This was a competent doctor who story and I definitely enjoyed it. It had some great characters, I enjoyed the insight into the Time War, and the plot itself managed to both be self-contained and to tie in nicely to the wider Doctor Who universe (with references to Genesis of the Daleks and a great lead-in to The Day of the Doctor). Cinder was a brilliant companion, who was incidentally revealed not to be straight (come on, TV series, it’s about time), and the War Doctor was impressively characterised, especially since George Mann had very little material to work with. He was both a distinct Doctor in his own right and yet also familiar enough to be the same man we all know and love.
Many people might be tired of the Daleks by this point, being the most overused threat in the whole Who-niverse, so don’t read this book if that bothers you. That said, I do think George Mann succeeded in making the Dalek threat distinctive enough to not just be a repeat of what we’ve already seen. Yes, the Daleks are waging war against every other species and, yes, they shout “exterminate” a lot, but there is an extra element that we’ve never come across before. I personally love the Daleks anyway, even if they are overused.
I also must give special mention to Nicholas Briggs, whose narration was flawless. His name on the cover was what convinced me to get the audiobook in the first place, having greatly enjoyed his narration of Prisoner of the Daleks. I’ve never found a more skilled audiobook narrator. His voice acting is impeccable and believable and every single character is distinct. I never had to wonder for a moment who was talking at any given point. That’s quite a huge bonus with a Doctor Who audiobook, as the actors they get to read them are often people who’ve played minor parts in one episode and are usually fairly unskilled at audiobook narration.
Despite its many positive points, it’s not a particularly special book. I found the ending to be a little rushed and predictable, without much emotional impact. If the ending had been stronger, I would have given this four stars. As it is, it’s probably a 3.5.
In conclusion, if you love Time Lords and Daleks and are after a fun Doctor Who story with a Doctor we’ve not had much material for, then I think this would definitely be the book for you. In addition to that, if you’re a fan of audiobooks, then definitely get it in that format, as it’s worth it purely for Nicholas Briggs’ narration.