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on 25 February 2013
Anyone with any sense will realize that Colfer's interpretation of the first Doctor makes it look like he has never seen a Hartnell episode. I can't picture the First Doctor doing or saying any of these things that happen in the novel.

This is an insult to Doctor Who. It's the 50th anniversary for gods sake! We as fans, and Doctor Who as a show deserve better than this - did no-one read this before publishing? - its awful!
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on 27 January 2013
Has Eoin Colfer ever read a First Doctor novel? What a poor start to the 50th anniversary. One of the delights of reading Doctor Who is being able to hear your favourite Doctor come alive in between the lines. There's something up with this doppelgänger, something wrong about the way he speaks, something a little clumsily contemporary about his grasp of tech and use of the vernacular. This isn't' my Doctor ... even his history is out of whack! Could it be that more than his hand has gone missing ... or should someone have sat the author down in front of some research? Hmmmm Hmmmmmmm?
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on 6 September 2016
Was entertaining in parts and didn't bore me but also felt a little like I was reading a children's book which I don't necessarily associate with Doctor Who. What really saved this short story was the references to another classic story that had me really happy when I started noticing them. I'm not sure it really needed that bit at the end though to explain as I liked the subtly of it in the story instead.
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on 24 February 2013
The majority of reviews for this book are 1-star, and I can see why - this book/ebook/thing/ta is so awful I stopped reading by chapter 4, because I gathered from other reviews that it only gets worse.

Whoever the main antagonist in this book is, it sure as hell isn't the first doctor. I could never imagine William Hartnell leaping across tall buildings, rushing about or crushing doors with his bare hands (even with a bionic-super-strength-cyborg-hand, which is far-fetched anyway).

Then there's the overused references to the future. Fake tan, Blakes 7, Hogwarts. You can only do the whole "That doesn't happen for another X number of years" thing a few times before it becomes tiresome. Eoin Colfer overused it, and in my opinion made the 'Doctor' sound like a complete halfwit.

The soul pirates remind me of the giants from the BFG. "Igby kill white-hair!" - are these really all the Doctor has to fight against in this novel?

I've never read any of Colfer's 'Artimes Fowl' books before, and judging by this abomination of an attempt at writing a Doctor Who story, I cannot say
I want to.

Here's hoping Michael Scott's attempt at writing for the Second Doctor is much better than this, or I can't see myself carrying on with this series...
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on 10 March 2013
As a stand alone story about a time traveller, this would be decent. But what Eoin Colfer did here essentially was throw away 50 years of Doctor Who history and just make it all up on a whim.

The First Doctor played by William Hartnell was a grand-fatherly figure who looked out for his companions, but who also was a little bit grumpy, and arrogant. This did not come across here at all, and instead had the Doctor as an action hero - something he was not. Also, with the Doctor now having had a fake hand for his first incarnation, surely the hand wouldn't have regenerated when the Doctor did? This is something Colfer did not think about.

But the worst part of this, and the biggest insult to fans of Doctor Who, was when the Doctor wished that he was the "tall one with the Dickie Bow" as apparently the Doctor knows who he is going to become. But as we have seen in the Three Doctors, Five Doctors, Two Doctors and the Time Crash Special, the younger Doctors do NOT know who the older one is.

Colfer needed to have done his research. Poor effort.
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on 25 January 2013
Colfer's Doctor bares no relation whatsoever to William Hartnell's first Doctor, and I doubt if he bothered to research the character at all. There is no way the first Dr would have fought space pirates, leapt into space and generally acted like Matt Smith with white hair and a stick. I'm surprised he didn't have him shouting "Geronimo".

Colfer treats the series with the utmost disrespect and should have had this submission canned.

Lazy writing, a dreary plot with a highly predictable 'twist' ending. If you're thinking of buying it, don't bother. If you think the price is a bargain, think again, it's daylight robbery for this drivel.
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on 27 February 2013
I agree with the majority of the criticism here, this book is borderline. while the idea is generally pretty cool and the pay-off could have been pretty decent, it does seem to jar quite a lot (and the Potter/Blake's 7 link is horrendous). Having read the book and watched An Unearthly child at the same time, the two Doctors, as well as Susan, do not resemble each other. Instead we have, I my view, what the First Doctor would have been like of Matt Smith were playing him and a Susan character who bears no resemblance to anyone from the world of Who, expept perhaps the-screamy-one-who-dies-annoyingly.
This is a great concept that has not hit the ground running. However, I hope that the series gets better as the idea is great.
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on 18 March 2013
As a start to a series that aims to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary, this novella is a little disappointing.

The major flaw is in the characterisation. The Doctor is at best a basic generic version. He is certainly nothing like the First Doctor. Susan hardly has much of a role at all and lacks any type of character. The Soul Pirates, although in theory potentially worthwhile adversaries, come across merely as fairy tale type trolls or ogres. It is a shame that more effort wasn't put into them. Finally all the other humans are non-speaking entities with no real role in the story other than as faceless victims.

There are also a few allusions to other books and TV shows. These are generally implemented in a clumsy and unsubtle fashion which makes them feel more anachronistic rather than nostalgic. The idea that the First Doctor knows of his later incarnations, especially the eleventh, also feels out of place.

This short story might have been better featuring a different Doctor. It really doesn't seem to fit the First and it is a shame that this look at the Doctor before `An Unearthly Child' has been wasted.
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on 28 January 2013
The idea of celebrating Doctor Who's 50th with a series of short fictions one for each Doctor seemed wonderful; but if this first showing is anything to go by we're in for a poor year, rather than giving younger readers a taste of earlier Doctors this first production seems like no version of the Doctor you know.
Eoin Colfer is a great writer, but here seems to have come up with an interesting idea of soul pirates and then just grafted in a main character who resembles the first Doctor of William Hartnell only by the fact he has white hair and a granddaughter called Susan - none of the real tone of the first Doctor is there at all; in fact not a lot of any Doctor we've ever seen on TV seems to appear in this short book (artificial hands? a dislike of the smell of 19th century London?) In all it makes for a very jarring story which dissatisfies fans and which would really confuse anyone who then went back to watch the remaining Hartnell episodes on DVD. The only thing it really reminds me of are the old TV Comic stories, or the short fictions in the old TV Annuals.
Far better as a celebration/recreation of the Hartnell era is the new audio cd 'Hunters of Earth' - which manages to have a Doctor of mystery & otherness, profound love of his granddaughter Susan & slight grumpiness all held together in a period setting with a mystery surrounding teenagers out of control.
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on 21 February 2013
I was lucky enough to have been given a chance to read this book in advance and submit a review of it to puffin books. I almost wish that I wasn't given the oppurtunity. I pride myself on having a good knowledge of the main and expanded Doctor Who universe and I can say without doubt that this is possibly the worst representation of the first doctor I have ever read. This is a doctor who jumps across tall buildings, fights soul pirates in spaceships, and occasionally has visions of his future generations. Anyone who knows anything about Doctor Who knows that this is not the first doctor. The first doctor was pompous, arrogant, and cared only for his granddaughter. If you want to read a good first doctor book, read "Doctor Who and the Daleks" instead of this badly written garbage.
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