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Reviews By St. Xtofer
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Avg Rating:
7

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From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
7
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6
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9
Replay Rating:
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Reviewed By: St. XtoferReview Date: 4/13/16 10:18 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

A solid beginning to the Master trilogy. For starters, it doesn't fall prey to the conventional trappings of a Master story. We know from the very start that the Master is involved. There's nobody wondering around with a familiar voice and an obvious moniker just to have a big reveal at the end of episode two that, yes, of course, it's the Master. As if that little nugget wasn't given away with the title and cover. Secondly, when the Doctor shows up, he doesn't for a minute take it for granted that the Master is actually dead. We all know the Master is absolutely rubbish at dying. The Doctor even shows his desperation and panic at the nearness of the Master with his willingness to dig up a grave.

The Master ends up being a mirror of the Fifth Doctor in that he ends up with his own little Scooby-do gang of youngsters which he totally manipulates to his own ends. The difference between him and the Doctor in this case being that the Master doesn't bother making any pretense that he's not manipulating them.

The inclusion of the bug things and the androids didn't do a lot for the story other than provide some action but they did fulfill that role well enough.

All in all, a solid story. I'd rate it more of a three and a half really but I'll give it the extra bump for it being a set-up story. That and Geoffrey Beavers is always just friggin' awesome as the Master.
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User Rating:
3
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8
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Reviewed By: St. XtoferReview Date: 4/7/16 4:43 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

I've been less than impressed the new series novels to this point and this one, despite a fair bit of hype, did little to change my mind. The story is pretty pedestrian. The heroes chase around a McGufffin rock that unlocks a pyramid build by ancient aliens that could, for no particularly good reason, destroy all of time and space.

The story is mostly told in a series of admittedly well written action scenes separated by long bouts of tiresome and cliché Doctor/Companion banter and tedious lists of trivial detail that seem to be meant to serve as setting and mood. The baddies were basic stereotype alien hitmen and con artists and there was an extremely annoying habit of referring to 'Kik the Assassin' as the full moniker of 'Kik the Assassin' every single friggin' time she's mentioned. We get it. She's an assassin.

The author also makes it clear that he is pouting about the fact they wouldn't let him use River Song. I'm glad they didn't. The book is already laden with a lot of tiresome banter and to throw River's constant flirtations and innuendo into the mix would likely have tipped the scales from annoying to unbearable. Benny was one of the few bright spots. Her character was actually pretty well written and interesting. On the other hand, the Twelfth Doctor was portrayed as a smarmy, unloveable git. The rest of the protagonists seemed like hold-overs from a Goosebumps novel about aliens. Extremely kiddie-ish and two dimensional.

This book really only has two things going for it. First, the very welcome return of Bernice Summerfield. Second, Lisa Bowerman does fantastic narration. I wish they'd given her and Benny a better story.
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User Rating:
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Reviewed By: St. XtoferReview Date: 4/7/16 4:40 pm
2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

So far I've read about 70 Doctor Who books over several ranges. Not only will I say that this is probably my absolute favorite so far, I'll say it is going to be a hard one to top for sure.

Like many, I saw the 10th Doctor TV version of this before delving into the novel and it is also one of my favorite episodes of the new series. It pales in comparison to the book. While the basics of the story are all there, the novel is sufficiently different from the TV version that you lose very little from the novel.

The story is an exploration of what it is to be the Doctor and what it is to be a human. The story is interesting, engaging and extremely original and the characters are so well wrought that you can't help but feel for them. This story takes everything good about a Doctor Who story and runs with it. Absolutely fantastic. One of the best reads ever.

I listened to the audio version of this and it must be added that not only is it one of the best produced audio novels I've had the pleasure of listening to, complete with sound effects and great background music, but Lisa Bowerman does one of the most superb jobs narrating ever.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
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Reviewed By: St. XtoferReview Date: 4/7/16 4:37 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

Conceptually speaking, this story could have been really good. The story itself and the monster were pretty interesting and original. However, it was so poorly executed as to make it a massive disappointment.

The prose is rambling, verbose and tangential throughout the book. It's obviously meant to be quaint or witty like Adams or Wodehouse but instead it actually comes of as neither and is instead often boring and even irritating. This applies to a lot of the first person perspective in the story and despite the ample amount of insight into the small cast of main characters , they still come off as two dimensional clichés.

And padding, padding and more padding. There are long sections of long, trivial dialogue and description that are neither entertaining or pertinent to the plot. And the final confrontation(s) with the monster goes on and on and on well past the point where I even gave a damn anymore. At one point I thought it must nearly be over, only to realize that there was still over 2 1/2 hours left. Complete slog. I almost DNF'ed and I never do that with Doctor Who books.

As if all that weren't enough, I listened to the audio book which was poorly produced. The narration was quite good but there was this frequent, terrible and incongruous ambient music that kept drowning out the narration. And it would pop in often for no particularly obvious reason. Also at multiple points you get to listen to the cloister bell gong loudly and monotonously for long stretches as you struggle to hear and focus on the narration. At one point this went on in excess of half an hour.

I would advise skipping this altogether, but if you must, DO NOT get the audio book.

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