Book Review- Winner Takes All

Tuesday, 11 September 2012
Title: Winner Takes All
Author: Jacqueline Rayner
Publication Date: 2005
Publisher: BBC Books
Pages: 245
Series: New Series Adventures #3
Genre: Doctor Who, Science Fiction, Fantasy

Rating: 4/5

Rose and the Doctor return to present-day Earth to visit Rose's mum, and become intrigued by the latest craze -- the video game, Death to Mantodeans. Is it as harmless as it seems? And why are so many local people going on holiday and never returning? Meanwhile, on another world, an alien war is raging. The Quevvils need to find a new means of attacking the ruthless Mantodeans. Searching the galaxy for cunning, warlike but gullible allies, they find the ideal soldiers - on Earth. Will Rose be able to save her family and friends from the alien threat? And can the Doctor play the game to the end - and win?

This is another novel, extending the adventures of the Doctor and Rose, in a series of books commissioned by the BBC. In this novel the Doctor (Christopher Eclestone) and Rose (Billie Piper) return home at Rose's request and find that everyone is obsessed with a new video game. This seems innocent, but as per every Doctor Who adventure, things are not as they seem.
Firstly I want to talk about the plot. This was a great idea for a plotline, the idea of a computer game (something we are so easily addicted to), actually being a way to recruit soldiers from another planet or species to fight a war against your enemies for you. Although this is an outlandish idea, you could see how we as a society could easily fall into this trap, and end up fighting someone else's war.
The plot was fast paced, keeping the excitement and the tension up, really adding to the story. The dualplot, with Mickey fighting his own battle at home, and the Doctor fighting on another planet, added to this, and meant that you were always wanting to finish the book to see how both storylines would weave together, and tie up the loose ends.  I also liked the addition of Robert's character, and the little Harry Potterish fantasy he had in his head.
The two main characters are the Doctor and Rose. I feel that the author really captured the essence of these characters and the relationsip they had with each other. The Doctor was his usual witty and sarcastic self, having some greatlines when he was talking to Mickey too. I was reading all his lines in Christopher Eclestone's voice, which added to the reality of his character. I felt that Rose was just as rounded a character as the Doctor was. She was just as strong and fierce as she was played in the tv series, also with a touch of softness and her friendliness. The Doctor and Rose's relationship was actually developed in this novel, you could see how much they like each other, but also how much they rely on each other and need each other. This showed a sense of vulnerability to the seemingly invincible Doctor, when Rose is taken, his emotions spill over in his urgency to get her back.
Overall this is a great Doctor Who novel, with a really unique and intriguing idea for a plot which is delivered in a short, fast paced novel. I would recommend this novel if you are a fan of Doctor Who, but even if you aren't, it's still an enjoyable read.


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