Doctor Who: Cat’s Cradle: Witch Mark by Andrew Hunt

The Cat’s Cradle story arc in the Doctor Who New Adventures is nowhere near as cohesive as the Timewrym one. They all deal with the TARDIS being damaged (which happens in Time’s Crucible) but are otherwise not connected – so don’t be put off of reading this if you’ve not read the others, as it is essentially self-contained.

The first book was very much tied into the mythology of the Doctor Who series and something I found quite boring (despite loving the mythology). The second book took the Doctor and Ace on an adventure very different to any they’d been on before – it was a very dark and experimental. The third, meanwhile, feels much more like the kind of Doctor Who story you’d find on television – only if it were a little more adult. And I don’t mean to imply it feels like something we’ve seen before. What I mean is that this feels like a good, new episode of the show.

I may not have enjoyed it quite as much as the second Cat’s Cradle book, but I have to say that this is a pretty solid Doctor Who adventure. The Doctor and Ace arrive in Wales and find that there have been sightings of mythological creatures in the area – sightings which are being covered up. Their paths cross with a couple of American backpackers called Jack and David (whose portions of the story I enjoyed just as much as the Doctor and Ace’s) and I think Andrew Hunt has done an especially good job of not depending too much on the character who we have already been endeared to. Even if this was just a novel about Jack and David, I think I’d have loved it.

The story ends with a satisfying twist which I appreciated very much. It’s a book which wonderfully blends together sci-fi and fantasy – and also realistic day to day life in small rural towns. It’s expertly written and I always found myself excited to read the next chapter. One criticism I have is that there is one particularly strange scene which is never explained – perhaps it will be picked up on in a later novel, but at the moment it just feels like a plot hole. Ignoring that, it’s a pretty good read indeed.

Rating: 8.4/10

Buy it here.

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