Since January my blog has been closed for reasons relating to my mental health; during the time my blog has been out of action, I’ve read a number of Doctor Who novels & to make my life easier I thought I’d review them all in one post, albeit with shorter reviews that usual. I read some of these stories months ago, others just a few weeks ago – Doctor Who has been a key part of my ability to cope with my depression recently & I’m incredibly grateful for each & every one of these stories…
The Target Storybook by A Combination of Authors
Read: 01/11/2019 – 02/11/2019
The Target Story Book is an anthology made up of stories featuring over 10 versions of The Doctor. Overall, I really enjoyed this book, even if I’m not familiar with all of Classic Who, & it’s a great anthology – one every Doctor Who fan needs.
- Gatecrashers by Joy Wilkinson ⭐⭐⭐⭐
- 13th Doctor with Yaz, Ryan & Graham
- I really liked the world building of this one but as I read this before the 13th Doctor’s second season I still found it hard to connect with Yaz, Ryan & Graham
- Journey Out of Terror by Simon Guerrier ⭐⭐⭐
- 1st Doctor with Ian & Barbara
- Save Yourself by Terrance Dicks ⭐⭐
- 2nd Doctor
- The Clear Air Act by Matthew Sweet ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
- 3rd Doctor with Jo
- I thought this story was incredibly clever & it felt like something that could absolutely happen; the story was made up of letters, articles, etc. & this added a lot of depth to the story.
- Punting by Susie Day ⭐
- 4th Doctor with Romana II
- The Dark River by Matthew Waterhouse ⭐⭐⭐⭐
- Despite not knowing anything about the characters (Nyssa & Adric) in this story, I really enjoyed it & I loved learning about another TARDIS & another Time Lord.
- Interstitial Insecurity by Colin Baker ⭐⭐⭐⭐
- 6th Doctor with Anosa
- This story was written as if it was an secret scene from one of the Classic Who episodes & I really want to find the episode it slots into! I’d also love something like this for an episode I’m more familiar with. Interestingly, Anosa really reminded me of Clara & I’m curious about whether that was intentional.
- The Slyther of Shoreditch by Mike Tucker ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
- 7th Doctor
- This was one of those DW stories that gets you all excited & reminds you why you love the show – it was just so Doctor Who, even though I don’t know much about the 7th Doctor. Fantastic.
- We Can’t Stop What’s Coming by Steve Cole ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
- 8th Doctor with Fitz & Trix
- I love Steve Cole’s work on Doctor Who so I knew I’d enjoy this story; it was such an awesome idea & I’d love for something like this to become a full length episode!!
- Decoy by George Mann ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
- The War Doctor with Rassilon
- I want a full-length trilogy about the Time War, immediately. I would not sleep until I’d read them all!!
- Grounded by Una McCormack ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
- Colin Finch (yes, y’all read that right!!)
- This is my second favourite story in this collection; I loved learning more about such an important character whom we know almost nothing about & it just made me smile so much.
- The Turning of the Tide by Jenny T Colgan ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
- 10-2 & Rose
- This one gets all the stars in the world!!! Yes, we finally got a story about Rose & 10-2 in their alternative universe. Oh I cried!!! This story was so unexpected; I’ve wanted something like this for so long & getting it from Jenny just made it so much better. When I read this part of the anthology I was having a really sad day, but this made me smile so much. I’m so thankful that Jenny gave this gift to the Whoniverse, I just wish there was more.
- Citation Needed by Jacqueline Rayner ⭐⭐⭐⭐
- 11th, 12th & 13th Doctors with Clara, Missy, Graham, Yaz & Ryan
- This one was a bit confusing but I almost think it was supposed to be? Despite the confusion, this one was super interesting & has left me wanting to know more about Encyclopaedia Gallifreya.
- Pain Management by Beverly Sanford ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
- 12th Doctor with Bill, Missy & Nardole
- I love these three & they all deserved to be featured way more than they were – I would love Graham & Nardole to meet *cries*. The characters were portrayed brilliantly & it was written so well that it felt like a full-length Doctor Who novel.
- Letters from the Front by Vinay Patel ⭐⭐⭐
- I liked that this story was made up of war letters but at the time of reading I didn’t see the connection to the Doctor – I’ve now realised (in August 2020) that it features the character from Demons of the Punjab & the whole thing now makes a lot of sense. I’m definitely going to reread it now that I know how the story is connected to the Doctor.
I really loved this entertaining & clever collection of stories featuring well-known people from our past; 13 was present throughout the whole book, but we also get to see other versions of the Doctor too. Unlike The Target Storybook, I loved all of these stories & I thought the writing was brilliant – I would adore another book like this with more incarnations of the Doctor featured!
- Chasing the Dawn by Jenny T Colgan ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
- 11th & 13th Doctor with Yaz, Ryan, Graham & Amelia Earhart
- This was one of those fab Doctor Who stories that gives you an alternative story to the history we know; 11 absolutely shone through & I knew it was him before his bow tie was even mentioned. Jenny is one of my fav DW writers & she never disappoints!
- That’s All Right, Mama by Paul Magrs ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
- 10th, 11th, 12th & 13th Doctor with Yaz, Ryan, Graham & Elvis Presley
- I loved how the different Doctors were all a part of Elvis’ timeline, & how much of an impact they had on him & his relationship with his mum. I don’t know much about Elvis’ personal life but this story adds detail to a part of history we don’t know much about & I love how this story is referred to in one of the Doctor Who episodes (I’m taking it to mean that all of these books are officially canon & no one can convince me otherwise).
