Doctor Who: The Doctor Trap

Doctor Who: The Doctor Trap [Abridged] - Simon Messingham, Russell Tovey Of all the New Series Doctor Who books I have read (about 12 or so at this point, I think), this is the least successful. The Doctor Trap is essentially a failed attempt at what could have been a complex and interesting case of "mistaken identity with a twist." It is hampered most by it's length; it is not long enough to provide the detail necessary to the mystery. The need to differentiate the Doctor from his "impostor" overrides any sense of genuine mystery, and creates a lot of undue confusion instead. The initial events of the story are so jumbled that it takes half the book just to get the story rolling, and by then you are already entering the conclusion. The "Doctor trap," a mystery in itself, is bandied around frequently but is dropped so abruptly into the plot that what it truly means turns out to be astoundingly unimportant.

The biggest flaw in the whole narrative is the key element around which the whole thing hinges: the "fake" Doctor, brought in by Sebastiene as a prominent part of his plan to hunt the Doctor as a "dangerous animal" on his own personal planet. It is never entirely clear what the point of the fake is, and since most of Sebastiene's planning relies on a combination of weak logic and megalomania, neither he nor the impostor ever feel like a genuine threat, so the resolution is worth very little in the end. Another particularly irritating element was Donna; usually my favorite companion, she is not characterized well and comes across as selfish and whiny rather than her assertive and compassionate self.

As an audiobook, I was not impressed with Russel Tovey as narrator (although I usually don't mind his work), especially when he attempted to voice Donna, and unfortunately his choice of voice for Sebastiene was one of the reasons I was never able to take him seriously as a villain.

Overall: Weak
*Convoluted and poorly structured plot
*Unconvincing threat
*Poor characterization
*Too short to be effective
*Portrayal of the Doctor hit and miss

Only recommended if you've run out of Who books and desperately need a fix