Review: Doctor Who: The Wonderful Doctor of Oz

Title: Doctor Who: The Wonderful Doctor of Oz
Author: Jacqueline Rayner
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: BBC Children’s Books
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Release Date: June 10, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Embark on a strange and enchanting adventure with old foes and monsters in this glorious crossover of Doctor Who and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

When a sudden tornado engulfs the TARDIS, the Thirteenth Doctor and her fam find themselves transported to the magical land of Oz. With a damaged TARDIS and an unexpected stowaway from the 1930s, their only hope of getting home is to follow the yellow brick road.

But when an army of scarecrows ambushes them, they quickly realise that everything is not as it should be, and they’re thrown into a fight for survival against a mysterious enemy. As each of her companions becomes a shadow of their former selves, only the Doctor is left standing.

Desperate to save her friends, she must embark on a perilous journey to seek help from the mysterious Wizard of Oz – and stop whatever forces are at work before she and her friends are trapped in the fictional world forever.

Review:

The Thirteenth Doctor and her fam, Ryan, Graham, and Yaz, travelled back to the 1930s to see the premiere of The Wizard of Oz. However, when they land, they discover that no one has ever heard of L. Frank Baum or The Wizard of Oz. Then, the Tardis is pulled into a tornado, landing them in the land of Oz. The Doctor and her friends, along with a young man named Theodore who stowed away in the 1930s, have to follow the yellow brick road to see the Wizard and save Oz.

This story was a clever combination of The Wizard of Oz and Doctor Who. The Oz that they visited was mostly based on the book, which is slightly different from the movie. In place of some of the characters from Oz, were Doctor Who characters, such as the Cyberman who stood in for the Tin Man. Each of the Doctor’s companions also faced the same problems that Dorothy’s companions faced in the original after some accidents: needing a brain, a heart, and courage.

Gender was an important part of the story. The Thirteenth Doctor is the first female Doctor. In this story, she meets the Doctor’s longtime enemy the Master, in her female form, called Missy. This was an interesting meeting since these two female characters never met on the TV show. Though Missy is on the cover, she wasn’t in the story for very long. I would have loved to see more of her on the page because she’s an interesting character. There was also a clever ending that you’ll have to read to find out!

The Wonderful Doctor of Oz is a fun Doctor Who story.

What to read next:

Doctor Who: Combat Magicks by Steve Cole

Doctor Who: Legends of Camelot by Jacqueline Rayner

Have you read Doctor Who: The Wonderful Doctor of Oz? What did you think of it?

Review: Doctor Who: The Runaway Tardis

Title: Doctor Who: The Runaway Tardis
Author: Rebecca Gyllenhaal, Kim Smith (illustrator)
Genre: Children’s, Picture Book, Science Fiction
Publisher: Quirk Books
Source: Library
Format: Ebook
Release Date: June 23, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Join the Doctor and her smallest companion on a madcap adventure through time and space! The beloved sci-fi TV series is now a charming picture book, perfect for Doctor Who fans of all ages.

Unable to make friends at her new school, Lizzie packs a bag and runs away. After accidentally stowing away in the TARDIS, she meets the Doctor, a mysterious woman who claims to be a time-traveling space alien. When the TARDIS malfunctions, Lizzie and the Doctor are sent catapulting through time and space, visiting the pyramids, the dinosaurs, an alien planet, and more. Along the way, Lizzie learns that making new friends isn’t so hard after all . . . but will she ever be able to get back home? Featuring Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor and an adorable new alien species, this sweet storybook is a must-have for Whovians everywhere, young and old alike. 

Review:

Lizzie is having trouble making friends at her new school, so she packs some peanut butter sandwiches and runs away. As she’s running through the park, she finds a blue police box and goes inside. Lizzie hides in the box, which is bigger on the inside, until a woman comes in and causes the box to move. The woman is the Doctor, and her box, the Tardis, begins to malfunction. The Doctor and Lizzie visit many places throughout time and space such as the dinosaurs and the pyramids in Egypt. They eventually have to get a special species of engineers to fix the Tardis so that Lizzie can return to her home.

This was such a fun book for young fans of Doctor Who. There are classic Doctor Who moments, such as when the Doctor can’t figure out what’s wrong with the Tardis, and the classic phrases “wibbly wobbly” and “bigger on the inside.” This short story captured the atmosphere of an episode of the show.

