My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Expect a few spoilers in this review of the TV tie-in. I did enjoy it, however I thought there were some issues. In 1953, Michael Bellini is working the docks with some friends as they are expecting a shipment (probably not legal) and when the ship gets in, it explodes. Michael is doused with a strange energy that sends him pin-balling through time until he ends up in the basement of Torchwood.
If that wasn't odd enough, Michael has met all the Torchwood members throughout time which was both interesting (Much of the beginning of the book is dedicated to each character's meeting with Michael) but also very problematic for me. I found it very unbelievable that every last one of them met Michael without some reason for it. Maybe because much like River Song and the Doctor, they are in moving in different directions in time. However, much of it has yet to happen to Michael so maybe meeting them in Torchwood's basement somehow linked them? I don't know and that bothered me.
Michael's alien energy is attracting an ancient speices, the Vondrax, who eat the energy. They appear as terrifying men in bowler hats. They are chasing him in time as are several men with different government agents. And in a 'surprise twist' that will surprise no one he and Jack were lovers in the 60s, at least briefly and Jack knows how this story ends.
The story itself is interesting. However, there are real structural problems with it. So many times I had to flip back to see what I missed because it flips back and forth between the various characters with no apparent chapter/scene breaks. It was very confusing. All the ping-ponging made it occasionally hard to follow. I really wish they had done a scene break thing. it would have made for a nicer, easier read (I'm not sure who to put that on, the author or BBC Books).
And the ending...well, it's also a bit problematic because frankly the Torchwood crew are mere spectators. They have no impact on the final outcome so the story falls a bit flat there. And being a Torchwood book, you can imagine what kind of ending it will have in the happy or not department. Still, it was a fun read for all its problems. I did feel a bit sorry for Ianto though. Jack is a bit of a jerk in this, unsurprisingly.
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