Martha in the Mirror
By DJ Forrest
Written by Justin Richards
Published 2008 for BBC Books
Castle Extremis – whoever holds it can control the provinces either side that have been at war for centuries.
I can never fault the imagination of Justin Richards. Not once. Ever. And once again he proves the point. I enjoyed this story from the very beginning to the very end – even if I did have to read the beginning in daylight because from the very first page, I had a feeling I was going to have nightmares.
The story has that kind of feeling you’ve read something similar before, and from the instant the man is shot in the first paragraph, to Janna and Tylda, and the goings on within the castle grounds, I had the feeling, it was very Harry Potter-ish. But that’s not a bad thing, because if you can recall something familiar, as it paints a picture in your mind of castle interiors and strange goings on, then it helps.
I also enjoyed the goings on of the two robots that I couldn’t help but imagine were the android versions of the Chuckle Brothers, and if I heard either of them saying ‘To Me’ ‘To you’ I’d have died laughing.
The 10th Doctor has brought Martha Jones to an adventure theme park, or an adventure theme park before it was even considered to be one. It’s at the very early stages of a peace treaty between the Zerugians – a reptilian race, not unlike a crocodile in features, and the Anthiums who seemed humanlike. The castle itself is at the ‘head of the Sarandon Passage. If either side (the Zerugma’s or the Anthiums) wish to rule over the other, they have to take the Castle first.’
So, someone did, very secretly, with a mirror that nobody thought existed. That everyone thought had been banished into deep space and destroyed.
It’s a really clever idea, and somewhat familiar if we think back to the girl with the red balloon in the Family of Blood story some time ago, with Martha and the 10th. It’s mentioned in the book.
The Mortal Mirror is meant to be a fake. A replica of the old. Merely just a one way mirror, nothing creepy about it at all. I like the idea behind the mechanics of the Mortal Mirror. It again reminded me of another Harry Potter scene in a later book. But again, this is a good thing as it builds on the imagination further.
I did get a little confused over the little girl Janna, but that was answered towards the end of the story.
And the very end of the story, there’s a little gem of a chapter that takes you by surprise, and leaves you wondering – did he really plan that? Wow!
Martha in the Mirror is an ingenious idea, and the fun and games within the pages, and the amount of thought that has gone into the story, the ideas, deserves the highest award. It’s fantastic, brilliant and I can’t wait to read another. Although, I’ll have to wait until the 11th incarnation for that to happen.