Lizzie’s story perfectly mirrored the Doctor’s life. Lizzie didn’t have friends, so she wanted to run away from home. The Doctor has struggled with loneliness and the loss of companions throughout the series, so she had this in common with Lizzie. The Doctor is constantly running away from something or someone, so she could also be considered a runaway, like Lizzie. I liked this comparison to teach children about loneliness.

Doctor Who: The Runaway Tardis is a great children’s book!

What to read next:

The X Files: Earth Children Are Weird by Jason Rekulak, Kim Smith (illustrator)

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial by Jim Thomas, Kim Smith (illustrator)

Have you read Doctor Who: The Runaway Tardis? What did you think of it?

Review: Switch

Title: Switch
Author: A.S. King
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: May 11, 2021
Rating: ★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A surreal and timely novel about isolation and human connection from Michael L. Printz Award winner A.S. King.

Tru Beck is a teenage girl from Pennsylvania who lives in a world that has become trapped in a fold in time and space, where “real” time has stopped but humanity continues to mark artificial time based on a website called N3WCLOCK.com. Tru lives in a house that has a switch at its center. No one knows what the switch controls, but her father continually builds larger and larger boxes around the switch (Tru lives in Box #7). Tru leaves the box through a Tru-shaped hole to go to school, where she pays no attention to the new “Solution Time” curriculum. In fact, the only interesting thing that’s ever happened to Tru at school is when she discovers (on her first try) that she can throw a javelin farther than any human has ever thrown anything before in human history.

Review:

In June 2020, time stopped counting. The world became trapped in a fold in time and space and a website called N3WCLOCK started keeping time. Tru Beck had to deal with a lot of other issues during this time. Her house had a switch in the middle of it, but no one knew what it controlled. Her father began building boxes around the switch to protect them from it. Her brother was moody and surrounded by strange rumors of an inappropriate relationship with a minor. Then, Tru discovers that she can throw a javelin in track and field faster than anyone ever has before. No one knows where Tru’s sudden talent came from, so they’re suspicious of it. Tru has to deal with all of these issues while also figuring out how to fix time.

This was quite a strange story. The concept of time stopping in 2020 was a relatable aspect. With the pandemic, it felt like time stopped last year. A company reacted by creating a new way to stop time. Whenever we think that one system is gone, another one sneaks up and replaces it, sometimes doing the same thing but with different packaging. This new website was able to take over and profit on time.

Tru’s house was one of the strangest parts of the story. Tru’s father obsessively build boxes around their house until their rooms were all just numbered boxes. The house became unstable and started flipping over. It was hard for me to imagine this concept. With the exception of this idea of time stopping, most of the story could have been set in the real world. The way the house behaved was a little too strange for me to believe.

Switch is an unusual dystopian story.

Thank you Dutton Books for Young Readers for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King

Have you read Switch? What did you think of it?

Review: Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor, Vol. 4: The Endless Song

Title: Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor, Vol. 4: The Endless Song
Author: Nick Abadzis, Elena Casagrande
Genre: Graphic Novel, Science Fiction
Publisher: Titan Comics
Source: Library
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 5, 2016
Rating: ★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The Tenth Doctor and Gabriella Gonzalez return for a second year of cosmic adventures! 

A bold new season begins for the Tenth Doctor and companion Gabby Gonzalez! Whether facing down an evil corruption of sentient music on a gas giant, catching up on unseen trips with Gabby’s best friend Cindy Wu, or journeying back to the dawn of humankind to witness the clash between Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons, there are no limits to the adventure – or the danger!

Review:

The Doctor and his companion Gabby Gonzales go on adventures in this graphic novel. They start on a distant planet that has been invaded by an alien virus, and end up traveling to the past where they have to fight alien creatures with Neanderthals.

I’ve missed watching Doctor Who, since there haven’t been new episodes in months, so I decided to read some of the graphic novels. I’ve enjoyed the graphic novels in the past, but this one was a little disappointing.

This graphic novel wasn’t as exciting as I expected, and the Doctor wasn’t even in many of the scenes. There was a comic in the middle, which was about completely different characters and didn’t seem to have anything to do with the Doctor until the end. I was expecting more exciting stories about the Tenth Doctor.

Unfortunately, this graphic novel was a little disappointing.

What to read next:

Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor, Vol. 5: Arena of Fear by Nick Abadzis, Elena Casagrande

Other books in the series:

Have you read Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor, Vol. 4: The Endless Song? What did you think of it?

