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Timewyrm: Genesys has gained a mixed reception for many reasons and it's pretty obvious why when you see who wrote it, the infamous John Peel, the King of Continuity. But do I think this is good or is it some dull rubbish.
An alien being has crashed landed their spaceship in the ancient middle east, where she meets Gilgamesh who is King. The alien claims its Ishtar, however Gilgamesh does not help the alien. Later, Ishtar has decided to stay at the temple of Ishtar in a rival kingdom, however not everything is all right, the Doctor and Ace have gone to the kingdom to investigate a creature known as the Timewyrm, a creature that could destroy Galifrey.
First of all the plot is interesting and has some nice concepts, I enjoyed the second half of the book quite a bit. Sadly the novel has to be more than the plot and involve even more things, for example there's a subplot about a group of people planning to overthrow Gilgamesh, however it disappears completely from the book only after a six or sevenish chapters, it felt like it got in the way of telling a story and just wasted time. The book also likes to throw in a lot fan service, like how the Chronovores give Ishtar new powers and named her the Timewyrm or how at the end of the book the Seventh Doctor becomes the Third Doctor for no reason, it gets rather annoying and I wish John Peel wouldn't insist on having it.
The book was paced well, apart from the beginning where it feels painfully slow and it feels they were just making sure the book would have enough pages. When Ace shows up and meets Gilgamesh, that's when the book starts to stop having pacing issues and it feels like everything is given the right amount of time after that.
There is also a lot of nudity in the book, but it feels unnecessary. I understand that the novel had to introduce more adult themes to establish the new series, but it doesn't use it in anyway, it's not like Gilgamesh is convinced by the Doctor to stop pointlessly having women strip or anything like that, the nudity is just in the book so it can be edgy.
I'll admit the characterisation of the Third and Fourth Doctors is amazingly well done, it's a shame the same can't be said for the Seventh Doctor. To me the characterisation of the Seventh Doctor in this book pretty much proves why people who dislike the Seventh Doctor, shouldn't write for his Doctor. The Doctor isn't manipulative in this, he doesn't have a good relationship with Ace, he doesn't have the mysterious feel he usually has. Instead he feels the Sixth Doctor, if the Sixth Doctor was extremely heartless and didn't care about his companions. Let me give you an example, there's a scene in the book where Ace says she doesn't want to be sexually harassed or assaulted by Gilgamesh, the Doctor tells her that they did these types of things and that she should understand why they do that. He doesn't even say that he'll make sure she won't get sexually attacked by Gilgamesh, he essentially tells her to grow up and that's it. Oh and when the Doctor is reminded of Victoria, he proceeds to say Victoria was better and then insults Ace! They only person he interacts well with is Enkidu. It's a shame this Doctor was characterised so badly in this book.
Ace is actually okay in this. I'll admit I'm not the biggest fan of how she's represented in this book, for whatever reason she's wrote more similar to how she was in Season 25 than The Curse of Fenric or Survival version of her. In the Timewyrm detraology she ends up being the character you relate to the most, so you always end up agreeing with her and rarely ever the Doctor, who as I previously mentioned is heartless in this story, which is a shame as we never have two good conflicting sides whenever they have an argument.
Gilgamesh and Enkidu are both rather interesting characters, although that's only a compliment for one of them. Gilgamesh is a rather irritating character, he constantly gets angry and fighting people. His character doesn't develop and he doesn't have much to do as well, he feels like he's a Neanderthal, which ironically enough Enkidu is a Neanderthal.
Unlike Gilgamesh, Enkidu is intelligent and never causes problems. His character develops and he has a good subplot about the survival of his species, it has an emotional impact and even if it doesn't have much importance, it's still is great. In fact Enkidu is probably my favourite of the characters he feels like he could've been a companion if it wasn't for the fact he isn't a original character and actually not made by John Peel.
The Timewyrm or Ishtar is a really good villain, even if it is obvious when they reveal at the end that she's the Timewyrm. She's cunning and ruthless, she even tries to get someone's daughter to kill her father and almost succeeds. The best part about her is that just when you think she's lost and the Doctor has won, she comes back and is more stronger than before, she feels completely unstoppable everytime she appears. A brilliant villain, it's a shame she hasn't returned.
Overall, I think the book is decent enough, sure it's flawed and the characterisation isn't always good. But it's worth a read, it's an enjoyable story and has some good ideas. Even if you don't like the sound of the book, you might as well read it, because the second Timewyrm book is one of the best Doctor Who books ever.