Dec 31, 2013

[Books] Doctor Who: The Angel's Kiss (A Melody Malone Mystery)

Every year on my birthday I spam my social networks with my Amazon Kindle Wish List and see what sticks for folks. I've gotten a few interesting ebook gifts over the years and it's a fun way to see what my friends want me to read.

However it was Tobie who managed to gift me with Doctor Who: The Angel's Kiss, which is a delightful little novella told in the voice of popular Doctor Who character River Song. The book is meant to tie-in directly with the episode "The Angels Take Manhattan" from the seventh season of the 2005 revival of the franchise.

I'm already a big fan of River Song - she's such a sassy, sexy, and intelligent character and has managed to present herself as quite the equal on screen for the Doctor. To have an entire book supposedly written by her just to get the Doctor's attention was a novel idea and this book nicely gives us a taste of her literary adventures.

Synopsis: Doctor Who: The Angel's Kiss (A Melody Malone Mystery) is a novella fictionally written by River Song under the detective persona Melody Malone. The book was actually written by Justin Richards.

The book is a first person narrative mystery told from the perspective of Melody Malone herself. She is first approached by movie star Rock Railton, who fears for his life for some reason. He somehow suspects his employers given a conversation that he had overheard - one that included reference to a threat known as "the kiss of an angel". Naturally this is enough to pique Melody's interest and she takes the case.

But as she begins her investigation strange things start to happen like being accosted by a homeless man who looks a lot like an older Rock Railton and Rock not recognizing her when she shows up at a studio party. When Melody does meet the studio owner, Max Kliener, she's cautiously flattered by Max's insistence that he can make her a movie star.

Now we have to note that this book is meant to act as a prequel to the Melody Malone mystery that Amy Pond reads during the episode. Thus this book does not feature the key chapter that was read aloud in the book. And while I do wish they'd write that particular story as well, I can imagine how complicated that might be to accomplish. If anything, it was nice that they still decided to come out with a Melody Malone mystery at all given the circumstances.

If you've ever watched Doctor Who and seen how River Song (as beautifully brought to life by Alex Kingston) pretty much steals most scenes that she's in, then you'll already have some pretty high expectations about a novel told from the perspective of River. And the book totally delivers in this regard given it's flirtatious, cheeky and yet still very clever.

The writing isn't necessarily sophisticated, but it does nicely capture the River Song that we've all come to know and love. And thus kudos has to go to the author for managing to do this decent;y well without turning the story into something hammy or more of a caricature.

My main complaint about the book is that it's just too short - I want more Melody Malone! I don't think we'll be that fortunate any time soon, but a guy can dream, can't he? As it stands though, this little adventure stands nicely on its own and it's a pleasure to read for fans of the show. The Angel's Kiss fully deserves 4.5 descriptions of Melody flirting with other characters out of a possible 5.

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