennant and Billie Piper (as The Doctor and Rose respectively) from the hit TV show Doctor Who in a book (not an adaptation of any particular episode, simply using the characters from the TV show).

This promised to be good-renowned characters with good background and development already there in the TV show. The first indicator of what is to come is the large font size-I know this is designed to help get people reading more, so aimed at young adult-or younger, but size 14 (or larger) seems to be warning me that the author had to fill pages.

Telling the story of a Dalek found during an archaeological dig, and the consequences of a woman coming back from the dead, this is another book which seemed to have a good premise-it would have made a great 40-minute episode of Doctor Who.

As it is however, it feels a little like Roberts is trying to follow the show’s format-cliffhanger followed by opening credits, Doctor and companion separate… It could have done with having a smaller font and longer plot, and at times it felt forced-telling us what characters were feeling, using basic-primary school-language, and generally feeling rushed.

It seemed like Roberts had had a good idea, and then discovered there weren’t enough plot twists to make the book long enough. Another predictable book (for someone who has watched the show), but I think the minor characters were a little too forgettable, and could have done with some more personality.

Overall, a good TV-esque plot not containing enough aspects of the TV show-the witty banter passing back and forth like a tennis match, the drama, the running… I’m not saying Doctor Who books can’t be good-I’ve read some great ones. It’s just that the premise of a ‘Quick Read’ book seems to be to make it as short as possible, with large font. An interesting attempt.

Price-£2.99 paperback ($5.05)

£1.49 Kindle ($2.38)

Publishing house-BBC Books (note cheaper price of £1.99)

Publishing date-18 May 2006

Value for money-at £1.99/£1.49, you’re going to get a good deal, and you won’t find many better bargain books than this-★★★★★

Character development-rests a little too much on the TV show here, relying on the fact that readers will have watched Doctor Who and understand the relationships; also underdeveloped minor characters-★★

Readability-due to its action filled plot, it’s quite a page turner, and due to the short length/large font, it flies by-as it should, designed by the government to get people into reading-★★★★★

Overall-despite good value for money and readability, the content of the book, and all the ins and outs are mediocre-★★★

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4 thoughts on “Review of ‘I Am a Dalek’ (Gareth Roberts)

  1. Sounds like the author tried to dumb it down to suit a younger audience. Maybe that’s the reason behind the large print too. I loved the David Tennant era or Doctor Who so I was interested in this book, but it’s too bad that the good premise was wasted. I agree a good Doctor Who book needs banter! Nice review! 🙂

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