Doctor Who: The Silent Stars Go By

Thanks to TLC Book Tours, we're pleased to present a review for The Silent Stars Go By, an Eleventh Doctor adventure, by Dan Abnett. Make sure to check out the rest of the tour stops to see other reviews, and keep reading to enter to win an awesome giveaway!

By Dan Abnett
Published on April 23rd 2013
Published by BBC Books
Source: Publisher for blog tour
The winter festival is approaching for the hardy colony of Morphans, but no one is in the mood to celebrate. They're trying to build a new life on a cold new world, but each year gets harder and harder. It's almost as if some dark force is working against them. Then three mysterious travelers arrive out of the midwinter night, one of them claiming to be a doctor. Are they bringing the gift of salvation or doom? And what else might be lurking out there, about to wake up?

In honor of the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, BBC Books has reissued/redesigned/reawesomed a series of eleven books -- one for, you guessed it, each Doctor.  The Silent Stars Go By follows our current Doctor, Amy, and Rory, as they try to get back to Leadworth for Christmas.  As usual, though, their TARDIS trip is more than a bit... off.

Instead of present day England, the trio winds up in the far, far, far future on a planet colonized by Morphans, people who are distant descendants of humans as we know them.  It wouldn't be a Doctor Who story if trouble didn't almost immediately ensue, of course, and that happens when Rory goes back to the TARDIS to get something and the trio gets split up.  Most of the first half of the book involves a lot of running and hiding and trying to explain why they have suddenly shown up on this planet; the back half involves a lot of running and hiding and fighting alien monsters, and then finally solving the mystery.  In other words, just another day in the life of the Doctor and his companions.

The author really nails the voices of Amy, Rory, and the Doctor.  I could hear their voices in my head when I was reading the dialogue.  There's one particular dramatic monologue by the Doctor that I could practically envision Matt Smith acting out, it was just that spot on with his voice, speech patterns, etc.  There are also lots of recurring jokes and humorous moments in the story, both in the banter between the characters, and in some rather witty verbal misunderstandings from the Morphans.

There were some parts where the book dragged a little, particularly in the sections which only focused on the Morphans.  And like any Who story, the final conclusion and how the Doctor works out the problem felt rushed and a little convoluted, but if you're a Who fan, you're probably used to that.  I don't think you need much prior knowledge about the show to read this book and understand it, but the book's real strengths -- the dialogue and relationship between Amy, Rory, and the Doctor -- have more meaning if you're familiar with the characters already.  There is some violence of the scary-alien-monster kind, but otherwise, this is a very clean read.

To cap things off, here's some Who-trivia for you, courtesy of the forthcoming trivia compendium, The Who-Ology:

  • Hello, sweetie!  If you've ever tried to really work out River Song's timeline, you probably wound up with a headache. The Who-Ology does some of the hard work for you: it takes three whole pages to lay her time line out in order. I'd share some with you, but, well, spoilers. (pp. 160-162)
  • Even the Doctor was a boy once, and Gallifrey had its own version of fairy tales: how about Snow White and the Seven Keys to Doomsday? Sounds uplifting. (p. 255)
  • It would take over 362 hours to watch all of the Doctor Who episodes in existence. I hope you're comfortable on your couch! (p. 358)
And thanks to TLC Tours and BBC Books, we've got a great giveaway!  This one is open internationally, so you're all eligible.  (Well, maybe not if you're on Gallifrey, that might take a lot of postage.)  Enter in the Rafflecopter for your chance to win your choice of Earthworld (reviewed last week), The Silent Stars Go By, or the trivia book Who-Ology!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I'm going to try and watch all the Doctor Who eps in existence!

  2. i have watched all the episodes from the ninth doctor series to the current ones and all from the first doctor's too.... i'm currently onto the Patrick Troughton episodes and i'm liking it very much...... i'm sure i can finish the whole thing by the year....

    can't wait to watch them all....

    and can't wait for the 50th anniversary episode......

    ohhh and i need to read some of these too....

    1. I am so excited about the 50th anniversary episode! I can't wait to see what they have planned.

      Thanks for reading!

  3. I'm currently working my way through all the episodes from the 9th Doctor to the present ... I wonder how many hours they total?!

    Matt Smith is my favorite Doctor (can you tell I'm a newer fan?) so I'm glad to know that this book really captures his voice and mannerisms.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour! I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.

    1. Matt Smith's definitely my favorite doctor, too -- I've been a little underwhelmed sometimes by the writing on the show, but he's been doing a fantastic job.

      Thanks for having us! I really enjoyed getting to be a part of this tour.

  4. Cant wait for the 50th and reading this book!

    1. So excited! I can't wait to see what they come up with for the 50th anniversary special.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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