1 out of 1 found this review helpful.
Shroud of Sorrow is... peculiar.
My biggest frustration with the story was Clara. Perhaps it's just that we've been spoilt with character development for Clara in season 8, but the Clara in Shroud of Sorrow seems like an entirely different character... that is, when she doesn't feel entirely characterless. It's like the author was working (badly) off a character sheet that no longer applies.
The Doctor was equally patchy. Donbavand seems to think that whacky hijinks = Eleven. As formulas go it's not totally incorrect... but there's a very fine line between good and bad whackiness. Unfortunately, Shroud of Sorrow crosses the line one too many times. Things that could have been turned to gold by Matt Smith's capable hands, fall flat on the page when they don't have him to make them work.
Beyond that, the story was... good up until the Clowns?
I feel like there should be a pithy saying I should trot out here, but unfortunately I don't know that anyone has anything terribly pithy to say about clowns.
Still - prior to the clowns the story was rather good, (barring a very strange interlude at an avocado smelling sea... which, really? Avocado?) The Shroud were genuinely scary, and the extras being attacked were genuinely interesting.
But... then there were the clowns.
I don't know if it's just that I've been primed by pop culture to see clowns as symbols of terror (Steven King), and sadness (Send in the Clowns), or whether it's something more primal, but I just couldn't trust the fact that Shroud of Sorrow hinged on the clowns actually being funny. (What?!)
The point at which the clowns enter the story is the point at which Shroud of Sorrow lost me, which is sad, because if I hadn't decided to persist I would have missed some good stuff at the very end when the clowning around was (finally!) dialled back and the adventure got back on track.
Ultimately, I'm glad I listened to the story, but I won't really recommend it... mainly because characterisation is something I won't compromise on. If Clara had been on top form (... if Clara had been anything at all beyond a collection of adjectives (like 'controlling' and 'killjoy') who was never given anything to do), then I might be willing to overlook the fact Donbavand slightly overplayed his hand with Eleven.
As it is, both characters grated on me more than once throughout, meaning this doesn't get more than a 4/10.