Publisher: Broadway Books
Release Date: April 2nd 2013
Summary (from Goodreads):
It is the day after John F. Kennedy’s assassination and the faces of the dead are everywhere. PC Reg Cranfield sees his recently deceased father in the mists along Totter’s Lane. Reporter Mae Callon sees her late grandmother in a coffee stain on her desk. FBI Special Agent Warren Skeet finds his long-dead partner staring back at him from raindrops on a window pane. Then the faces begin to talk, and scream… and push through into our world. As the alien Shroud begins to feast on the grief of a world in mourning, can the Doctor dig deep enough into his own sorrow to save mankind?
I am reviewing this book as part of the Tommy V Cancer blog tour, which you can read more about here. When I signed up to take part, there were quite a few books that caught my eye, but I settled on this one for my review (and bought a couple more for later!) I’ve not read a Doctor Who book before, though I do have Time Lord Fairy Tales sat on my TBR.
On his website, Tommy says he’s a huge fan of Doctor Who, and this is really apparent in his writing. While you might think it’s easy to write about an established character – in this case the Doctor as played by Matt Smith – as the reader already knows what they look and sound like, I think it’s a lot harder. There’s an expectation to live up to and unlike a character that has only been written about, everyone has a similar if not identical idea of a TV character.
Donbavand captures the essence of the Eleventh Doctor perfectly. I could picture Matt Smith saying the lines and it all sounded like just the kind of weird and wonderful things he’d say. He got Clara spot on as well, and I could tell because I disliked her in the book as much as I do in the TV show – something about her just irritates me!
The story itself is a really interesting one, as the Earth is invaded by the Shroud, an alien that feeds on grief. It took a lot of twists and turns. Each time I thought they’d solved it and I knew where it was going, something new would crop up and leave me wondering again. It did get a little ridiculous towards the end, but it was all good fun and I loved the way everything came together.
This is definitely one for the hardcore Doctor Who fans. There’s a wonderful moment with flashbacks of the Doctors past, and as someone who’s only watched the modern episodes (Ninth Doctor onwards) I didn’t know who all of them were, but there was an Amy Pond moment that gave me all the feels. I’m told it’s full of references and I know I probably only understand half of them, but those I got I really enjoyed.
As my first time reading a Doctor Who book, I think I picked a great one, and I’d definitely be interested in picking some more up now. I’d love to see another from Tommy Donbavand too, as his passion for the character really shines through in the writing.
About the Author
Tommy is the author of the popular 13-book Scream Street series for 7 to 10 year olds, published by Walker Books in the UK and Candlewick Press in the US. His other books include Zombie!, Wolf and Uniform (winner of the Hackney Short Novel Award) for Barrington Stoke, Boredom Busters and Quick Fixes For Kids’ Parties (How To Books), and Making A Drama Out Of A Crisis (Network Continuum).
In theatre, Tommy’s plays have been performed to thousands of children on national tours to venues such as The Hackney Empire, Leeds City Varieties, and Nottingham Playhouse. These productions include Hey Diddle Diddle, Rumplestiltskin, Jack & Jill In The Forgotten Nursery, and Humpty Dumpty And The Incredibly Daring Rescue Of The Alien Princess From Deep Space. He is also responsible for five episodes of the CBBC TV series, Planet Cook (Platinum Films).
As an actor, Tommy played the Clearlake MC in the West End musical Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story for over eight years, in addition to roles in the movies Zombie Love Stories (where he battled hordes of Scottish undead) and Going Off Big Time (where he was beaten up on a bouncy castle). A veteran of pantomime, he has portrayed just about every comic character from Abanazer to an Ugly Sister.
Tommy lives in Lancashire with his wife and two sons. He is a HUGE fan of all things Doctor Who, plays blues harmonica, and makes a mean balloon poodle. He sees sleep as a waste of good writing time.
This blog tour is to help promote Tommy’s work and raise donations while he battles cancer. If you would like to donate then you can do so via Paypal here or you can sign up to become a Patron and pledge an amount each month to receive exclusive written content from Tommy. You can also buy his books – preferably from an independent bookshop, but if you want to order from Amazon then you can use this affiliate link to earn him a bit more from each purchase.
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