Full disclosure, Doctor Who will always hold a special place in my heart and I find even the worst episodes and the most silly plot lines endearing and part of the Doctor Who charm. It would have to have been impressively terrible in order for me to dislike this book. Luckily, some wildly talented authors were recruited to add a new, beautiful layer of stories to the Doctor Who universe.
I borrowed this book from my dad and as he handed it over he said, “You’ll like the tenth story…well, you’ll like all of them, but you’ll especially like the tenth one.” He was not wrong. I enjoyed them all, but I did particularly like the tenth doctor’s story, “The Mystery of the Haunted Cottage” by Derek Landy. The Doctor and Martha get to on an adventure inside of other stories. Did Martha climb up a tower using Rapunzels hair, get in a fight with Dracula, then run through Hogwarts? Why yes, yes she did, because that’s just the sort of spectacular thing that can happen when you get to travel with the Doctor. Whenever characters I recognize from other stories pop up unexpectedly I feel like I’m seeing an old friend and introducing them to new, awesome people. In this case it was just as exciting but with a darker edge because what’s a Doctor Who story if it doesn’t have some danger?
While this was the first I’ve heard of Derek Landy, the other authors have written some of my favorite books and I was excited to see what they would to with characters from one of my favorite TV shows. The adventures were exactly as varied and imaginative as I could have hoped. I didn’t think to hope for the different perspectives that are available when the story is written then read rather than seen. It was a pleasant surprise to not only hear some of the companions inner monologue, but also the Doctors and in one moral gray area type of story (courtesy of the talented Holly Black) we even get to hear from the baddies perspective. This really highlighted the differences in reading versus watching a Doctor Who story. It sometimes felt awkward to be reading descriptions of character ticks that I’m so used to seeing. The authors did a great job of sidestepping this awkwardness by giving the reader access to a more detailed version of the various character’s thoughts and motivations.
All of the stories in the book are in line with the Doctor Who that I know and love. There were truly evil villains, strange planets, seemingly unexplainable mysteries, and humans acting so very, very human in the best and worst ways possible. I’m happy that I got a chance to read some Doctor Who adventures, however, I often found myself wishing they’d written some of these stories as scripts so I could see it play out in the media that I’m accustomed to experiencing Doctor Who. I believe the TV show starts up again soon, so, who knows? Maybe I’ll see some episodes with a familiar story. In the meantime I’m going to daydream about being picked up in a blue police box and traveling time and space, because I just know I’d make an excellent companion.