Review: Vengeful (Villains #2)

Title: Vengeful (Villains #2)
Author: V.E. Schwab
Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction
Publisher: Tor
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: September 25, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The sequel to VICIOUS, V.E. Schwab’s first adult novel.

Sydney once had Serena—beloved sister, betrayed enemy, powerful ally. But now she is alone, except for her thrice-dead dog, Dol, and then there’s Victor, who thinks Sydney doesn’t know about his most recent act of vengeance.

Victor himself is under the radar these days—being buried and re-animated can strike concern even if one has superhuman powers. But despite his own worries, his anger remains. And Eli Ever still has yet to pay for the evil he has done. 

Review:

After Sydney brought Victor Vale back to life, he has to live with some changes to his superpower, including frequent death. Meanwhile the ExtraOrdinary Observation and Neutralization is trying to hunt down all of the EOs, or people with superpowers, they can find. They have to resort to their prisoner and asset, the villainous Eli Ever to track the new EOs. There’s a new ExtraOrdinary in town, and she’s like nothing they’ve seen yet.

These ExtraOrdinaries had incredibly destructive powers. They get their powers from being revived after death, and their power relates to their final thoughts before dying. There were complications with mixing different powers, such as when Victor had side effects after being brought back to life with Sydney’s power. These were creative powers with surprising consequences.

This story is told through alternating timelines, all leading to one massive event. Each chapter jumps to a different time period, whether years, weeks, or days before the final event. I thought this format would be confusing, but it’s actually easy to follow with the rhythm of the plot.

Vengeful is an exciting sequel to Vicious!

What to read next:

We Could Be Heroes by Mike Chen

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Other books in the series:

Have you read Vengeful? What did you think of it?

Review: Resistance: A Graphic Novel

Title: Resistance: A Graphic Novel
Author: Val McDermid, Kathryn Briggs (illustrator)
Genre: Graphic Novel, Science Fiction
Publisher: Grove Atlantic
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: June 15, 2021
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A gritty, dark tale of infectious disease gone wrong – the timely graphic novel from Sunday Times bestselling author Val McDermid

‘A brilliant and timely story, told with McDermid’s verve, style and passion. I couldn’t stop turning the pages, even when I could barely take the tension. Wonderful.’ Denise Mina

It’s the summer solstice weekend, and 150,000 people descend on a farm in the northeast of England for an open-air music festival. At first, a spot of rain seems to be the only thing dampening the fun – until a mystery bug appears. Before long, the illness is spreading at an electrifying speed and seems resistant to all antibiotics. Can journalist Zoe Meadows track the outbreak to its source, and will a cure be found before the disease becomes a pandemic?

A heart-racing thriller, Resistance imagines a nightmare pandemic that seems only too credible in the wake of COVID-19. Number one bestseller and queen of crime Val McDermid has teamed up with illustrator Kathryn Briggs to create a masterful graphic novel.

Review:

Journalist Zoe Meadows went to a music festival in Scotland to report on it. She didn’t expect the festival to be the start of a worldwide pandemic. The first cases can be traced back to Zoe’s friend’s food truck. Since Zoe was at the site of the start of the pandemic, so she wants to investigate it herself. The world is in a race against the disease before it takes over the word.

I believe this story was originally written before the pandemic, but it is so creepy to read now. I’ve learned more about pandemics and viruses in the last year than I ever thought I would know. This story seemed much more plausible than if I had read it years ago.

The disease in this story took over in a different way than Covid-19 did in our world. It was more difficult for the medical experts to treat and figure out the disease in the story. I think we were very lucky to have a vaccine developed so quickly. The characters in the graphic novel weren’t so lucky.

I loved the art in this graphic novel. Each page was a separate piece of art. The images were coloured with shades of black, white, and gray. The backgrounds were often collages of different scenes or newspaper articles, but they related to the subject matter in the story on that particular page. This kind of patchwork art reflected the way the characters had to piece together the disease and how to fight it.

Resistance is an honest graphic novel about a global pandemic.

Thank you Grove Atlantic for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

We All Fall Down by Daniel Kalla

An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim

Have you read Resistance? What did you think of it?

