Torchwood: The Undertaker’s Gift by Trevor Baxendale
Published by BBC Books
The Hokrala Corp lawyers are back, and they’re suing planet Earth for mishandling the twenty-first century! An assassin has been sent to remove Captain Jack Harkness! And, a record number of aliens have been coming through the Rift – it’s been a busy week in Cardiff. Now, there are reports of an extraordinary funeral cortege in the night time city, with mysterious pallbearers guarding a rotting cadaver that simply doesn’t want to be buried. Torchwood should be ready for anything, but with Jack the target of an invisible killer, Gwen trapped in a forgotten crypt, and Ianto Jones falling desperately ill, could a world of suffering by the Undertaker’s gift to planet Earth?
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(This review may contain spoilers for season one and two of the television series Torchwood.)
Having enjoyed the Torchwood series, which is a spin-off of the ever popular Dr. Who, and also being a huge fan of the character, Ianto Jones, I decided to take a chance on reading one of the books based off the series. I have never read a book that was made from a television series before, so I was unsure what to expect really, never tending to hear great things about them. However, I was pleasantly surprised.
This book jumped from several point of views and things seemed a bit spilt off, but everything ended up tying together in the end as everything the happened to each character began to merge into one. The jumping around didn’t feel choppy and flowed nicely together (though there is a point where a character has a weapon to the side of their head and then a second later it is gone). I found myself immersed in the crisis the Torchwood team was facing (Ianto’s sarcastic humor helped).
During the novel they keep mentioning a casket, but they never mention what was in it and when the reveal came I found myself slightly surprised. The ending did feel a bit rushed and to me it had a very similar feel, atmosphere wise, to season three.
There was something, however, that continued to drag me out to shake my head at certain points and that was the amount of the Gwen and Jack relationship the author had going. This book takes place somewhere between season two and three and at that point Jack a more physical/emotional relationship with Ianto. However, in this book, though Jack showed some concern over Ianto, it felt he was more inclined towards Gwen and was constantly thinking about how beautiful she was. I admit this detracted from the story a lot for me and is my biggest complaint about it, but overall everything else was very nicely written and I got a similar feel while reading it as when I was watching the television series.
I did enjoy this novel on the whole and I do plan to read another one eventually. The amount of Jack/Gwen may have clashed for me, but everything else maintained a fun and quick read to give a nice Torchwood fix. I would recommend this book to Torchwood fans that have seen at least all of season one and two not just because of some spoilers, but I do also feel you need to know a little bit about the characters before diving in.
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Well, my friends, that is it for the year 2011! I hope everyone has a great new year!