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Reviews for The Drosten's Curse

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I Always Thought She'd Be Good at This!

By:Earle DL Foster, Invercargill, New Zealand
Date:Monday 30 November 2015
Rating:   10

The Death Pit has literally quadrupled in size and sheer velocity. A.L Kennedy has more than outshone her earlier effort in the Time Trips anthology, with an outstanding characterisation of King Tom, and two enjoyably new companions who deserve visual representation in their own right. And I always was a fan of Fawlty Towers, so tremendously loved the subtle cultural references throughout where appropriate.

Wrong in So Many Ways

By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Tuesday 17 May 2016
Rating:   4

The Drosten's Curse abundantly illustrates most of what can go wrong in writing a Doctor 4 novel. The story, such as it is, does not have enough to support a novel of this length. Basically, a big mind parasite that also eats people is haunting a golf course. Because the setting and conception really do not offer enough for 300+ pages of novel, half of the novel, stuck in the middle, has the Doctor trapped in mental space playing mind games with the monster, and his two temporary companions isolated in other tiny spaces so the writer can go back and forth between them reiterating just how isolated they are. However, the real problems are in style and conception. Too many writers of Doctor 4 novels in trying to capture Tom Baker's portrayal focus far too hard on what might be called his whimsy, the habit of making seemingly random or tangential lighthearted observations. A.L. Kennedy has focused so hard on this whimsy that she mostly misses the seriousness and keen insight that makes Doctor 4's particular whimsy work. Nearly every statement the Doctor makes in this novel is tangential, witty, or endearing. This Doctor cannot say or even think a straightforward sentence. What makes it worse is that Kennedy has made this whimsical manner of speaking her principal way of telling the story. It is all whimsical and light, though not particularly funny. It is all foam and no beer, all cream and no coffee, all frosting and no cake. The characters are shallow. This is made worse in two regards. One is that the reader is constantly told that the main "companion," Bryony Mailer, is exceptional, extraordinary, outstanding, decidedly above and beyond when she isn't at all. The other "companion," Putta Pattershaun 5, is one of those shy, awkward, unmen that occupy many British light comedies, except that Putta is unbelievably shy, awkward, clumsy, geeky, etc., so much so that he quickly becomes annoying and stays that way through the rest of the book. The magical ending also does not work for me, since once again it introduces whimsy to replace seriousness and so undercuts the rationale for whatever dramatic tension Kennedy has managed to stir up. I do give Kennedy points for consistency. She has chosen her path and stuck to it. I just felt that it wasn't a particularly good path.


By:Trevor Smith, Nottingham, United Kingdom
Date:Friday 16 June 2017
Rating:   6

I really struggled with this. I've never read any of Kennedy's novels so I didn't know what to expect other than she's a well respected writer. I found her writing style very repetitive and dull. I didn't care for any of the characters and the story is to fantasy for my tastes. On the plus side I thought the description of Tom Baker's Doctor is spot on. She must be a fan as she gets his nuances and personality spot on. Not for me I'm afraid.

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