Book Review – Doctor Who: Instruments of Darkness

  • Title: Instruments of Darkness
  • Series: BBC Books Past Doctor Adventures
  • Author: Gary Russell
  • Characters:  Sixth Doctor, Mel, Evelyn
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 12/11/2012

Doctor Who Instruments of Darkness is one of the BBC Books Past Doctor Adventures which feature Doctors 1-7 and were published just after the 1996 TV movie (starring Paul McGann) and coherently with the Eighth Doctor Adventures starring McGann’s Doctor (and with new Companions).

This particular story was only so-so. I liked seeing Evelyn in a novel (she’s a companion from the Big Finish audio plays) and her interaction with Mel was great. But, on the other hand, unlike “Spiral Scratch” which had me liking Mel, even though I have never liked Mel as a Doctor Who companion, in Instruments of Darkness she’s back to her old, boring, annoying self.

I must admit, I put this book down halfway through – and though I did pick it up again and finish it, the story really didn’t stick with me. I think part of the problem is that it spends much too much time with characters other than the Doctor and his companions, especially at the beginning of the story. I’m willing to put up with that for a chapter or two (it almost seems to be part of the outline for this series of books) but not the majority of the first half. And it doesn’t make me more sympathetic to the characters – because they all get killed anyway (or most of them do). And in this novel in particular, most of the characters specific to the novel are bad guys. Even the teens and young people with ESP powers, at the end, prove to be just as dangerous as the various forces that were holding them hostage.

Overall, I have to give this a three out of five rating. It’s OK, and not extremely bad like some of the PDA Doctor Who adventures, but it’s not extremely good either.

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