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on 21 November 2012
The Weeping Angels are the big success of 21st Century Doctor Who, since they made their debut in 2008's Blink. While old favourites like the Daleks and Cybermen have proved popular with new generations of fans, the original monsters created by the writers have just not grabbed attention in the same way, even though someone at the BBC clearly thought we ought to like the Slitheen from their countless appearances in the spin-off shows, books and merchandise.

No, it's the Angels that take the crown, the silent statues that move only when you're not looking at them, and teleport you back in time so that you age to death. Or break your neck, depending on the plot. Despite being deleted from time in 2010, they recently popped up at the end of 2012's run of episodes, to play out Amy and Rory Pond. A mysterious book written by Melody Malone was a major plot element of that adventure, and now Doctor Who novel stalwart Justin Richards has provided an ebook story of Melody's investigations in New York.

It's important to stress that this isn't a novelisation of Angels Take Manhattan. It's more of a prequel, really, and some of that episode's characters pop in and out. The Angel's Kiss is a bit of an oddity in that it's quite short, and written in fairly simple language, suggesting quite a young target audience. The odd thing is that Melody's internal monologue is constantly suggestive and full of innuendo that suggests a much older readership.

But fundamentally, The Angel's Kiss is a fun hour's read. It zips along, is frequently pretty amusing, and has a lot of fun casting "Melody" as a private eye, and inverting the gender roles accordingly. It doesn't shed any particularly important light on the events of this year's Doctor Who episode, but it's a nice little embellishment nonetheless.
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VINE VOICEon 2 November 2012
This is a great little short read which ties in nicely with the recent Doctor Who episode 'The Angels Take Manhattan.' Providing more information about the Weeping Angels and more background on Melody/River this is sure to be a hit with Doctor Who fans. The Weeping Angels are a wonderful creation and I'll guarantee that you'll never look at statues in quite the same way after you've seen them on TV or read about them in the Doctor Who books. Certainly I thought the ending of 'Blink' was extremely creepy and designed to mess with viewers heads.
Fans of River will not be disappointed with the opportunity to follow her on a solo adventure, with the chance to see how she operates without the Doctor and to find out how she fills her time between adventures with the Time Lord in her life. I for one am hoping for more Melody/River spin-off stories.
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on 29 May 2013
"...packing cleavage that could fell an ox at twenty feet..."

She's shameless; this Melody Malone `broad', packing more innuendo that you could shake a Colt .38 at and with a monopoly on sassiness that would even make Capt. Jack Harkness blush, Justin Richards' spin-off eBook, DOCTOR WHO: THE ANGEL'S KISS - A MELODY MALONE MYSTERY, is a riotous, blazing account that forms a tantalising prequel to SERIES 7's THE ANGELS TAKE MANHATTAN (2012) episode.

The novel, basically written by River Song under the pseudonym of Melody Malone, is, regrettably, short but a joyous distraction accompanied with a bottle of beer, a bag of Pork Scratchings sprinkled generously with salty irony; submerge yourself in the underworld - or under-garment - of gravity defying nylon stockings, of lift-and-separate brassieres that have more under-wiring suspension qualities than New York's Brooklyn Bridge, and of hallucinogenic lipsticks that have the death-defying puckering ability to render any man... or woman... to a simpering wreck.

And then there's a single quantum-locked (Weeping) Angel.

But one is enough. Quite enough.

Released in two formats (digital ebook from BBC BOOKS and an audio reading by Alex Kingston for AUDIOGO), the novel may not be everyone's cup of Joe due to its shallow plot, steady pacing and mildly sexualised tone but it there lies its strength. It's not supposed to be DOCTOR WHO but River Song's world wherein she holds no sway in social hierarchy and conformity, living to her own tidal-like rules & codes and ambivalent interaction with the society that she has had to endure living in our alien world.

DOCTOR WHO: THE ANGEL'S KISS - A MELODY MALONE MYSTERY may be as bewildering to a DOCTOR WHO fan reading it as a Charles Dickens' fan reading Terrance Dicks' novelisation, DOCTOR WHO AND THE SUNMAKERS; maybe, it's just too different and unexpected.

"... give in to the puckered-lips apocalypse..."

At the Angel Detective Agency, Hollywood A-lister, Rock Railton engages -Melody to uncover who is attempting to murder him, and when, the next day, she encounters an aging tramp dressed identically as the actor who believes that he is Railton her interest in the case is piqued. Attending Railton's movie launch party, film studio mogul, Max Kliener latches onto Melody offering her fame-and-fortune as the next big silver-screen star.

Clearly, an offer that Melody should refuse but can she for `intrigue' is her middle name?

With duplicates of his film studio's stars, Railton and the audaciously named Giddy Semstre, held like ancient flies entombed in amber, what is Kliener's dastardly moustache-twiddling plans for his troupe, and, more importantly, his ambitions for Melody? Alien scientist or hapless Earthling controlled by an unseen force engaged on a long-game only to pounce when its strength is at its zenith and the time is just right?

"...I discovered to my relief and delight that it was a gun in his pocket..."

Throughout, Justin Richards' is characterisation of Melody/River is diligently accurate to the television series, oozing that disarming wit of a one-liner, sexual `prowlness' - yes, I know it's not a `real' word - and a Time Lord-like razor sharp adeptness to read a threatening situation five or six moves into the future like a Chess Mistress. Capturing in this novel a more unnerving, unflinching, sarcastic `Broad' - than we have encountered in the television episodes - as she effortlessly stalks with feline agility under the leaden grey skies of 1930's New York to satisfy her similarly unsleeping curiosity.

