Doctor Who: Dead Of Winter by James Goss (4 out of 5)
Another Doctor Who novel; this one is written with Matt Smith as the good Doctor, with Rory and Amy Pond as companions. It felt like it was time to read something quick and easy after my reading drought of the past three weeks. I got through this one in about three hours.
The Doctor, Amy, and Rory end up on a beach, nursing concussions, with the Tardis off somewhere. It’s not just a normal beach, folks. It’s a cold, misty beach with tuberculosis patients lounging on it in lounge chairs. SAY WHAT? Exactly. The scene is set by a little child named Maria, who writes letters to her mother in Paris and tells her that she can’t wait to come home. Seems her mom left her there so that she could get better. This is the resort of Dr. Bloom and his wife Perdita who house TB patients who are desperate for a cure- the cure, of course, is to put them out in the cold, because old timey wimey wisdom was that the cold air would drive the bad out of the patients. However, all is not as it seems. The mist comes out over that beach, and something comes out of that mist, and patients either miraculously get better (due to a sacrifice to the Mist King, which is what I was calling the smarmy, invisible bastard throughout the book) or they die. The Doctor, Rory, and Amy spend most of the book in a mental fog, but when they do start to get their shit together, some of the residents begin to trip up their efforts to get to the bottom of Doctor Bloom’s methods and the residents, not to mention little Maria’s story. Throw in Boris, a Romanov prince who’s one of the few in semi-better health, and you’re really wondering who the hell is feeding the resident’s brain energy into the mist. Believe me when I tell you that you’ll have no idea until the end- I almost made it to the last chapter without figuring it out, but something tipped me off. I was still shocked at the ending of the book, but I loved it regardless. I also loved the interplay with all of the different characters. I was heartbroken at the final shock of little Maria’s story. In short, this was everything I expect in a Doctor Who novelization. The only thing that pissed me off was that the good Doctor was a bit more irritating than normal. Rory & Amy’s relationship gets a jolt, first when he feels she cares more about the missing Doctor than she does him and then when he develops TB himself, from being in close quarters with a house full of TB patients. That dynamic is tested solely, but it comes out exactly as you would think. There is a bit of a similarity with a major event in this book, that also happened to be in one of the seasons of the show. Goss does address this in his foreword, and admits that it was unintentional and a development he was unaware of. That, in itself, shows that he is well suited to write these wonderful spin-offs of our Doctor Who BBC series. So, again, James Goss, thanks for rocking the Doctor Who novels I have read. And I kid you not, dear follower, I have a shit ton still to read. Here’s looking forward to reading more!