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Reviews for Love and War

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Good-bye Ace...

By:Whites, Southend, England
Date:Monday 8 May 2006
Rating:   8

I 1st read this book when i was 12. 14 years ago.
I found it in a box and re-read it last week, not as good as the 1st read as my memories of it were so fond...
The Doctor is portrayed here in such a fantastically dark and secretive way, defining MY Doctor and also exploring his feelings and relationships with his companions in much the same way the "new who cru" are doing with The Proffessor and Rose Tyler in the new show...

Ace's departure was an end of an era for me, done really well by Mr Cornell, never has a companion left him in this way, never has he done this much to one.

The way Benny's character was introduced was also done very well, although i must say i haven't pursued her stories for the pure fact that she's not Ace! (sorry benny fan's i'm very biased- she was MY doctor's companion!)

The Verdict- could of been longer and gone more into the jan/ace/doctor thing. Stunning monster's and worth the read if only to say goodbye to our dear dorothy...

Creepy, Sad and Irritating.

By:Michael McGovern , Edmonton, Canada
Date:Monday 29 January 2007
Rating:   2

This book is well written, but it may very well be the most despair-filled novel in many a year. Why do Paul Cornell's books make me so depressed and unhappy? Why does the heavy atmosphere of a funeral hang over practically every one?

I find this book to be a work of genius, but it is not really entertaining to read. The villains, the Hoothi, are brilliantly imagined, but grotesque and sad, and what they do to everyone simply gets weirder and sadder as the novel goes on.

Why does Paul Cornell dwell so much on darkness and gloom? Doesn't he ENJOY writing novels? Why doesn't any of that shine through more clearly?

Overall, this book is utterly without light, life, or, despite the title, Love. There's a little bit of rather distasteful fiddling about between Ace and her new boyfriend (ugh,) but that's not love. That's not even a good excuse for it.

Maybe I'm just an old romantic, but I like a bit of old-fashioned charm between people in love, some honest-to-goodness joy, which we just don't get here. Ugly and unpleasant.

Paul Cornell, I must conclude, is probably a sad, sad man, dwelling with heartbreak and loss, obsessed with loneliness and a world-weary despair. Even his one (so far) penned episode of Christopher Eccleston's Doctor Who T.V. series was the saddest one yet, exploring themes of death and mourning, the emptiness of irreversible tragedy. There was even a Church in it, just like in Revelation! Where does it stop, I ask you?

After reading Love and War (but mostly War,) I felt as if I had been raped emotionally. I find this book irritating because it is monsterously bleak, punky and unhappy. I give it two stars only because it is written with nice short sentences; it is easy to read. But that is all. Avoid it if you value your happiness.

you will love it, or hate it

By:C G Harwood, Dunedin, NZ, New Zealand
Date:Saturday 29 December 2007
Rating:   3

I was hoping that reading this book a 2nd time would make me like it more than i did the first time, but i was was wrong. Although his writing for the Doctor and Ace was a lot beter than i remembered.
This book (and Paul Cornell's work in general) is eather you like it or you hate it. The first time i didn't like the book cause the plot was terrile, but this time i didn't like it for a diffrent reason. This book had a lot of potental but fell very short of what i hoped for.
The charecter i hated the most was Jan. He was a idiot, I couldn't see what Ace saw in him. Most of the charecters where badly writen and i just didn't care about any of them by page 40. The Travellers were bland and seem never to come alive - sad, they had potential.
The worst part for me was the chapter (15 i think) where Ace is in the lifepod and is crashing back to the planet. it was 5 pages of dribble which put me asleep everytime i started reading it.
Maybe its just his novel wrighting cause i have loved everything he has done for TV Dr Who so far, i just can't read his stuff. prehaps i'll go and read Human Nature and restor my faith in him.
3 out of 10.

Love and War - Not bad/Not great

By:Mark List, Midland, United States
Date:Tuesday 3 May 2011
Rating:   5

This book was OK. It was worth reading just to see the introduction of Benny and the departure of Ace (which was somewhat sad).

It kept my ineterest and I didn't have any trouble remembering what was going on. I found the relationship between Ace and Jan completely ridiculous. Ace was such a strong minded companion to the Doctor, and Jan was such a stupid character that I found no chemistry between them. I felt that the only reason the relationship was there was so that there was a reason for Ace to leave.

The concept of the story was quite interesting and rather enjoyable, but it got distracted by the relationship sub-plot.

Would I read it again? Sure.
Would I put it at the top of my list to re-read? No.

