Review: Doctor Who: Books: Lights Out (Puffin 12th Doctor)

Lights outBy Holly Black

Puffin ebook, out now

Going for coffee for Clara, the Doctor meets young 78351 – and not for the first time…

Yes, there’s another story for the Puffin collection and it’s a cracking short tale for the Peter Capaldi incarnation, set (presumably) between Deep Breath and Into the Dalek, when the Doctor is on his coffee-hunting expedition. The Spiderwick Chronicles’ Holly Black, whose latest collaboration with Cassandra Clare, Magisterium, came out recently, has caught the 12th Doctor’s mannerisms as well as his rather unnerving presence and self-examination – something that’s perhaps easier to put across in a first-person narrated tale like this.

There’s an abundance of continuity references in the story, but they’re actually there for a purpose this time, rather than purely to show that the author has watched Doctor Who, really! Creatures and places from classic and new Who, The Sarah Jane Adventures and Torchwood all turn up and are used accurately – there’s even a decent use for an element from The Creature from the Pit (not one of my favourite Tom Baker instalments).

As befits the style of story that we’ve seen this season for the most part, there’s a dark side to the tale and Black doesn’t shy away from describing it or its consequences for her characters. As with so many of these stories – and their successors, Time Trips – it would be great to see her tackle a full length novel…

Verdict: A short story that slots neatly into the broadcast adventures. 8/10

Paul Simpson

Click here to order Doctor Who: Lights Out from Amazon.co.uk

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