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THE FACE-EATER by Simon Messingham

Buy this Dr Who novel: UK Buy Doctor Who novel at Amazon.co.uk US Buy Doctor Who book at Amazon.com

Another poor book in a run of poor books. Damn.

There's very little to like in The Face-Eater. We quite enjoyed the early description of Proxima City, although there isn't much that's original in it. There's a Big Twist that's well done. The sentient native species is nice. Apart from that...

One of the worst aspects of The Face-Eater is its reliance on cliche. Helen Percival, the colony leader, is a walking stereotype of closed-minded authoritarianism. Sam, card-carrying lefty, responds predictably to the colony offices as a bastion of evil capitalism. The writing itself is full of cliches - his bowels turned to iced water, and that kind of stuff - and is ploddingly dull.

It's hard for us to tell whether the plot made sense and the monster was consistent, because we were so bored we had trouble concentrating. We had difficulty keeping the characters straight for the same reason. One thing we did notice, though, was that the slam-bang high-concept change to Sam that happened in Beltempest trickled away to nothing here with no explanation. Seriously annoying.

An endurance test.

Buy this Dr Who novel: UK Buy Doctor Who novel at Amazon.co.uk US Buy Doctor Who book at Amazon.com