It’s quite an apt tittle really. It’s the first full length novel to feature the universe travelling Iris Wildthyme, who by the looks of it has been on several adventures already, and for me it was my entry into her mad life (which it can be for anyone else who reads it too). So not only does Iris enter the novel readers can enter into Iris. And I don’t mean that in a smutty way. She’s way too old for a start…
… I don’t want to give the wrong impression there isn’t anything smutty about Enter Wildthyme but there is buckets of fun placed on piles of adventure. And sometimes you just need a romp. I know I did. The outside world isn’t looking the best as I’m writing this but Paul Magrs took me on a proper journey. You see Magrs is one of those writers that gets people but doesn’t lecture or allow the darkness to take over.
There are dark moments here but Iris and her traveling companion Panda (who really is a Panda and toy shaped) along with new Celestial Omnibus passengers Simon (who returns to Darlington only to dragged across time and space) and the vending machine called Barbara (who despite her bulk quite handy in fighting off killer beasts).
Curiously Iris Wildthyme (according to Wikipedia) has had quite a career before teaming up with Dr Who and then going her own way again. She’s one of those characters I’ve heard about, much like Bernice Summerfield (though she started out as a New Adventures companion rather than being her own character), who I’ve wanted to read because of the Dr Who connection and curious as to how the work on there own.
And boy is Iris a character, she is mysterious (though we get a peek at her origins here), she is lively (drinking and singing songs that are only whispered in Bars as fables) and most importantly she is an adventurer. Now I’ve mentioned Dr Who and you can’t escape that there is going to be some comparisons.
Not only because the no 22 Celestial Omnibus has very TARDIS like qualities (I’m still a little confused how you fit a vending machine in one easily) but because of the nature of Iris. She shares the Doctors meddling tendencies but it also feels like universe has chosen her to be a ‘hero’.
I’m already a fan of another series of Paul’s, the Effie and Brenda Mysteries, so the thought of reading Enter Wildthyme gave me mixed feelings, could I like another of his creations? Am I fan of Paul’s or just Effie and Brenda? It’s not as daft as it sounds. Think Terry Pratchett I love his Discworld books but find it hard to care about his others. And there are other series by writers that I love because I love the characters.
In fact Iris is like that because she’s been allowed to slip into the hands of others and she is a force herself rather than a puppet of her creator but I have a feeling that her creator knows her best.
So what about the story? It starts with the loss of a glass jar and ends with… well that would telling but I literally couldn’t believe it stopped where it did. Talk about cliff hanger.
The characters get used interesting ways from the baddie of the piece that really needs to stop murmuring all the time to Magda, who is left holding fort (not very successfully) whilst everyone else has been kidnapped or off saving the universe. Nothing feels cardboard. Everyone has their own lives, which probable could be much less exciting if Iris hadn’t come into them.
But I for one am excited that Iris Wildthyme stopped her Celestial Omnibus and picked me up. I’m quite in spin still. Why don’t you come aboard? You know you what to.
PS: It’s not officially out until 1 May but I see Amazon have it in-stock so why haven’t you bought it yet 😉