Review: Pizazz

Title: Pizazz
Author: Sophy Henn
Genre: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel, Science Fiction
Publisher: Aladdin
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback arc
Release Date: June 1, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Discover the annoying side of being a superhero from snarky, reluctant hero Pizazz in this hilarious and highly illustrated new series for young middle graders—perfect for fans of Dog Man and Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

Most people think superhero work is awesome and fulfilling. Pizazz knows better. Whenever she’s in the middle of a movie or having fun with her friends, she has to dash off the save the world. And she’s always in the same outfit, including an embarrassing glittery cape, and the wedgies are unreal. Plus, being the good guy all the time is so not easy. Superheroes have bad days like everybody else, but Pizazz always has to be cheerful and noble and brave. More than anything, she just wants to be normal.

Review:

Pizazz is a superhero, but it isn’t easy. She has to dash off to fight villains while she’s with friends or even while she’s sleeping. And she always has to go to school the next day. Pizazz has to put on a happy face, because she’s a superhero who saves the world, even if she’s having a bad day. Plus, she thinks she has the worst superpower ever, but she has to use it sometimes to defeat villains. Even though Pizazz doesn’t like being a superhero, she’s always there to help her superhero family.

This was a fun superhero story. Pizazz feels like a lot of middle graders, which is uncomfortable with herself. She doesn’t like her place in her family because everyone else has a better superpower than her, even her little sister. She had to start at a new school so she didn’t feel included by the kids in her new class. Pizazz wanted to fit in with the popular kids, like her sister did, but she didn’t. Though most middle graders aren’t superheroes, I think a lot of them can relate to feeling out of place during that time in their life.

There were a few funny moments in this book. Pizazz and her family had a dog that would report to them on what villain they had to go fight. They had to fight unusual villains. There was Twerknado, who would twerk and destroy the city. There was also Goo Go, who was a giant baby fighting with baby toys. Pizazz’s secret superpower was saved and only revealed at the end of the book, so that was a funny part since she hated it so much but always ended up using it.

Pizazz is a fun start to a new series!

Thank you Simon Kids for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

How to Be a Supervillain by Michael Fry

Have you read Pizazz? What did you think of it?

Review: A Universe of Wishes

Title: A Universe of Wishes: A We Need Diverse Books Anthology
Author: Dhonielle Clayton (editor)
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction, LGBT, Short Stories
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Source: Purchased from Owlcrate
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: December 8, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

From We Need Diverse Books, the organization behind Flying Lessons & Other Stories, comes a young adult fantasy short story collection featuring some of the best own-voices children’s authors, including New York Times bestselling authors Libba Bray (The Diviners), Victoria Schwab (A Darker Shade of Magic), Natalie C. Parker (Seafire), and many more. Edited by Dhonielle Clayton (The Belles).

In the fourth collaboration with We Need Diverse Books, fifteen award-winning and celebrated diverse authors deliver stories about a princess without need of a prince, a monster long misunderstood, memories that vanish with a spell, and voices that refuse to stay silent in the face of injustice. This powerful and inclusive collection contains a universe of wishes for a braver and more beautiful world.

AUTHORS INCLUDE: Samira Ahmed, Libba Bray, Dhonielle Clayton, Zoraida Córdova, Tessa Gratton, Kwame Mbalia, Anna-Marie McLemore, Tochi Onyebuchi, Mark Oshiro, Natalie C. Parker, Rebecca Roanhorse, Victoria Schwab, Tara Sim, Nic Stone, and a to-be-announced debut author/short-story contest winner

Review:

This is a collection of fantasy and science fiction stories written by diverse authors. These stories had characters of a variety of races, religions, and gender identities.

I used to think that I didn’t like short stories because the ones I read in school were literary and complicated to understand. If I had been introduced to collections like this book when I was younger, I would have read many more short stories before now!

Two of the stories are from the worlds of fantasy book series. The Scarlet Woman: A Gemma Doyle Story by Libby Bray is from the Gemma Doyle series. A Royal Affair by V.E. Schwab is from the Shades of Magic series. I’ve only read the Shades of Magic series, so it was fun to see this story from before the events of the series. I really want to read the Gemma Doyle series after reading that story.

I enjoyed all of these stories. I would read any of them if they were expanded into a full length novel. I had only read a handful of these authors before. I will definitely be reading more of the authors that were new to me.

I highly recommend this collection to YA fantasy and science fiction readers!

What to read next:

Vampires Never Get Old; Tales With Fresh Bite by Zoraida Córdova and Natalie C. Parker (editors)

Fresh Ink: An Anthology by Lamar Giles (editor)

Have you read A Universe of Wishes? What did you think of it?

