Simon's Bookcase

Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe

Doctor Who: The Deviant Strain

The Deviant Strain: Justin Richards, January 3—11, 2015
My rating: ♦♦♦♦◊

TheDeviantStrainThe Doctor and Rose find themselves in an abandon Russian village in The Deviant Strain; the fourth instalment of NuWho’s book series. This time joined by Captain Jack Harkness, they are faced with a being that is ageing and jellifying its victims.

While some of the previous editions of the series read like screenplays, The Deviant Strain is very much a novel and embraces its point of difference. Elements such as the unreliable light would be frustrating to watch on screen, but atmospheric in print. The whole story is much creepier than could have been shown in a television episode which gave it real bite. There were also some great twists that made it consistently interesting.

Richards has a firm hold of the Doctor, Rose and Jack’s voices. The Doctor has some witty lines, while this is the first time Rose doesn’t ramble on about the oddity of travelling time and space with an alien. Whether this is indicative of Rose’s character development in the wider arc or Richards’ sensitivity that it’s getting a bit old, it was very welcome to see a move away from this. Although the number of guest cast made it a little confusing at first, there were good back stories and some interesting personal subplots. Again, Richards took advantage of the power of print to explore the complex background of the setting.

The pace is spot on. Where The Clockwise Man had a painfully slow start and The Monsters Inside had an ending that was dragged out to an inch of my life, never mind its own, The Deviant Strain maintains a great structure; a brilliant balance of action and dialogue and a running tension with perfect timing.

By embracing the opportunities of print, devising a creepy and suspenseful story and really getting into the skin of the lead characters, Richards delivers the best Doctor a Who novel so far.


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This entry was posted on January 11, 2015 by in 4 star, Doctor Who and tagged .

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@Queen_UK Adolf Hitler agatha christie Alan Clements Alastair Campbell Aldous Huxley Aleksandr Orlov Alex Shaffer Andrew Neiderman Anthony Burgess Arthur Miller Bateman Ben Brooks Ben Elton Bram Stoker Bret Easton Ellis C.J. Cherryh Carolyn Jess-Cooke Charles Dickens Chuck Palahniuk Dan Brown Dante Alighieri dashiell hammett david baldacci David Brin David Glattauer David Kirkpatrick David Line David Tennant David Wolstencroft Dylan Jones E.L. James Edgar Allen Poe Emilia Fox Eoin Colfer Erica Spindler Frank Peretti Gabrielle Lord Gareth Roberts Geoff Ryman George Orwell George R. R. Martin George W. Bush Gillian Flynn Gillian Slovo Graham Greene Guy Piran Harper Lee Harriet Lane Herman Koch Ian Rankin J.K. Rowling Jack Thorne Jacqueline Rayner James Herbert James Patterson Jasper Fforde Jeff Green Jeff Kinney Jeffrey Archer Jem Lester Jenny Robson Jeremy Clarkson Jerry B. Jenkins Jim Thompson John Crowther John Green John Grisham John Tiffany John Verdon Jonas Jonasson Judith Kerr Juliana Foster Justin Richards Kaci Hill Karen Levine Keeley Bolger Louis Walsh malorie blackman Marissa Meyer Mark Haddon Mark Z. Danielewski Martin Sixsmith Mary Higgins Clark Mary McNamara Matt Haig Matthew Ravden Michael Berry Michael Connelly Michael Morpurgo Michael Quirke Miguel de Cervantes Mike Lancaster Morris Gleitzman Morton Rhue Neil Sinclair Nick Hornby Nick Page Patricia Cornwell Patricia Stotley Patrick Ness Paula Hawkins Paul Johnston Peter James Phil Allcock R.J. Palacio Rachelle Dekker Raymond Chandler Richard Bachman Robert Louis Stevenson Robert Ludlum Robin Cook Robin Kirkpatrick sandra brown Sebastian Beaumont Sharon Osbourne Stella Rimmington Stephen Cole Stephen King Steve Lookner Steve Lyons Stuart MacBride Sue Townsend Suzanne Collins ted dekker Terry Pratchett Tim LaHaye Tim Randall Todd Strasser Tom Avery Tom Bower Tom Cain Tom Hoyle tony blair William Golding William P. Young William Shakespeare