Reviewed by Alyssa Katanic
I am usually not one for sci-fi. I do not like spending at least a third of the book describing the unrealistic settings and body figures – I just want to get into the plot. I have also never watched an episode of Doctor Who from the BBC, but I have been wondering what a Tardis is and why anyone on Pinterest would be interested in making a purple, English style telephone booth for their bedroom. So, when I saw the opportunity to review a book from the Doctor Who series, I was glad to pick up Dark Horizons by Jenny Colgan.
Dark Horizons is a perfect combination of historical fiction with futuristic sci-fi! What? That doesn’t even make sense! And yet, you probably know what I am talking about if you are already a Doctor Who fan.
Traveling back to the Viking era, the Doctor must help two small groups of Vikings escape the Arill, a legion group of aliens that lives by feeding off of energy and bandwidth. Here’s the problem, electricity has not been invented yet, so what do they have on which to feed? The only energy that can be detected is that which runs through the brains of living things. The Doctor must try to convince the aliens to leave while trying to keep the Viking groups from trying to kill each other or starve to death in their somewhat harsh, northern environment. Just when he thinks he has succeeded…. Well, I won’t spoil it for you any further!
Having just studied the Vikings last year with my homeschooling brood, I am very impressed with the amount of research that Colgan has obviously put into the fun read that is Dark Horizons. She did a great job intertwining their religious beliefs, practices, and life conditions with the sci-fi works and tools of the Doctor, making it very humorous at times as the Doctor speaks of or shows the Vikings something from our time, receiving blank stares or a polite “smile and nod” in return for his sharing of knowledge.
Honestly, I loved Dark Horizons. It is a fun read without being devoid of intelligence. You can gain quite a bit of understanding of the Viking culture (though knowing something about their Myths and Legends did make the references to their gods more enjoyable – think Thor and Locke, but not necessarily the comic book version), while being challenged by trying to follow the Doctor’s plans. I was also glad that enough was explained about the Doctor, Tardis, and all of the inner workings of the Doctor Who to not keep this Doctor Who newbie in a state of confusion about it all.
Alyssa Katanic is a wife and homeschooling mother of 6 children under 10 years old. She loves reading and collecting great books to share with others and knows that one can never have too many!
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Random House. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.