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Reviews for War of the Daleks

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By:Donovan Boxall, Sydney, Australia
Date:Sunday 23 March 2003
Rating:   1

Inconsistent, badly-paced, poorly written junk that contradicts everything Doctor Who and the Daleks stands for. Peel attempts to practically re-write over thirty years of Dalek history but ends up creating nothing but a bucket load of plot holes and wooden characters. The Doctor is weak, the Daleks dull, Davros predictable and the Thals completely out of place. In the end, just like the TV Movie; bland, boring, annoying and anything but genuine Doctor Who.

Not terrible, but disappointing

By:Benjamin Evans, Melbourne, Australia
Date:Wednesday 8 October 2003
Rating:   4

[I wrote this back when I first read the book, shortly after its release; I've edited it a bit.]

War of the Daleks isn't inherently bad, in fact I thought some of the ideas were very good, but several things irked me about the book.

John Peel insists on re-writing Dalek history when it was perfectly good as it was; why? A lot of time has gone into expanding the Daleks as a race with a real history - their creation, the war with the Thals, their civil war etc. As alien menaces go, they are considerably fleshed out, and most fans I know quite like their established history. So why not add to it, rather than changing it? This is something of a Who tradition, particularly where the Doctor himself is concerned; changes to his history occur, but usually they are minor and are made to allow additions which add to the richness of his character. To change so much in a single book seems...rude.

I always enjoy Davros as a character, but continually frustated to find he has little purpose or is under-exploited in most of his appearances. He is certainly a central and important figure in Dalek history, but for the most part his creations seem to get along just fine - better, even - without him.

Once again the Doctor has made a terrible mistake. This is a trend in the BBC books that I dislike (see The Bodysnatchers for another example), and it's even worse this time because it's not the eighth Doctor's mistake, but his predecssor's - the incarnation best known for his meticulous planning and scheming. It's not that I think the Doctor should be infallable, but to suddenly make such irreversibly bad mistakes - particularly in the endgame of one of his more celebrated plans - seems counter to his character, and indeed to the lineage of "smart heroes" which he exemplifies.

Maybe I need to read this book again, but while the basic sotry is enjoyable, it seems to take away from the Dalek mythos, rather than add.

Too clever for its own good?

By:PJ Johnson, Hoddesdon, United Kingdom
Date:Friday 18 February 2005
Rating:   7

John Peel's War of the Daleks is undeniably a fascinating and entertaining read, but it is far from easy going, and the finer complexities of the plot will no doubt be lost on those not totally familiar with established Dalek history.

Peel's characterisation is, I feel, somewhat hit and miss - Ayaka is by far the strongest character, and remains engaging throughout, constantly torn between her strong morality and her unwavering sense of duty to the Thal cause. The other Thals are also fairly well written, as is Chayn. Perhaps the most interesting characterisation however is that of the Doctor, as we discover just how little he understands what has been happening in the Dalek empire over the last several centuries, and how he has been manipulated by the Dalek Prime. Also, his guilt concerning the actions of Delani and the Thals - it was, after all the Doctor who first convinced the Thals to abandon their pacifist ways and fight against the Daleks - is well-realised and believable. The character of Sam is also fairly well developed, as she realises just how much she cares for the Doctor, and how out of her depth she is when faced with the menace of the Daleks.

The Daleks themselves, however, while presented fairly well as a civilisation (perhaps not the appropriate term for the Daleks!), are often poorly written, and I found it difficult to imagine a Dalek saying much of the dialogue in the later chapters. Davros too, who seems to have been modelled on Terry Molloy's somewhat misguided portrayal of the character, is disappointing. While he is occasionally given some splendid dialogue, he is on the whole presented as a ranting, irritable old man, and a long way from the cold, understated, calculating genius of Michael Wisher's original (and definitive) performance in Genesis of the Daleks.

