Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,

January Books 5) The City of the Dead

5) The City of the Dead, by Lloyd Rose

I got this simply because it is the highest-rated Doctor Who novel of any epoch by LibraryThing users, and I wanted a) to assess whether LibraryThing ratings can be considered a reasonable guide to quality and b) if it is worth giving the BBC series of Eighth Doctor Adventures another go, having been underwhelmed by my previous samplings.

Well, the answer to both questions seems to be a reasonably firm Yes. The setting of the story in Who continuity is unfamiliar to me - the Doctor is suffering from partial amnesia for some reason, and I have read nothing else with either of the two companions, Fitz and Anji. But the portrayal of the Eighth Doctor (amnesia apart) is consistent with the Big Finish audios, and I thought Anji came across well as an interesting character (Fitz rather less so).

I also felt initially suspicious about the setting, among occultists in New Orleans. Indeed, there is no scientific hand-waving anywhere in the book to explain away the magic - spells and summonings work, and elementals are real. Yet in the end I was satisfied; there are plenty of sf stories (indeed, many Doctor Who stories!) where there is detailed technobabble to explain what is going on, but the means and motivation of the bad guys remain unconvincing, and this is not one of them. Also the New Orleans setting was well sketched out (I suppose - I've never been there), and the plot had some genuine surprises - Lloyd Rose clearly has a good knack of misdirection. Plus the Doctor actually, possibly, maybe, has an intimate encounter, discreetly described.

I'd have enjoyed it more if I'd read more of this series, but if this is the best then some of the others must be pretty decent too.
Tags: bookblog 2008, doctor who, doctor who: 08, writer: lloyd rose

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