03 May 2013

{Book Review} Alien Arena

clip_image002Alien Arena
Doctor Who: Decide Your Destiny #2
Author: Richard Dungworth
Pages: 128
Release Date: July 5, 2007
Publisher: Penguin Character Books Ltd
Reading Level: Middle Grade
Rating: 3.5 Birds

Have you ever wished you could go on an adventure with The Doctor? Run around in space or on another planet meeting new creatures and seeing futuristic technology? Find yourself in impossible situations that somehow just work out? I definitely do! And I’m pretty sure every Whovian would jump at the chance. Short of being cast on the series, the Doctor Who: Decide Your Destiny books may be the closest any of us get to running off with The Doctor.

Alien Arena starts as many of the TV episodes do: a mundane day interrupted by the extraterrestrial. Just two pages in, you find yourself pulled from Earth, face-to-face with an alien who is not keen on having you aboard his ship. As you try to survive, you cross paths with The Tenth Doctor, Martha, and the TARDIS.

I quite enjoy books where the reader gets to make decisions. I feel engaged and read more critically. Was that a hint as to how I should choose? Will this technology be relevant to future decisions? Of course, my critical reading didn’t have much bearing to this middle grade adaptation. The science is there, but the reader doesn’t need to retain it, as The Doctor will undoubtedly find the solution.

While I wished it required a bit more of the critical decision making (even at the middle grade level), Alien Arena was still a quick, fun book. Seriously, it only took me about 20 minutes to blast through my first read. It will definitely take longer for a middle grader, and maybe a dictionary! There are some bigger words younger readers may not have seen before. Even though it’s quick, it’s fun to reread, changing your decisions to find the new endings.

Alien Arena is a fun adventure for Whovians of all ages and would be especially great for young Whovians who are reluctant readers. I know I’ll be reading some more Doctor Who: Decide Your Destiny books to get my DW fix until the 50th Anniversary Special arrives.

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