This is a blog with spoiler free reviews. Most will be Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Horror, but there will be some books in other genres, including the occasional Non-Fiction review. There is an ongoing series of Cover Reveal Round-Ups, and sometimes I'll write an article on something that interests me.

22 April, 2014

REVIEW: DOCTOR WHO: A HANDFUL OF STARDUST


DOCTOR WHO:
A HANDFUL OF STARDUST
TIME TRIPS BOOK 5
BY
JAKE ARNOTT

ISBN: 978-1-44814-185-2
Pages: 34
Publisher: BBC Books/Ebury Publishing
Published: 3 April 2014

On the cover:
(From the publisher's website.)

The TARDIS is diverted to England in 1572, and the Sixth Doctor and Peri meet John Dee – ‘mathematician, astrologer, alchemist, magician, and the greatest mind of our time’. (‘Only of your time?’, the Doctor asks, unimpressed.) But what brought them here? When the Doctor discovers that Dee and his assistant have come across a ‘great disturbance in the cosmos, in the constellation of Cassiopeia,’ he realizes that they are all in terrible danger.


    From the cover copy above it is easy to draw the conclusion that this will be a pretty much straight forward Doctor Who adventure where the Doctor encounters  something wrong in the past that needs fixing. It is however a little bit misleading, and I don't mean that in any bad way. There is just that there is quite a bit more to it than that, and that bit gives this story a little extra. I don't want to give anyone any spoilers, but I think many will get a kick out of discovering who turns up here.

   I immediately took interest in this novella from the moment I saw John Dee's name attached to it. Dee's appearance is much more than just a gimmick, the story actually centres around the alchemist, and his assistant. Interestingly, there is a feeling that this time what the Doctor does actually has a real impact in our history. I found that a nice touch. (No, not saying any more: Spoilers!)
   However the above mentioned isn't the main part of the story, that is left for another character. And it is nice to see that character again, even if it is just briefly. This briefness is something that should be mentioned. The story is very short, and that makes it feel a bit rushed. It isn't really though, there is nothing missing from the narrative as such, and I can't say that I felt that more was needed to make the story complete. It was more of a feeling that this was over too quickly, compliment to the authors skill actually.

   Arnott is without doubt a skilled writer. He manages to create a lot of suspense and adventure in few pages here. There is plenty happening in a short space here, without, as previously mentioned, the story feeling rushed. For someone who has limited knowledge of the classic incarnations of the Doctor, (that's me - more about that at a later date,) this worked very well. The Sixth Doctor doesn't get that much description, but I still felt that I got a sense of how he is.
   There is more that could be said about this story, but I want to stick with having spoiler free reviews on the blog, so there isn't really anything left that I feel needs commenting on. 

   Overall this is a very good, and quite short story. It is a full Doctor Who adventure though, there is nothing missing from it. The things I haven't mentioned in my review, because of the "no spoilers" policy, is something I think will be very welcome to both new and old Doctor Who fans. Anyone with interest in John Dee and his doings should also find this interesting. Even with its short length I have no doubts about recommending anyone who likes Doctor Who getting this story. And those that enjoy short Science Fiction should also find this satisfying.

NOTE: I got an e-ARC of this from the publisher/NetGalley.

REVIEWS: Click here for a full list of Doctor Who reviews.

LINKS: Jake Arnott   Ebury Publishing

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