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arrakiswitch

A Reciprocal Love Affair With Books

Jean, 39, lover of sci-fi, horror and fantasy, reader of comic books, conqueror of genre fiction.

Currently reading

Miles Morales: Spider-Man (A Marvel YA Novel)
Jason Reynolds, Kadir Nelson
Progress: 206/261 pages

Doctor Who: The Algebra Of Ice (Doctor Who S.)

Doctor Who: The Algebra of Ice - Lloyd Rose Okay, so I'm a little biased as my other two Lloyd Rose books (most notably City of the Dead) have special positions on my bookshelf so I was obviously looking forward to The Algebra of Ice immensely even though the PDA have always been a rather iffy, mixed bag.I wasn't disappointed.The story was surprisingly tight, though it had the tendency to shift as all of Rose's books do, rather suddenly. I felt though that it worked here as she was clearer on the plot, very tight on the prose and excellent in characterization. As a matter of fact, it's not the Doctor or Ace who make the book at all, it's an original character, Ethan the mathematician, who really is the heart of the book, though it would be unfair to deny Ace's role as her relationship with Ethan provides a startlingly personal look at the material. Ethan's mysterious illness is wonderfully handled and pays off at the end as one assumes all along that it must be the impending alien invasion that is causing it which turns out, in fact, to be false and once again takes us to a very human place.I was pretty good in math at school; took an advanced class but believe me when I say I had no intention of understanding this book. And that's brilliant because I can honestly say, I did! Rose makes it very clear, uses Ace, but in a not as obvious way as sometimes is handled, as an unknowledgable to explain, to demonstrate, to show without boring the audience to death or talking down to them.Brett is a fantastic baddie, in the best sense of the word (and I had this strange image of Toby Stephens playing him, just gnawing at the scenery!). Too often lately, I've found that sci-fi likes to show us the "gray areas", as they call it: why a villain is doing something, how it's really deep and emotional even if disagreeable. Brett is a nihilist; he's doing it because he can. And most of all, because he's bored, because life isn't up to his standards, because every character in this book is in some way avoiding truly living whether it's out of fear (Ethan) or disdain (Brett). As the Doctor observes at the end, Ace really is the only one in the book who ever really was truly alive.Not to say the book doesn't have its drawbacks, however. It's a complete regression to the NA days, with the Doctor's seventh incarnation having all the fun sucked out of him, showing it for what it supposedly "truly" is: manipulation; I was never crazy about that particular line of thinking. Ace is sometimes shown to be cringingly naive and I suppose we're supposed to be moved by the way she doesn't recognize the way she's being played (I thought we solved most of this in Curse of Fenric and Ghost Light but alas...). Rose claims that she didn't know if she could write Ace, and it shows terribly sometimes.But all that aside, this was just a fantastic book; I finished it in two sittings!Why only three stars? Because of the heavy focus on the original characters, as complex and wonderful as they were to read about. (I originally gave it a full five on Amazon; I think I'm somewhere in between now.)