The actual plot is, as I mentioned, incredibly complex, and shatters everything that you thought you knew about the Daleks, casting new light on the events of every Dalek story from Destiny of the Daleks onwards. This may be too much for the casual reader to digest, but provided you grasp the details of the Dalek Prime's master plan and the events leading up to the war prophesised in the title, the rest of the book is entertaining, if lacking in pace at times.

By far the most disappointing aspect of the book for me was the ending, which after the epic events of the final few chapters, seemed like rather an anticlimax, as the Doctor realises that the Dalek Prime has manipulated him once again and the Thals (and indeed the entire galaxy) are in grave danger - all well and good, but following this realisation, the Doctor devises and executes an effective solution far too easily, and the whole final chapter seems rushed and unsatisfying.

Gripes aside, War of the Daleks is a highly entertaining read, and continues the process begun in Remembrance of the Daleks of re-establishing the Daleks as a dangerous, intelligent enemy in their own right, as opposed to simply being Davros's 'heavies', as they were often portrayed in the later TV stories. While casual readers would do better to investigate Peel's subsequent Dalek story Legacy of the Daleks, War of the Daleks is, on the whole, a satisfying read for any die-hard (and open-minded) Doctor Who fan.

What no more Davros!!!

By:Jonny Jupiter, Hertfordshire, UK
Date:Saturday 10 September 2005
Rating:   7

Dalek history rewritten aside this was a good book. Sam's character development seems to be hitting a glitch - her jealous streak when the Doctor even talks to another woman will soon get irritating if its not developed. The end of Davros - I doubt it. Left it wide open for a come back. The humour starting to be injected in these novels is good, especially in this case the references to Star Trek's bridge. One of the best so far in the 8th Doctore series

Pretty bad, I have to admit

By:Jon Mahony, Leeds, UK
Date:Thursday 6 April 2006
Rating:   2

It was a while since I read War of the Daleks, but I do remember it been a rather tedious collection of plot holes and mistruths. The fight at the beginning did seem to take a great deal of inspiration from the battle of Hoth, in Starwars: The Empire Strikes Back – I’m not sure if anyone else noticed this.

Peel seemed intent on involving in the story, to a degree, every piece of Dalek history and everything they have ever been associated with – from things like Spider Daleks which were simply created on the internet, as an experiment. Right down to the Slyther from Dalek Invasion of Earth (which was a stupid idea, even in the TV series). This lead to a feeling of serious over crowding throughout – In order to get everything in, Peel even went so far as to go off on a tangent, right in the middle of the story, to write a couple of chapters about characters which have no affect on the plot in anyway, shape or form. And are never seen again (one such chapter is about a James Bond type Earth spy, infiltrating a Dalek base, the other is about Draconian battle fleet, if my memory serves). This was stupid to say the least, and slowed down the story as a whole.

You also get a feeling, particularly towards the end that Peel has seen the 1960’s Peter Cushion films once two many times – just by the way the Dalek city on Skaro is described.

Lastly the Emperor Dalek’s plans are very predictable – and Darvos is once again made to look a figure of fun, and the way he is captured is also a great anti climax, considering his roll was pivotal to the Emperor Dalek’s plot.

All in all a book which wanders off into the irrelevant and bizarre – it is hard to get a copy these days – my advice is, don’t bother trying to track it down. Not worth it.

Yet another Dalek story...

By:the Traveller, Skaro
Date:Wednesday 19 April 2006
Rating:   5

A rubbish excuse for yet another Dalek story. This is a predictable and continuity-obsessed story, making it less enjoyable for anyone without full knowledge of most of the previous Dalek adventures. Despite this, it is a strangely enjoyable book that is very easy to read.

What is the problem? this is excellent!

By:a person, hayfield
Date:Friday 19 February 2010
Rating:   10

For some reason everyone hates this. IN my opinion , this is great. IT is one of my favourite EDAs. Characterisations are perfect and the plot is very interesting. If you want to know what this book is really like, check the reviews on amazon.

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