Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Book Review - "Doctor Who: The Blood Cell" by James Goss

I am a book nerd. I am also a Whovian. So imagine my excitement when I discovered a brand-new novel called Doctor Who: The Blood Cell by James Goss. I obtained a free copy of this book from Blogging For Books in conjunction with Broadway Books (a division of Random House) n exchange for my honest review.

The back cover of the book gives us this synopsis of the story:

"Release the Doctor - or the killing will start."

An asteroid in the furthest reaches of space - the most secure prison for the most dangerous of criminals. The Governor is responsible for the worst fraudsters and the cruelest murderers. So he's certainly not impressed by the arrival of the man they're calling the most dangerous criminal in the quadrant. Or, as he prefers to be known, the Doctor.

What does impress the Governor is the way the new prisoner immediately sets about trying to escape. And keeps trying. Finally, he sends for the Doctor and asks him why? But the answer surprises even the Governor. And then there's the threat - unless the Governor listens to the Doctor, a lot of people will die.

Who is the Doctor and what's he really doing here? Why does he want to help the Governor? And who is the young woman who comes every day to visit him, only to be turned away by the guards?

When the killing finally starts, the Governor begins to get his answers...

Unfortunately, I have to admit that for the most part, this book disappointed me. The book was a quick read, at only 252 pages. But overall, the story itself rambled way too much for my liking, and the ending was definitely way too anti-climactic given the detailed build-up James Goss put into it. And as much as I am not a fan of Clara Oswald as a character, I felt she got shortchanged in this story - she doesn't even show up until about three quarters of the way in, which was also right around the time that the story finally started to get interesting for me.

Not that this book didn't have any redeeming qualities; they're just very few and far between in my opinion. I thought the bickering session between the Doctor and Clara, which occurs when the two are finally reunited since the Doctor was taken to The Prison, was funny, and could completely see this exchange occurring in my mind. The Doctor has suffered a broken toe, and when Clara offers him "a suggestion," the two start discussing the finer details of regeneration:

Clara's eyes narrowed. "Did you just say you stubbed your toe?" 

 The Doctor nodded and whispered something else. "I think I've broken it.""Your toe?"

"Is broken, yes."

"That's a bit rubbish, isn't it?"

"No." A pause. "It's the big toe."

"Can't you, you the thing?"

The Doctor glared at her, an angry owl zeroing in on a shrew. "You're suggesting I regenerate simply because I've stubbed my toe?"

"Can't you?"

"Well, I could, but it seems a bit of a waste of a life."

"Can't you just do the toe?"

"Regeneration is a prized miracle of Time Lord physiognomy and you're saying I use it to renew my toe?"

"It was just a suggestion."

I will also give author James Goss props in chapter 6, when the Governor and the Doctor are stuck in a cell on Level 6 and the Doctor whips out a self-made sonic spoon; it is here that the 12th Doctor utters a very well known phrase originally coined by the third Doctor:

"The fiddly bit was jamming the lock just now. I had to reverse the polarity of...of my spoon."

Of course when all is said and done, despite my general dislike of this book, I would still recommend Doctor Who: The Blood Cell to any Whovian looking for an original story based on the series.

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