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"It's just about tea-time on November 23rd, 1963, and the fun's about to start!",
This review is from: Shroud of Sorrow (Doctor Who) (Dr Who) (Hardcover)
Out of the three books released this year, this was the one I was most looking forward to reading, because not only is it set on the day after the assassination of President John F Kennedy, which just so happens to be the date that Doctor Who started - but it is also the only one of the three (and to my understanding, the only one of this year) to feature Jenna-Louise Coleman's Clara.
I had never heard of Tommy Donbavand before reading this book, and as I understand it, he is completely new to the Doctor Who writing range. This book could have either gone really, really well - or really, really bad, but thankfully it is the first.
It is clear that Donbavand is a Doctor Who fan, as he gets the dialogue for the Doctor and Clara exactly right. There are some lines in here that are typically 'the Doctor' but you can never imagine them being said, as the Doctor would never be in the situations (yes, the baby delivering scene was probably my highlight of the book,I laughed out loud). But this is a book - and it's relatively long (249 pages, to be exact), which enables Donbavand to push Doctor Who to a new level, and he does. The book is much darker than any episode would normally be, and there is a lot of death (a LOT of death). There's even a few uses of the word 'bastard' in there - Oh, and Clara gets covered in sea-water that smells of avocado and strips out of her wet clothes to change into some dry ones too (now, THAT would not happen in an episode)
This novel is highly appropriate for the 50th year, with many, many callbacks to the classic series including Totter's Lane, the Fast-Return switch, the Doctor dressing up and impersonating the Brigadier, and the third Doctor's famous line "Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow!", heck - there's even a whole chapter devoted to past companions!
I was worried that the ending had been messed up by the sudden appearance of two (well, more actually) clowns, but my concern was soon gone when I realized that the clowns had a more meaningful purpose to the story than to just 'be there to break the tension'.
I loved the ending as well - just when you think it's all worked out, it's suddenly left open for a possible sequel that will never get written. Or will it? Mr Donbavand, I am looking at YOU...
Oh, and - another one of my highlights from this novel - "It's just about tea-time on November 23rd, 1963 and the fun's about to start!" - That line just wrote ITSELF! :D