"Doctor Who: Dead Air" is narrated in first person by the Tenth Doctor, which sounds like it should be fun. Unfortunately, this approach really means that during the prose-y descriptive bits the Doctor sounds less like his usual zippy self and more like a slightly dull narrator. Which is a shame, because, as anyone who has seen the show, or heard David Tennant narrating other audiobooks, knows, neither the Doctor nor Tennant are dull by a *long* shot. There are a few shiningly fun moments - the exchanges between the Doctor and Layla, and the distinctly individual voices for the other original characters are a real treat. There are also plenty of gasp-worthy encounters with the monster, and a neat-ish twist towards the end, when it turns out the Doctor knew quite a bit more than he'd been letting on.
But the thing that got this a 3 instead of a 4 was the actual ending - which made the Doctor's solution, and the Doctor himself, seem ludicrously slow. The monster even TELLS him what the fatal flaw in his plan is. It's a hugely obvious mistake, and the ingenius movie-going pop-culture nut that is the Tenth Doctor should have accounted for it, especially. But he dismisses it out of hand and carries on. My reaction: Who are you and what have you done with the real Doctor?
But if the writer had let the Doctor be himself, I guess he wouldn't have had an excuse for putting in the final, blandly ominous lines. Which would have been cool, if there weren't already so many other tales all over TV, film, and literature with similar endings.
If you're looking for a Tenth Doctor audiobook to try, you might be tempted to start with this one, because it is one of the more inexpensive options. However, it doesn't do the Whoverse canon, or the Doctor, much justice. You'll be better off starting with something like "The Stone Rose" or "Feast of the Drowned."
I absolutely adored this book, partly because of the story, but chiefly because of David Tennant's wonderful reading voice. For the prose bits he uses his native Scottish accent (which, Scottish accents are beautiful). Then for the seen-on-TV characters, he captures everyone's vocal cadences and styles: Jackie, Rose, Mickey, and the Doctor all sound like themselves. Well, I guess being able to sound like the Doctor is a given. And then he creates distinctly seperate voices for the book-only characters. Especially, the one he adopts for the thing behind all the events (come on, you know there's a thing!) is sheer genius. Original, funny, alien - and perfect! And it was his own idea to voice it like that - nothing in the book implies it spoke unusually, and the author herself was (pleasantly) surprised. It was so mesmerizing, I kept forgetting that every particle of the being's voice and personality was coming out of Tennant, and there wasn't really another being talking.
Story-wise, his timing is spot on, which is especially great for the comic bits (I'm an introvert, yet I couldn't NOT go into public convulsions of laughter at the Doctor's reactions when things went unexpectedly wrong for him). I'm making it sound like it's all comedy, but the overall story is quite serious: someone's running around Rome magically killing people, the Doctor keeps failing to save Rose, there's a gladiator battle of sorts and a bloodthirsty Roman goddess, and of course the Earth is in danger of destruction again. So, you see, it's all around wonderful! I'd meant this to be my last book from Audible, but now I can't leave, because I have to get every other Doctor Who book Mr. Tennant's narrated - even though they're all abridged and I've heretofore avoided abridged books like the very plague - *and* I'm working on getting all the Cressida Cowell ones, too. He was fantastic to watch as the Doctor on TV, but gosh, he's spectacularly good just to *listen* to, too! Cheers!
Thank you, Audible, for this wonderful surprise! O. Henry's stories are among my favorites EVER, and to have this collection include work by just about my favorite narrator on Earth (Katherine Kellgren, who does excellent voices on the Bloody Jack series!) really tops the cake! You all did not have to do this, and that you came up with this amazing, perfect gift - WOW again! Oh, and the stories are beautiful, too :) I'm so excited!
Thank you again, and Merry Christmas!
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