Review: Stargazer

Title: Stargazer
Author: Anthony Cleveland
Genre: Graphic Novel, Science Fiction
Publisher: Mad Cave Studios
Source: Diamond Book Distributors via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: May 11, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Years ago Shae, her brother Kenny, and two childhood friends experienced a traumatic, unexplainable event that left Kenny scarred for life. Kenny commits himself to the belief that what they experienced was an alien abduction. Twenty years later and the friends have since drifted apart, but the sudden, mysterious disappearance of Kenny leads the group to reunite and discover the truth of what took place all those years ago.

Review:

When they were in middle school, Shae, her brother Kenny, and her two friends had an alien encounter that left her brother scarred for life. He had an accident and became obsessed with alien abductions. Now, twenty years later, Kenny mysteriously disappears, and only Shae and her friends have the key to finding him.

This was an entertaining story. There was a lot of mystery around the alien abduction when they were kids. It seemed like it really happened, but they were young so no one believed them. Even when they got older, Shae had to wonder if it really happened. Once her brother went missing as an adult, she had no choice but to believe he had actually been abducted by aliens.

This story alternated between the present and twenty years ago when the kids first encountered the aliens. The first time this happened, the two timelines were labeled so it was easy to see the time jump. However, the other times there wasn’t a label to indicate that the time period was changing. It was a little confusing to get used to at first. The older timeline had illustrations in more pink colours and the present story was in blue colours, which made it a little easier to tell them apart. It would have been a smoother transition if each jump in time was labeled.

I really enjoyed this sci fi graphic novel!

Thank you Diamond Book Distributors for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Villainous by Stonie Williams

Dark One, Vol. 1 by Brandon Sanderson, Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly

Have you read Stargazer? What did you think of it?

Review: Victories Greater Than Death (Unstoppable #1)

Title: Victories Greater Than Death (Unstoppable #1)
Author: Charlie Jane Anders
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, LGBT
Publisher: Tor Teen
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 13, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Outsmart Your Enemies. Outrun the Galaxy.

Tina never worries about being ‘ordinary’—she doesn’t have to, since she’s known practically forever that she’s not just Tina Mains, average teenager and beloved daughter. She’s also the keeper of an interplanetary rescue beacon, and one day soon, it’s going to activate, and then her dreams of saving all the worlds and adventuring among the stars will finally be possible. Tina’s legacy, after all, is intergalactic—she is the hidden clone of a famed alien hero, left on Earth disguised as a human to give the universe another chance to defeat a terrible evil.

But when the beacon activates, it turns out that Tina’s destiny isn’t quite what she expected. Things are far more dangerous than she ever assumed. Luckily, Tina is surrounded by a crew she can trust, and her best friend Rachel, and she is still determined to save all the worlds. But first she’ll have to save herself.

Buckle up your seatbelt for this thrilling sci-fi adventure set against an intergalactic war from international bestselling author Charlie Jane Anders.

Review:

Tina Mains isn’t an ordinary girl. She was raised by her mother on Earth, but she was actually sent to her mother as an alien clone. Tina was given human DNA so she could blend in on Earth. Now, teenage Tina is being called up to space to fulfill her destiny and return to the role as Captain Thaoh, the person she was cloned from. However, the procedure to return Thaoh’s memories to Tina doesn’t go as planned, so she can’t take on the role of captain. She ends up bringing her best friend Rachael up to space with her, where they join the space crew on an adventure to save all the worlds in space.

This was a gender diverse story. Many of the characters in space were from different species, but they all introduced themselves with their name and then their preferred pronouns. I loved seeing this unity between the worlds, where they had the same form of introduction, even though each of the residents of the different worlds had different appearances and languages. I found this introduction funny at times when an enemy would introduce themself. They would take the time to say their name and pronoun before announcing that they were going to attack. This created a delay in the attack, which could have been avoided without introducing themselves, but it shows how important gender diversity is to their world.

This story was also really funny. The beginning seemed like a comedy of errors when everything went wrong. When Tina was supposed to become the captain she was cloned from, the procedure went wrong so she remained the human Tina. This ruined all of their work of making sure Tina was raised to replace Captain Thaoh. This was followed by another funny scene where they tried to recruit intelligent humans to join the crew. The way they found humans that were smart enough to join them was through a puzzle app. However, the humans they found may have been good at a game on their phone, but they weren’t necessarily the smartest people on Earth. These are just a few of the funny parts of this book.

This was a fun science fiction story with a humorous twist. I can’t wait to read the next book!

Thank you Tor Teen for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Have you read Victories Greater Than Death? What did you think of it?