From the same author as ‘Twelve Weeping Angels’, this book is in much of the same vein. It consists of twelve short stories set across the ‘Whoniverse’ which are loosely linked by Christmas elements.
Christmas doesn’t necessarily play a particularly important part in many of the stories, sometimes being little more than a mention. There is also an influence of the pre-Christmas midwinter festivals/celebrations which were more of a major theme in ‘Twelve Weeping Angels’.
Some stories are, inevitably, more focussed upon Christmas than others, such as Vastra becoming overly concerned with providing Jenny with a perfect Christmas even though she doesn’t quite comprehend the concept and poor little Catherine having a Plasmavore visit on Christmas Eve.
One of the highlights of the collection involves the Doctor taking Davros out for dinner on numerous Christmases. It wonderfully showcases that trait of endless optimism the Doctor often exhibits as he attempts to instil some form of Christmas spirit into Davros, of all people, in a vane attempt to make him change his ways. Every debate between the Doctor and Davros is deliciously entertaining and this doesn’t disappoint. It also provides the chance to see Davros interact with an incarnation of the Doctor that he didn’t onscreen.
Much like ‘Twelve Weeping Angels’, the Doctor isn’t massively prevalent in the collection. Across the various tales there is a good mix of him being the main character, making a brief appearance or not featuring at all. This allows for stories that concentrate on the adventures of the Paternoster Gang, an example of what Missy gets up to whilst the Doctor spends his ‘last night’ with River Song on Darillium and a rare occurrence of Rory and River together as Rory tries to provide his daughter with Christmas dinner in the Stormcage facility.
The paradox theme runs throughout the collection but it is generally a minor element in certain stories. There is a slight linking of stories through this theme, but this pays off better in some than others. There isn’t an excessive amount of ‘timey-wimeyness’ and the stories all work perfectly well on their own.
Although not as impressive as ‘Twelve Weeping Angels’, this is another enjoyable collection of stories with a Christmas fairy tale atmosphere from the same author.