Doctor Who: Royal Blood Book Review
“Royal Blood” is a tedious “Doctor Who” novel.
Written by Una McCormack, “Royal Blood” is the third and final installment of The Glamour Chronicles trilogy (all of which have no real connection). In this adventure, the 12th Doctor and Clara arrive in the curiously technologically advanced yet semi-mediaeval city/state Varuz (a land between mountains and sea on another world). Upon arrival, The Doctor is mistaken as a Holy Man by Varuz’s current ruler Duke Aurelian. Slowly, but surely he begins to discover that Varuz was once a glorious nation and that it has become a poor place that is about to be conquered by Conrad and his powerful forces. The Doctor and Clara also learn that there is a secret power struggle for the throne as well. As if that wasn’t enough drama, the story also contains key subplots involving a mystery man (or is he?) posing as someone else, Lancelot and his Knights arriving in Varuz to seek the Holy Grail, and, of course, the infamous Glamour (which is a treasure this time around).
From the storytelling angle involving Lord Bernhardt talking about Varuz to the Royal Court drama, “Royal Blood” feels less like a “Doctor Who” story and more like a reactionary response to “Game of Thrones.” Sure, there are standard “Doctor Who” elements such as alien characters, grand mysteries, and an alien world, but, for the most part, the story is bogged down by characters tediously trying to prevent an oncoming war and somehow broker peace. As a result of this, the story loses its appeal around the midway point and never fully recovers despite a rather solid ending.
In terms of the depiction of the 12th Doctor and Clara, Una McCormack does a fine job in that department. She excels are capturing the banter between the two, but she does strangely make Clara somehow more grating than she is on the show at times when the character incessantly yammers on.
Overall Thoughts: “Royal Blood” is by no means a bad “Doctor Who” book. It just doesn’t make much of an impression. Of the 3 books in “The Glamour Chronicles” series, I’d recommend just picking up “Deep Time.”
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