Ace, Hippy, Fungus & the internet

By:Clive T Wright, St Lawrence, United Kingdom
Date:Sunday 7 August 2011
Rating:   7

Love & War in many ways would have been ideal for the 7th Doctor on TV. As you read you can imagine all the hideous hippy costumes in a green lush world. The underlying myth of the planet combined with cyber/internet hippies somehow works. Doctor Summerfield is of course great from the very start.

Ace finally getting fed up with the Doctor using her all the time is not a surprise, but the gang of loosers she hooks up with are at times a pain.

All in all an entertaining story, which could have been very good but the fungus people are dealt with a little too easily for me.

Mix of Good and Bad

By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Wednesday 1 February 2023
Rating:   7

Paul Cornell's novel "Love and War" introduces the character of Bernice Summerfield. The story is written in a way that would make it fit with Doctor Who 1989. The story itself is fairly typical Paul Cornell, involving an ancient evil that can easily control people's minds and that spends aeons collecting corpses so that it can raise an army of the undead and take over the universe. The center of the story is Ace. That is both good and problematic. In classic Who, the companions rarely got the time and development that they needed. Cornell here makes the central conflict Ace's conflict. The alien menace is really the occasion that tests Ace's battle with herself. That battle basically comes down to this: Ace is growing up, physically, and the biological imperative to mate, emotional imperative to fall in love, has been driving her to hook up with the nearest pretty boy in wherever she and The Doctor land (see the previous New Adventures novels for further details). She also runs through her mind that The Doctor needs her more than she needs him, and that while she feels obliged to help him wherever she can to her fullest extent, she is starting to resent his role as surrogate parent. She's grown up, dammit, and ought to be striking out on her own. The latest pretty boy to cross her path is Jan, a member of The Travellers, essentially hippie space gypsies. She falls instantly and totally in love with Jan, a dangerous young man who reminds her just a bit of another dangerous young man, the gay Julian, whom she had known in her time before The Doctor, and who died in a reckless accident. She repeatedly confronts her memories, her relationship with Julian, her relationship with her mom, and all the resentments she has built up about her past and about her current relationship with The Doctor. Things come to a head with her because she builds up this fantasy that she and Jan can just have happy times together with The Doctor in the TARDIS. However, The Doctor knows what Ace is going through, knows that probably it will mean that she will leave him, knows that Jan will break her heart (but not, to begin with, the way that this will happen), and knows that he cannot tell her all this because she will not listen to the truth and because as a grown-up she has to discover the truth herself. The relationship between The Doctor and Ace is getting a little more prickly as The Doctor becomes more manipulative in his methods of outsmarting opponents. All his attempts to keep Ace out of it backfire and eventually lead to a confrontation in which Ace goes ballistic after she realizes that The Doctor knew for a long time that Jan was doomed, did not tell Ace, and used the doomed Jan as the key to his plan for defeating the evil Hoothie (perhaps the least fear-inspiring name for an ancient evil one could devise).

The novel also introduces the reader to the next companion - "Professor" Bernice Summerfield. She is an orphan of the Dalek wars now turned archaeologist with a fake degree and a rather casual attitude about everything she does. The Doctor gradually slots her into the space that Ace is leaving. Clearly, her relationship with The Doctor will be different from Ace's. First, she is older, thirty rather than twenty, and so not prone to viewing The Doctor as a parental figure to rebel against. Second, she is more intellectual than Ace, more self-aware and emotionally mature. She puts The Doctor clearly on notice: no manipulation.

What is good about the novel is that Cornell writes the internal struggles that characters have rather well. The motivations and conflicts are clear. He has a good ear for realistic dialogue, with each character having a distinct manner of speaking. He sets up the main problem of the planet Heaven well.

For me, part of the problem in reading this novel is that Cornell ratchets up Ace's emotionality to 11. Thus, her final confrontation with The Doctor, when she is ready to kill him, just goes far too over the top. I keep wanting Ace to stop and think for a couple of minutes, rather than constantly being victim of her hormones. Parts of the story don't quite hang together, mostly those involving the virtual-reality setup called Puterspace in this story. The virtual reality is too real to be virtual. Cornell's big ending is a big mess and very typical of his later work: a community under siege by the animated corpses of their loved ones (read, for instance, Goth Opera and Human Nature). The last 50 pages or so mostly contain long, detailed descriptions of helpless people getting blown to smithereens. Plus, we get the obligatory "you think the villain is dead, but there is just one more attack you weren't expecting" moment.

The verdict from me is that Love and War has a pretty good first half and a rather uncontrolled second half.

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