Review: Doctor Who: The Drosten’s Curse by A.L. Kennedy

Doctor Who: The Drosten’s Curse

by A. L. Kennedy

Science Fiction | 368 Pages | Published by Broadway Books in 2015

| Rating |

three star

I received this book from Blogging for Books in return for an honest review

I had never read a Doctor Who novel before, nor had I wanted to – not a great start I admit. Despite having something of a love for the subject, I couldn’t quite imagine the books being any good, and being thoroughly disappointed by something you love isn’t always the best way to pursue a relationship. However, my expectations firmly set at zero, I reasoned that it could not fail to exceed them. And thankfully I was right! The Drosten’s Curse balances wit and humour with Lovecraftian undertones in what turned out to be a rather enjoyable read.

It’s 1978 in Arbroath, Scotland, and something is amiss at the Fetch Brothers Golf Spa Hotel. Bryony Mailer is stuck in a job she doesn’t care for, with a boss she likes even less, and her biscuits are going missing. Oh… and the golf bunkers are eating the patrons. With the help of the Doctor (Time Lord – Charming – Devilishly Handsome) and Putta Pattershaun 5 (Alien – Bounty Hunter – Incredibly Clumsy), Bryony must contend with octopode obsessive OAPs and sinister Blytonesque children to find a way to quiet the ancient evil which has begun to stir in the backwaters of Arbroath. Their lives, human existence and a whole wardrobe of plus fours may be at stake.

Thrown directly into the action, The Drosten’s Curse reads like an episode straight from the screen. The story chops and changes between scenes and characters, building up the tension to create a rather cinematic experience I’ve infrequently encountered in books. Kennedy has a very fluid and humorous style of writing which, though light hearted, carried the momentum throughout the majority of the novel. The story did start to drag about three quarters of the way in but Kennedy’s witty repartee kept me turning the pages until the end.

Every character is written with a good dose of humour, which worked particularly well for those fleeting characters who only appear in the action. The fourth Doctor (as played by Tom Baker) is excellently portrayed, his offbeat and zany personality captured almost perfectly.  However, the Doctor plays almost a side role to Bryony and Putta who, though likeable, needed a little something more. I didn’t really feel invested in them or whether they survived their encounters with the species that shall remain nameless, even if I did care about the general outcome of the story. Perhaps for entertainment value, these characters needed to remain somewhat blank, albeit humorous, canvases.

This book should appeal to old and new fans alike; the Doctor is, after all, magnificent. If you’re looking for an easy read, one which flows with wit and humour, and doesn’t take itself too seriously – much like an episode of Doctor Who – then The Drosten’s Curse might just be what you’re looking for. A.L. Kennedy’s writing shone throughout and certainly has me on the lookout for more of her work. Not for the first time, I was very happy for my expectations to be proven wrong.

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