The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

The Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Arthur Dent’s day hasn’t been going well. He’s been lying in the mud all morning to save his house from being demolished, and then his entire planet has been demolished. He, however, was saved by Ford Prefect from Betelgeuse. Ford takes Arthur on a journey over the galaxy, teaming up with Ford’s cousin to find a supposedly mythical planet.

Yeah, yeah, it’s taken me ages to finally read this book, and I only really read it for my book club. But still.

I still don’t really know why, but I actually expected this to be an actual guide to the galaxy, like JKR’s Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. It’s not, if you were wondering; it’s an actual book with characters and a plot. (WHICH, BY THE WAY, FINISHED ON A CLIFFHANGER. SO NOW I NEED THE NEXT ONE. (I really have to stop doing this.))

Anyway, onto the actual book. I don’t think I enjoyed it as much as I hoped. I tend to read quite fast, but this book forced me to read more slowly because there were so many odd concepts. Perhaps if I were less stressed and more able to be free with my time, I would have enjoyed it more (perhaps a re-read and an updated review in the future??) – which is why I think I boosted the star-rating on GoodReads (4/5), because it’s not the book’s fault.

However, I did like that there was a complete universe in the novel (I mean, obviously there is, but a complete fictional one). The concepts, whilst causing me to read slower, were rather humorous and I enjoyed them.

That’s another thing: the writing style! I really liked it. It was funny, and went perfectly off-topic. There were some great analogies too.

(I finally get all of this and it makes me so happy.)

Whilst I did love the characters and found them interesting, even a bit weird, I found that Hitchhiker didn’t have quite the ‘uumph’ for me that I was hoping for. However, I did still enjoy it and all of the cool creatures, loopy landscapes and baffling plot. Even if you can tell from the adjectives there I’m still not entirely sure what I’ve read…

(I’d recommend this, obviously, for sci-fi lovers, but I think that anyone could like this novel. Aside from my mother (I’ve just asked her.).)

Also, interestingly, I originally gave this a 5 star review on GR. Perhaps I’m just in a bad mood and my memory is suffering from too many grumpy Ancient Roman satirists.

Shroud of Sorrow [Doctor Who Book] by Tommy Donbavand

Shroud of Sorrow

I am a self-proclaimed Whovian, along with my father. Therefore, an entire half of one of my bookcase’s shelves is dedicated to the Timelord, his many faces and the array of companions he tends to acquire. Is it really a surprise that one of these books is turning up in a review?

Whilst many people think these BBC books are for children, believe me when I say they’re not. ‘Adult’ themes, such as death, are commonly talked about, and often at least one person dies in a horrible way. This book was no different.

Having recently fallen in love with X-Men – First Class especially – I have begun to have more of an interest in the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis and JFK – and that’s where this book starts.

It is the day after John F. Kennedy’s assassination and the faces of the dead are everywhere. PC Reg Cranfield sees his recently deceased father in the mists along Totter’s Lane. Reporter Mae Callon sees her late grandmother in a coffee stain on her desk. FBI Special Agent Warren Skeet finds his long-dead partner staring back at him from raindrops on a window pane. Then the faces begin to talk, and scream… and push through into our world. As the alien Shroud begins to feast on the grief of a world in mourning, can the Doctor dig deep enough into his own sorrow to save mankind? (Synopsis from Goodreads)

The prologue had me immediately terrified (didn’t help that I was reading late at night and am a scaredy cat anyway). But it was a good terrified (if there is such a thing), and I continued to read.

I liked how Donbavand introduced another planet during the book – I’m kinda tired of stories about Earth in Doctor Who, and human companions (I say that, but there are many that focus on alien planets). Still, I liked this new planet and felt that it added to the plot. It could easily have done it without it, but there you go.

There’s a bit of a twist on the main alien, the Shroud, which I also liked – especially as it threw up more obstacles and didn’t just change your idea of it (eg making you sympathise with it) or something like that. You know, it actually had an affect on the story.

The Doctor was all right – wacky as always. Clara was all right, too, although I wish Donbavand had written about her dead mother (which was shown in the TV show) instead of an uncle we have never heard of. I was expecting it all the way through, and was disappointed when it didn’t come.

However, I would still recommend this book. You don’t even have to know a lot about Doctor Who to read it (although I guess it helps) – it could just be seen as a sci-fi novel. So yes, have a go – you may enjoy it, but let’s hope the Shroud don’t really come to Earth, eh?