- Einstein & the Doctor by Jo Cotterill ⭐⭐⭐
- 4th & 13th Doctor with Yaz, Ryan, Graham & Albert Einstein
- I don’t know how well Einstein’s personality was portrayed in this but the whole story felt a little bit too much like a fairytale. This was okay, but not necessarily very memorable.
- Who-Dini? by Steve Cole ⭐⭐⭐⭐
- 12th & 13th Doctor with Yaz, Ryan, Graham & Harry Houdini
- So this story reveals that some of Houdini’s tricks were possible due to the use of alien technology – which I think is bloody brilliant. I really enjoyed 12’s presence in this one & it’s made me desperately want a full-length Doctor Who story with a circus!
- The Pythagoras Problem by Trevor Baxendale ⭐⭐⭐⭐
- 13th Doctor with Yaz, Ryan, Graham & Pythagoras
- This had all the feels of one of Jodie’s episodes – a bit wacky but all about team work. There was loads of Doctor mumbojumbo in this story & the author knows the characters really well. It gave me flashbacks to when Rose & 10 had to work together to open the vortex to the alternative universe.
- Mission of the KaaDok by Mike Tucker ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
- 13th Doctor with Yaz, Ryan, Graham & Audrey Hepburn
- This story continued on from The Pythagoras Problem which I really liked, & it was also quite funny. Unfortunately, we don’t actually learn much about Audrey in this one, which is a massive shame, but it’s made me want to go to Madame Tussauds more than I already did!
The Nightmare of Black Island opened in a brilliantly descriptive way that made me feel like I could feel & hear the horrible weather. This Doctor Who novel is a slow burner & it’s a story you have to be patient with, but the descriptions throughout are entrancing & I love anything dream related!
One thing that bothered me from early on is the fact that the “bad guy” is a wheelchair user & I absolutely detest this stereotype (for obvious reasons). I also didn’t feel like the Doctor & Rose jumped off the page, like they do in some of the books in the collection.
My feelings on this story are very mixed, I didn’t not enjoy it but it’s not a Doctor Who novel that I’ll come back to in the future.
Shamefully, I haven’t yet watched any Classic Who episodes so there were definitely times during this read that I felt like I was missing information, however this wasn’t a major issue & Sophie Aldred did a good job of making sure that anyone can enjoy this story. Naturally, this story has made me incredibly curious about who the Doctor was before Rose (& the Time War) & about Ace so I’m so desperate to watch the original episodes.
Not knowing much about Ace, I went into this book unsure about what kind of experience it would be for me, but I did really enjoy it & I was impressed by the quality of the writing (no offence meant to Sophie at all). I can’t comment on Ace’s accuracy, but Sophie did a great job of representing the 13th Doctor & her companions, as well as building up new characters in the book. The story flowed really well, it was incredibly well-paced & it had all of the Doctor Who charm that I adore. I’m really pleased I read this book.
Pest Control is an Audible original Doctor Who story & it’s narrated by David Tennant – which was brilliant! David’s impression of Donna was comedy gold & it added so much to the story; you could tell throughout that David was having a great time recording this audiobook & I think he’s the best narrator I’ve ever listened to. I loved having a new story with the Tenth Doctor & I’ll always want more of Donna (I would love to see her reaction to 13, if she rememebred the Doctor *cries*), I’m just really sad that there aren’t any with Rose.
The Doctor & Donna have been written so well by Peter Anghelides, & it’s made me excited to read/listen to more of his Doctor Who work. Whilst I was listening to this I was also reading At Childhood’s End & the aliens featured in the stories are very similar, but are not the same, so at times this confused me & I’m super curious about whether anyone has noticed this.
Nevertheless, the story flowed brilliantly, I was never bored or wanting the story to move on, & none of the dialogue felt dragged out or over the top; it felt so much like a Doctor Who episode & I definitely preferred this to some of the novels I’ve read. I’m so happy I decided to start the audiobook series & I can’t wait for more.
This is the first Target novel I’ve read that is a book of an episode – & I really enjoyed it! I loved almost all of the extra details that Russell has added in & it was brilliant to learn more about Mickey’s background. We also got to learn more about how Rose felt about Mickey prior to meeting the Doctor as well, which is something I wish we’d seen more of in the show.
During the read I was really curious about why certain parts of the story were different from the episode – is this how Russell originally wrote it, & it got edited down? Or, is this how Russell wishes he’d written the episode? What I can say is that Russell has definitely tried to fix certain bits that the fandom didn’t like; like Rose’s treatment of Mickey & how she reacted to her mum being in town during the Dummy attack, which was a nice touch.
Reading an episode was an odd but good experience & I definitely want to read more of this collection; it was great to experience Russell’s writing in a new way & I appreciated all the extra bits you get to experience when reading, rather than watching.
The last year has been tough, but 2020 has been really hard & Doctor Who is something that really helps me to escape whatever is going on in my life; some people will think that’s dumb but escapism is everything to me & I hope my mini reviews have done these books justice. I can’t wait to read even more Doctor Who stories – do you have any favourites?
Click on the covers to find my GoodReads reviews, which includes content warnings!