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Mindless violence without plot or characterisation
on 4 February 2013
This is one of the most disappointing Doctor Who novels. Firstly because it isn't very well written (there is a lack of characterisation, the plot is flimsy and the structure of the text is often irritating) and secondly because it really doesn't feel like it is a Doctor Who story.
There is undoubtedly an over excess of violence. Even though the nature of the storyline necessitates a certain level of violence, most of it still seems very unnecessary. At times the story is little more than a string of gruesome acts. There is nothing wrong with violence in Doctor Who of course, and it has always been a part of it to some extent. However, Doctor Who has never really been gratuitously violent or concentrated on the type of horror gore this novel indulges in. The book feels as if it is a failed attempt to emulate something like `The Dark' or `The Fog' by James Herbert and that the Doctor and Unit have just been fitted into this story.
The Doctor doesn't really have much of a role and the characterisation of the Third Doctor is completely wrong. Sergeant Benton does little more than hang around in the background and the Brigadier is very two dimensional, completely lacking Nicholas Courtney's take on the role. Jo and Mike get a bit more to do and are allowed some character development but they too feel as if the author only has the most basic grasp of their characters. Apart from Kane, who is easily the best characterised, the other characters of the novel don't get much development. Even the main villain is very uninspiring.
There isn't much that happens in the book and the narrative often feels like it is just moving from one gruesome, bloodthirsty scene to the next. There are a lot of sections of the book where the text is divided into many small chunks. This was probably done to inject a sense of pace but because all these small sections are just filled with violence they just become a list of horrific acts which soon becomes quite tedious.
This is not a book to recommend if you like Doctor Who or horror stories. It is a weird hybrid of the two that doesn't really work.