Dawson, Juno


4 out of 5

(1 book)

Doctor Who: The Good Doctor

The first original novel to feature the Thirteenth Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) and her companions Graham, Yaz and Ryan.  The TARDIS crew help to broker a peace between the Loba and the Human colonists on wartorn Lobos before heading off into time and space.  Realising that Ryan has left his phone behind, they return but soon discover that six centuries have passed and Lobos is now in the grip of an oppressive religious regime which worships 'the Good Doctor'.

In all honesty, I was fairly underwhelmed by the Thirteenth Doctor's first series on TV (Series 11), it had some nice moments but overall felt by far the worst series of New Who to me.  So I was a bit dubious about this, the first Thirteenth Doctor novel that I'd read (and the first altogether, actually) and Dawson's first foray into the world of Who.  I was very pleasantly surprised.

The thing that Dawson nails right out of the gate and maintains throughout is a brilliant grasp of this incarnation of the Doctor and her companions.  This book was released whilst the series was still ongoing on TV, so kudos to the author to manage a perfect translation of those characters before they'd even had chance to fully establish themselves.  Every action, every line of dialogue felt entirely appropriate to the characters, with the Doctor being especially well done.  I liked Whittaker's iteration of the Time Lord but there was no one scene where I loved it, but I can honestly say that wouldn't have been the case if this story had been onscreen.  In fact, I'd go as far as to say that this book is better than pretty much any of the stories we got on TV.  It's just really good Doctor Who.

It's not perfect; with the criticism of religious dogma being a bit too belaboured and on-the-nose a lot of the time, but don't let that put you off (and to be fair, it's not unjustified considering some of the religious injustices of our own world - but the point was made early and then repeated a bit too much).  I'm now genuinely looking forward to my next Thirteenth Doctor novel with none of the reservations I had going into this one.

4 out of 5


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