‘The Planet of Oblivion’ (DSL) (Book)


Please feel free to comment on my review.

Dravidians and the Eternity Crystal with the Tenth Doctor and Gisella

It’s time for insect aliens aboard a space station in orbit of a planet!

‘The Planet of Oblivion’ is the seventh book in ‘The Darksmith Legacy’ series!  Overall, these ‘Doctor Who’ books linked together by the quest for the Eternity Crystal have been very gripping to read. I have enjoyed these stories, featuring the Tenth Doctor with his latest short-time companion Gisella.

At this point, I am curious about how the Tenth Doctor and Gisella will thwart the Darksmith Collective and destroy the Eternity Crystal forever. It does seem to be a long way to go, but with three books left after this seventh one, I’m sure ‘The Darksmith Legacy’ will finish on a thrilling note.

Anyway, let’s talk about ‘The Planet of Oblivion’. The story has the TARDIS takes the Doctor and Gisella to the planet Ursulonamex, which is also called ‘the planet of oblivion’. The planet used to be a pleasant place with lush jungles. Now the planet has been turned to a charred and scorched mess.

The Doctor and Gisella’s investigations of that planet lead them to a space station in orbit called Orbit Station 3. Our heroes have to help the survivors of the scorched planet who are already receiving help from the insect-like Dravidians. But the Dravidians aren’t as sincere in their assistance.

I must admit, I was a bit underwhelmed by this ‘Doctor Who’ adventure when I read it. This is a shame, since Justin Richards has done so well in ‘The Darksmith Legacy’ series with stories like ‘The Dust of Ages’ and ‘The Depths of Despair’. Certain elements do get tied up rather well in this though.

I suppose my disappointment came when we were spending a lot of time aboard the space station rather than on the planet itself. The story is called ‘The Planet of Oblivion’, right? I had hoped the Doctor and Gisella would return to meet up with the few inhabitants they met earlier on the planet.

The story was also rather restricted with it being aboard a space station and eventually becoming a base-under-siege tale. I suppose I should be grateful that this is a straight-forward story and not an overly complicated one, but I think I’ve had quite a surfeit of base-under-siege tales in ‘Doctor Who’.

As with previous ‘Darksmith Legacy’ stories in the series, ‘The Planet of Oblivion’ is divided into 10 chapters. There are 4 activity pages for kids to enjoy when solving puzzles in the book and getting to think like the Doctor. There are also TARDIS data bank pages on two major aspects of this adventure.

There’s a TARDIS data bank page on the Forests of Ursulonamex and there’s one on the Dravidians. Surprisingly, the Dravidians TARDIS data bank page is after the story ended. I would’ve thought it’d be placed in the middle of the book for readers to get an idea of who the Dravidians were in the story.

The Tenth Doctor is very well-written in these ‘Darksmith Legacy’ books and I like how Justin Richards writes for him. He also does well with writing the interaction between David Tennant’s Doctor and Gisella. This is essential since Justin Richards created Gisella in ‘The Depths of Despair’. 🙂

Gisella has become a loyal companion character for the Tenth Doctor, despite being an android. It’s interesting how she’s ended up being a companion compared to her first appearance in ‘The Depths of Despair’. I wonder what it would’ve been like if Gisella had a life after this book series concluded.

Other characters featured in this book include the crewmembers aboard Orbit Station 3 such as Commander Sarla, Lieutenant Jagellan and Chief Engineer Tyrall. They’re of the planet Ursulonamex and happen to be green-skinned. They’re also rather trusting of the Dravidians at this story’s beginning.

The Dravidians are led by Hive Captain Mantis. At first, they seem to be benign and willing to help the natives of Ursulonamex during their predicament. But it’s when the Doctor and Gisella notice that they keep checking the space station’s oxygen levels that their true motives are revealed in this.

Some of the scenes where the Doctor and Gisella are exploring the Dravidians’ ship are tense, especially when they have to pass through curtains of organic material. It would make for tense spooky drama if ‘The Darksmith Legacy’ books became audios by Big Finish, which would be great. 🙂

Actually, now I come to think of it, why haven’t Big Finish adapted ‘The Darksmith Legacy’ book series into audios yet. I think it would be great with David Tennant back as the Tenth Doctor. I wonder who would play Gisella though. It would have to be a very good actress to play her for audio.

I did think the story ended on a rushed climax. But then again, most ‘Doctor Who’ stories tend to do that. It also would be confusing for the reader who didn’t know what the answer to the previous activity page was before the final chapter. Then again, kid readers might’ve read the book in one go.

The story concludes with the Doctor and Gisella saving Orbit Station 3 from the Dravidians and returning to the TARDIS. But once the Doctor leaves Gisella in the TARDIS to check on the oxygen levels, he’s caught by a Dreadbringer who places him under arrest. What will happen next I wonder.

At the end of the book, there’s an excerpt from the eighth book in ‘The Darksmith Legacy’ series called ‘The Pictures of Emptiness’ to look forward to. Please bear in mind, the ‘Collected’ Party at the end of the book is out of date since October 2009 is over. A pity! I would’ve liked to have joined in. 😀

‘The Planet of Oblivion’ has been an enjoyable read. I wouldn’t say it was a great instalment, due to spending more time on a space station than on ‘the planet of oblivion’. Also the base-under-siege format seems to get overused nowadays. But I liked how the Doctor and Gisella tackled the Dravidians.

‘The Planet of Oblivion’ (DSL) rating – 7/10

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