"...It seemed like there was the ghost of a smile on its cracked stone lips..."

Whilst her voluminous charm exudes from every pixel of the eBook, it positively pours from the audiobook, an unleashed Alex Kingston relishes every line of Richards' novel, embracing the irony of the/her character yet reining in what may have become a pantomime reading; subtle yet knowing.

With a novel/script littered with `Songisms' - blimey, two new words in one review... - Kingston embodies Melody totally, delivering the both sign-posted laugh-out-loud gags and delicate dialogue nuances with an honesty and deftness that will not be disappointed fans.

And whilst the ending to DOCTOR WHO: THE ANGEL'S KISS - A MELODY MALONE MYSTERY is mild and less climatic than nibbling the `...smashing orangey bit...' off a Jaffa cake at three o'clock in the morning by the light of refrigerator it does, however, form a clean segway into THE ANGELS TAKE MANHATTAN and the `death' of Melody's parents at the stone-cold touch of an Angel.
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on 5 October 2012
I was a bit disappointed to find that this is not actually the same book as the one that The Doctor and Amy are reading in the episode "The Angels Take Manhattan". It being advertised as such, and having the same cover and all, I was for the first half of the book constantly waiting for Rory to suddenly show up and the real story to kick off. But that never happened.

Instead it reads more like a prequel to the episode, establishing the character of Melody Malone in New York in a completely separate story, involving movie stars who mysteriously keep forgetting who she is. Or they may just be acting. Then again, it wouldn't be a Melody Malone Mystery if there wasn't something very sinister going on behind the curtains...

It's nice for what it is - a pulpy 1930s style mystery detective story starring Melody Malone - and quite funny in places, but I was expecting to read the actual book from the episode, detailing the adventures of Melody Malone as she meets Rory, Amy, and The Doctor and they run around Angel-infested New York, dealing with the timey-wimey-ness of the book appearing in its own story. It would have been brilliant if it had been. It leaves me wishing that it were.
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on 5 October 2012
Good (time) lord, this was a cracking read! Could hear River Song narrate this in my head and I would LOVE Alex Kingston to record the narration for this.

In fact, I'd go so far to say MORE Melody Pond/River Song/Melody Malone stories!

Although the Doctor didn't feature in this, there was a nice reference to him. And a character from "Angels Take Manhattan" is mentioned too. Actually, the way the book ended, it seemed like a lead in to that episode.

Though it was a short story (40-odd pages), it didn't feel rushed, and was full of River sassiness.

More books from Melody Malone, please!
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on 6 October 2012
I love this book as River Song is my favourite character and you can tell it is her perfectly. I also love the about the author page, it never fails to make me smile! The only thing is I was expecting the book they read in the episode nevertheless it was amazing!
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VINE VOICEon 10 October 2012
Once you realise this is not the actual book content from the TV episode and nor do we find out why River is in Manhattan under another pseudonym we can settle down and enjoy this short (and cheap) novella.
In classic noire style we learn of Melody Malone's encounter with the last vestiges of the East Coast film industry and have fun all the way.

There is a mild link to the TV story and what we do learn is this setting suits River down to the ground.

More please!
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on 13 October 2012
Some people Said in their Reviews on Amazon or other sites claimed that they don't like this book because this is not the one from the episode. Seriously guys, you didn't know that this book was a follow up to The Angel's Take Manhattan and this is some of your reaction to this book.

A Doctor Who Fan: Finaly, now I got this Book. I can finaly read this right now.

Meanwhile after reading the book.

A Doctor Who Fan: WHY, why is this not the same book from the episode. WHY............

Oh come guys, I know that, this is not the same book from the episode and I do like to ask the same question way. But a few days before the episode came on, I just read the news that this book is a Prequel and I just thought that this must be a follow up. Now guys, if you want that book. Then you should wish the BBC to ask you one.

If you haven't herad about this book and want to know what it's about, Then I tell you one.

The Stroy start off with Melody Malone in her office relexing until somebody came up to the door and she ask him to came in. Then the person turns to be a Moive star and ask her help because that somebody who is wanting to kill him.

So What Do I think about this: well I do say that this is very good and the only thing I don't like is the ending which never surprised me and I am not going to give away that and what about the Weeping angels, you're going to read to find out.

So my final thoughts are: this is a very good page turner right up to the ending which became a real bummer.

I give a 8.5/10

Form MiketheDalek.
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on 6 October 2012
At last we get to see Melody AKA River song in an adventure of her own, all be it a prequel to the mid season finale. This is a romp With River in wise cracking sexy form. The words are easily imagined coming from Alex Kingston's mouth. The book is styled like the one featured in the finale which is a great hook. If we can't have an archeological television spin off then please let us have the adventures of River Song in novels now. Maybe Alex could do a narrated version of this novella in time for Christmas haha. Write more Justin, you are a legend!
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on 28 February 2013
There is a great deal to enjoy in this novella as long as you don't try to take it too seriously. It is written in the style of a pulp fiction detective story and the author has a lot of fun playing with this genre.

It is also written in the first person (which is quite rare for a Doctor Who book). The personality of River Song (or Melody Malone, if you like)works exceptinally well with this type of genre. Richards does a capable job of capturing her character, the text only occasionally feeling like it was written by a man (but not every author can be a Flaubert).

There is no Doctor for anyone who might be expecting there to be but he would seem out of place in this type of story and detract from the characterisation of River Song. It is slightly disappointing though that there is a lack of Angel action and perhaps they could have featured a little bit more.

Overall it manages to do quite a bit with its limited word count and readers other than Doctor Who fans will also enjoy it. There is defintiely scope for more Melody Malone adventures.
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