Two men have died in the opening chapters of Silhouette. Both had been to visit The Carnival of Curiosities earlier that day. Connection enough for the Paternoster trio to investigate. The Doctor and Clara arrive in Victorian England, investigating a power spike, while enjoying the sights of the carnival and sampling its food. Re-reading this I don’t know why I did not catch on, the character of Oswald, a tutor – mirroring Clara. That should have been the first red flag. I liked the origami birds too and they were another clue. ‘Wood-pulp scum!’ Strax calls them, when he has to fend them off attacking himself and Clara. Milton is the villain, who is wanted by The Shadow Proclamation and he is using people from the carnival to work for him. This is exploitation that would have been a real possibility for the people during this time. I liked that one of Milton’s puppets, Affinity, assumed the previous incarnations of the Doctor. I thought that was an original way of including them in the story. It was amusing how they could not stop the Doctor. He basically thought they were a bunch of people that kept stopping him in the street, trying to distract him.
Vastra walks straight into a trap. This is where Silhouette comes across as a story for younger readers because the characters are required to walk into situations that are daft. Vastra doesn’t come across well here. That said, where is the Paternoster spin off? I want a spin off with these 3 characters.
I must mention too Lee Binding’s cover design. I like the front cover of Silhouette. It’s fitting for the story and it captures the small details in the book.
‘Good grief, man,’ the gentleman announced. ‘Is no one in this entire city capable of walking in a straight line?’ The man drew himself up to his full, rather impressive height and glared at the Doctor. ‘I wouldn’t have thought I was exactly hard to miss.’ He was right – dressed like that in a ruffled shirt, purple velvet smoking jacket, and scarlet-lined cape. He stood with his hands on his hips regarding the Doctor from beneath an impressive bouffant of white hair.SILHOUETTE BY JUSTIN RICHARDS
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