Reviewed By: newt5996
Review Date: 5/16/16 7:02 pm
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The first two installments of the Cat’s Cradle trilogy, while being good stories, don’t have any real overarching storyline except a mysterious silver cat that appears and the TARDIS malfunctioning. It is standard mystery box storytelling that happens in the New Series and fails when reveals don’t live up to the hype. It didn’t work with the three Clara Oswald’s identities in Series 7B or the reveal of Missy in Series 8. Moffat loves these kinds of stories but they rarely ever work and this trilogy is no exception. The cat’s true identity being revealed is saved for the very end of the novel and has no real impact on the story being told. The cat is a way for the TARDIS to heal itself from the damage it sustained from Time’s Crucible and that’s about it. Now I believe that the ending of a story is the most important part of the story, but when an ending has nothing to do with the story itself it can be forgiven if there is a good primary story attached to it.
Well Cat’s Cradle: Witch Mark doesn’t have that good of a story. It feels much like the Series 8 episode In the Forest of the Night which used classic literary allusions as a framework for the story. Witch Mark does pretty much the same thing, but singles out the literary work of two best friends from the 1950s. These are The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis and The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien with many classic mythological creatures showing up for good measure. What Andrew Hunt tries to do is to weave these creatures together with a portal to a different world in Wales of all places. The story tries to have the childlike whimsy of Narnia combined with an epic quest like Lord of the Rings. The plot becomes a rambling mess with a lot of self-references to some of the oddest stories. Hunt references Ace becoming a Cheetah Person in Survival and that beekeeper in Delta and the Bannermen. None of them really make any sort of sense and the story doesn’t flow. This is especially apparent when you read the first four chapters and prologue which are extremely dull and extremely long.
Again a lackluster story can be made up for if there are interesting characters to become attached to, but none of the supporting characters are particularly memorable in any real way. You would think with a cast comprised of Centaurs, Unicorns, humans, an investigative reporter, a werewolf-like creature, and some comedy Welshmen thrown in for good measure would have something to latch on to. The only bit of intrigue is the climax when one of the human characters shapeshifts and saves the day. The Doctor and Ace also get very little to do in the story except letting events play out before them. Hunt also doesn’t really understand the character of Ace. She doesn’t really feel like Ace at all, but just a random character. Her dialogue is atrocious with weird 80s colloquialisms that I don’t think people actually said during that decade. The Doctor also is hurt as he resembles his clownish persona of Season 24 and not the master manipulator of Seasons 25 and 26.