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on 23 April 2013
This is thoroughly entertaining and well written Fourth Doctor adventure. The pacing and tone are pitched just right for this type of short novella. The plot is a little basic but it does exactly what it needs to within the confines of its length. The storyline feels as if it would comfortably fit within the middle years of Tom Baker's tenure. It is most closely reminiscent of `The Face of Evil' in so much that it deals with negative consequences of the Doctor's actions after he has left somewhere. This idea isn't featured that often in Doctor Who so it is still interesting enough to revisit.

The characterisation of the Fourth Doctor is consistently good; occasionally you can almost hear Tom Baker delivering the line. Leela is also portrayed fairly well. She comes across as Leela in her early days with the Doctor. Her characterisation in this novella is probably closest to that of `The Face of Evil' and she has a similar role. The other characters are all a bit shallow and incidental however. Ven begins the story seeming to be a promising character but then becomes quite side lined and Rastibon is pretty stereotypical. But the story is really based around the Doctor and Leela and much of the text is devoted to them.

Vegetable based monsters are quite few in Doctor Who, thus the Heligan can't help but be reminiscent of the Krynoids. The whole thing is an intriguing concept though and it is a shame the word count didn't allow for a longer look at the Heligan.

There is also a nice and non-intrusive sense of humour that runs throughout the story. References to bow ties and quarries easily bring a smile. And there is a nice little twist with the Doctor's statue.

This is another utterly enjoyable short story in this range; it's just a shame there wasn't a bit more K-9.
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on 13 June 2014
When the fourth doctor takes Leela to a wooden space station-essentially a giant tree-the tree wakes and seeks revenge against the Doctor.

Great little book. The characterisation was spot on in this book. Lines were perfect for the Doctor and Leela.

A nice surprise along the way helps give it a boost just when it needs it.
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on 25 April 2013
Darn it! I've been defending these short stories to people. Sure, they're not all great, but they're a well meaning effort and there's usually something to be found in them. Then came this one. Maybe it's because I recently read Shada and expected a little more of the Douglas Adams' madnesses of those days but this is missing something for me. The nod ahead to a future doctor is a little too clunky and the story feels like pedestrian to me. Then there's the characters. Even the companion doesn't quite hold and Tom Baker's rolling eyes and infectious madness are all missing. Such a shame. I was really looking forward to this one.
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on 23 April 2013
Just finished the Roots of Evil and thoroughly enjoyed that. It was told largely from Leela's perspective, which meant that her character was if anything more fully fleshed out and recognisable than the Fourth Doctor's. But both characters were faithful, and the exciting plot fitted the short format well. Nice sense of jeopardy created as well. Excellent stuff.
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on 31 March 2015
This short story is more like a story outline idea for something that is going to be written properly later, than an end product. It basically contains one idea that you know early on, and little else. The characterisation, if you can call it that, is cartoon and does not evoke the show or the fourth doctor. You are left feeling, is that it? I honestly think I could write a better fourth doctor story / book myself. This is a waste of your money.
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VINE VOICEon 8 May 2013
I have to admit to being very impressed with Philip Reeve's The Roots of Evil. It created an immediately memorable new world (that of a massive bio-engineered tree in space acting as a colony) and an enemy who disliked the Doctor because of the actions of a future incarnation.

The plot has some similarity to the Face of Evil but stands in its own right as a well written tale that conveys a Doctor and Leela very much as we would like them. We have action, reflection and resolution all neatly wrapped up and for the first time in this range I genuinely wanted more Who written by the author.

A well recommended outing for this master of steampunk (maybe more clockwork terrors in the next one?!)
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on 29 April 2013
So now, four books in, there's definitely a pattern emerging. Take a Doctor and a relevant companion; put them into a story that could really fit any Doctor and companion with the minimum of re-tooling; chuck in a throw away line or plot-point that's anachronistic; serve with a double helping of stereotypical actions of speeches from the particular Doctor.

It's not that these stories are bad - far from it, I'm enjoying them for the most part - they're just a bit smart. Worth a buy at the price, but I wouldn't want to buy the likely inevitable compendium on paper.

Good for areas, and well written for what it is.
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on 26 April 2013
Great story, full of Tom Baker and Leela. I liked the terraforming trees very much. It had the feel of the early science fiction stories in the 1960s that my father used to collect.
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on 6 June 2013
I have been collecting this set of stories by several authors about the complete line of doctors and I am looking forward to the endgame in words and on television when the 50th anniversary edition arrives in November. I missed the very first episode of Doctor Who through being away at my boarding school but since the BBC was so kind as to repeat it owing to popular demand the following wek I was able to se William Hartnell's portrayal of the Doctor for the first time. I was instantly hooked. I didn't hide behind the sofa from the Daleks, I built one for the school's Christmas fancy dress party.
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on 5 September 2013
None of this series of books would get many stars if they were judged alone.
They all have the same problem, in that they are far too short and the stories tend not to take this into account.

There is often a very good set up, with lots of clever ideas, but then no time to explore them and the ending seems perfunctory.

If you only have 40ish pages then the story shouldn't have ambitions to be a novel and it should work better within it's limits.

So the rating I'm giving are just a comparison within this series.
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