Review: “Doctor Who: The Drosten’s Curse,” A.L. Kennedy

Pros: Interesting plot
Cons: Too precious; too much inside the Doctor’s head
Rating: 3 out of 5

I love Doctor Who, but I lost track of it after Eccleston. I’m more familiar with the Doctors of my childhood: four, five… somewhere around there. So I was pleased to see that Doctor Who: The Drosten’s Curse is a fourth Doctor novel (Tom Baker, big scarf). He wasn’t my favorite Doctor, but I did enjoy watching him. This is the first Doctor Who book that I have read, which is kind of surprising, but there it is.

In this tale, the Doctor finds himself at a golf course that appears to be eating people. The young receptionist, Bryony, ends up helping him, as does a young, easily-embarrassed alien named Putta, who happens to be head-over-heels for Bryony. Unfortunately, the hungry golf course is the least of their worries. People are starting to hear others’ thoughts, which is never a good thing. There’s also a creepy pair of twins involved, and an old lady who is obsessed with octopuses.

Altogether I didn’t really enjoy this novel, which surprised me. In some ways it felt a bit too twee. It felt self-consciously whimsical and silly. It also tried to get inside the Doctor’s head. While I’m sure this can be done well, I didn’t like it at all. Part of the fourth Doctor’s charm, for me, was the fact that his thinking was a bit opaque. He often seemed just a tad bit off the rails, and that’s hard to capture well when exploring someone’s thoughts.

I wouldn’t think that the twee nature of the narrative plus the author’s attempt to get into the fourth Doctor’s head would turn me off so much, but well, it did. I had difficulty feeling engaged with the novel, and until things got more tense at the end I found it all too easy to set the book down. I didn’t even particularly want to write a review of it, because most of what I have to say about it boils down to the fact that it made me feel ‘meh’.


This book was provided free for review by Blogging for Books.

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