Reviewed By: Drew Vogel
Review Date: 7/10/17 5:40 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.
At the time of writing, I haven't heard any of Iris's solo stories. I have only dim memories of the BBC "Doctor Who" novels she appeared in. In fact, this story was my first introduction to Katy Manning's Iris Wildthyme. Since then, I've gone back and heard "Excelis Dawns" and "The Plague Herds of Excelis", plus the Companion Chronicles "Find and Replace" and "The Elixir of Doom". I cannot imagine a story more suited to Iris than this. It was made for her, in more ways than one.
I mean...., two antagonistic factions of intelligent Tequila worms, which you can only communicate with by getting drunk? A story that takes place in a cozy little night club, where Iris gets to strut her stuff on stage as the new chanteuse? This material is perfect for Iris, and she takes right to it.
The first time I listened to it, I wasn't an Iris fan. As I said, I only dimly remember those old BBC books, but I dimly remember not thinking much of Iris at all. I went into this story expecting not to like it, only to be pleasantly surprised. You don't have to love Iris to love "The Wormery" (but it does help). It's an outstanding story. It's got a framing device that actually works (although I'm not at all sure why "Mr. Ashcroft" is so interested in Mickey's old tapes. It doesn't pull focus away from the main story (see "The Pirates" and "Master"), but enhances the main story by giving the audience a particular point-of-view. It allows Mickey to serve as a kind of narrator, which is a convenient way of handling some of the exposition.
But then there's the story itself. The reveal that Bianca's is not really in 1930s Berlin, the reveal of its true nature, and the ultimate reveal of Bianca's true identity, are all wonderfully handled. The story is also very funny, but it's the best kind of comedy, where the jokes never undermine the characters or the seriousness of what's at stake.
But mainly, it's a refreshingly entertaining palate-cleanser following that four-hour nightmare, "Zagreus".
"Iris, you're drunk."
"Of course I'm drunk! I'm always drunk!"