Once again, BBC Books gives us a fine example of entertaining storytelling with their ninth Doctor book, The Monsters Inside by Stephen Cole. I’m not saying it’s a literary masterpiece or anything, but it’s well written and contains an interesting plot and intriguing characters.

monsters inside coverThe story finds the Doctor and Rose being brought to a planet that they quickly find out is a prison planet. They are of course arrested for being in the wrong place at the wrong time and find themselves inmates. But it isn’t just the planet that’s the prison, it’s the whole solar system. Rose, being a normal human, is shut away with the rest of the human lowlifes, while the Doctor is taken to a planet where the scientists and aliens are kept. The adventure begins as the Doctor and Rose try to find their way back to each other. Along the way, a few natives of the planet Raxacoricofallapatorius interfere with the Doctor’s reunion.

One of the more interesting elements of this story is being able to see how Rose handles herself without the Doctor being around to save her. She is separated from the Doctor for much of the book, and has to deal with aggressive inmates and overzealous guards.

Stephen Cole also introduces us to a few new characters in this book. For the most part, they are stereotypical of what you might find in any prison film, but for a short novel like this, you don’t have much space to spend on secondary characters, when you need to be focusing on the Doctor and Rose. The scientific warder, Dr. Flowers, was perhaps the most developed supporting character in the book, and functioned well as a sounding board for the Doctor. Oddly enough, Cole didn’t really capture the Doctor and Rose’s personalities that well. Maybe it was because the series was still new at that point or that Christopher Eccelston didn’t have time to develop the definitive traits that David Tennant has, but there was a spark missing in their portrayal.

In the end, I would have to say I liked the The Monsters Inside, but then of course, I’ve said that about all of these Doctor Who books.