To round off Official Doctor Who week, before we face off against the Daleks (won’t they ever be exterminated?) with the new Doctor tonight, I bring you a review. The wife and I have lately taken to listening audio books while on the road, which is more fun than I would have thought. Apparently listening to books can be almost as good as reading them.
Of course, with the new Doctor being only a week old there are no novels out yet featuring him, so I’ll be looking at The Stone Rose the first novel featuring the Tenth (and also Eleventh and possibly Twelfth (I see this is going to get confusing…let’s stick with Tenth)) Doctor, written by Jacqueline Rayner and narrated by the Doctor himself, David Tennant.
The Stone Rose begins with Mickey showing Rose and the Doctor a two-thousand year old statue in a museum of a Roman goddess that looks exactly like Rose. Naturally Rose and the Doctor hop into the TARDIS (this was before Mickey started travelling with them) and set off for Ancient Rome where the Doctor gets caught up in the search for a missing boy and Rose gets an early start on her modelling career, but gets a bit more than she bargained for.
Ms Rayner managed to perfectly convey the character of the Tenth Doctor, which is quite a feat if you consider this novel was released two days before the first episode (barring the Christmas special) featuring this Doctor aired. Rose and Mickey are also spot-on, and they are supported by a colourful cast of characters, many of whom turn out to be what you don’t expect.
The plot is fast-paced and wacky beyond belief. We have the Doctor fighting wild animals, gladiators and Roman soldiers (at once) in the Amphitheatre, all while freeing a bunch of slaves and causing general havoc. There’s also timey-wimey stuff galore as timelines become so convoluted Moffatt himself won’t be able to unravel them, like when a future version of Rose gives something to a past version of the Doctor so the Doctor can later give it to Rose so she can give it to him in the past.
In spite of (or in the midst of) all the craziness Rayner manages to have one really invest in the characters. We share Mickey’s distress when he believes Rose has been lost and his anger at the Doctor for allowing it to happen. And I actually cried (not a good thing while driving) when they (spoiler) freed the genie (it probably didn’t help that that was the week Robin Williams passed away).
But as good as the writing was, the narration was better. As much as I already admire Tennant’s acting ability, his reading of the book left me in awe. Naturally he read the Doctor’s role perfectly, but his characterisation of Rose and Mickey also managed to almost make one believe it was Billie Piper and Noel Clarke reading their lines. What is more, he managed to give every single character, even the walk-ons, their own unique voice. I know a bit about doing voices from my puppetry and can tell you it’s not as easy as you’d think.
This audiobook was an entertaining experience in all respects and I most heartily recommend The Stone Rose it to any Whovian, or anyone who’s just looking for a good read…er…listen.
As of the time of publication the audiobook of The Stone Rose is available from Audible.com.
A couple more reviews of The Stone Rose
- [Audiobook] Review: Doctor Who: The Stone Rose (Doctor Who: New Series Adventures, #7) by Jacqueline Rayner (readinginwinter.com)
- “The Stone Rose” by Jacqueline Rayner (infernalimagination.wordpress.com)