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Review: Doctor Who: The Drosten’s Curse by A. L. Kennedy August 24, 2015

Posted by sjroby in Book reviews, Doctor Who.

Another Netgalley review.

Well, that was different. But ultimately quite good.

A.L. Kennedy contributed one of the Time Trips short stories, The Death Pit, a quirky Fourth Doctor story with more than a hint of Douglas Adams. This novel begins with story and expands considerably upon it, adding more characterization to its original characters. It drags a bit at times, and becomes perhaps rather less of a Douglas Adams type of thing — or at least less of the kind of thing people seem to think of when they think of Adams. The side of his work that deals with love and sadness rather than his unique style of humour is still present.

Ultimately, it’s a monster story about a monster that would rather not be one, and a story about people who are better than they realize, and the Doctor who helps them get there.

Though the stories couldn’t be much different, I found myself thinking of the title of a Harlan Ellison story, The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World. What starts off as quirkily funnily horrific and becomes genuinely darkly horrific for a while becomes touchingly emotional.

I’ve read some criticisms of the book from people who were grumpy that they wouldn’t have bought The Death Pit if they’d known this was coming… well, it was a bit odd, but it doesn’t tell you anything about whether it’s a good story, does it? Likewise people complaining about it not getting Douglas Adams right… that may not be exactly what Kennedy is trying to do. As I’ve mentioned above, I thought the pacing was a bit off, with a bit too much time on some parts of the story and not enough on others. But by the time I reached the end I found it a satisfying and entertaining tale that captured the Doctor well and introduced some new characters I wouldn’t mind seeing again.



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