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Book Review: ‘Doctor Who: Revelation of the Daleks’ by Eric Saward

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The planet of Necros, as the name implies, is a pretty quiet place. This is because it’s one giant cemetery. Aside from the few people who maintain the structures and oversee the funerals (I’m sorry, the “Posture for Perpetual Instatement”), all the “residents” of Necros are either dead or cryogenically frozen to be reanimated once cures are found. However, things aren’t quite as peaceful here as those running Tranquil Repose would have you believe. But don’t worry, the Doctor is here, and he’ll soon straighten it all out. Doctor Who: Revelation of the Daleks by Eric Saward is based on a Doctor Who serial that originally aired from the 23rd to the 30th of March 1985.

[Warning: My review of Doctor Who: Revelation of the Daleks contains some spoilers!] 

A Doctor Who adventure among the dead

Necros is a very empty feeling planet. When the Sixth Doctor and Peri arrive there, ironically for some peace and quiet, Peri feels more creeped out than relaxed. It doesn’t take long for that unsettled feeling to grow into outright distress when the two are attacked by some organic/mechanical monstrosity.

The poor creature attacks and almost kills them, but at the same time seems to be in a great deal of pain. It’s actually grateful that Peri ends its suffering. Peri is less grateful. She feels horrible about what she’s done and wants to leave. But of course, the Doctor insists on staying, and so they do, moving deeper into the hidden dangers of Necros.

Doctor Who- Sixth Doctor
Colin Baker as the Sixth Doctor. Doctor Who (BBC).

Almost from the start, we the readers (but not the Doctor or Peri) are introduced to the real man behind the curtain on Necros. It turns out that Davros, an old enemy of the Doctor, is there. Under the guise of the “Great Healer” Davros has been promising to find cures for the people in suspended animation in Tranquil Repose. But in reality, he is using their bodies as the basis for his new generation of Daleks.

These Daleks are organic/mechanical monstrosities, like what the Doctor and Peri met on the plains of Necros when they first arrived. The new generation is supposed to be superior to the older versions of Daleks, but they still have some problems to be worked out. This includes the fact that the people being used to build them have no desire to be Daleks in the first place! It’s up to the Doctor and Peri to save the universe from Davros and his latest threat. If they can figure out what’s going on in time, that is.

Doctor Who: Revelation of the Daleks is not the best Doctor story

I’m far from an expert on Doctor Who. But I have read quite a few Doctor Who books this past year in celebration of the show’s sixtieth anniversary. Most of them have been pretty entertaining. Unfortunately, Revelation of the Daleks isn’t one of them.

It was a little odd that the bad guy’s identity was given away right at the beginning to us readers. Sure, the Doctor didn’t know who it was, but we did, so there wasn’t much in the way of suspense or build-up.

I also didn’t like how much death there was in the story. Okay, it takes place in a planet-sized cemetery, but do all the living people have to end up dead too? It made me feel like the Doctor was failing. What was the point of him going there if everyone just ended up dead? Indeed, many of them ended up dying because he was there, not despite him being there, which made it worse for me.

Besides the somewhat disappointing story, I didn’t care much for Saward’s writing style. He used a lot of very convoluted words, some I even had to look up, and that’s unusual. He also had an odd, stilted way of writing. It just didn’t feel natural to read and made it difficult to get into the story.

Revelation of the Daleks is based on a slightly older episode than most of the other books I’ve read, so maybe my grievances are a result of how the show was written at that time. I mean, the episode is almost 40 years old. Still, while the episode the book is based on is 40 years old, the book is only 4 years old, so Saward could have adjusted his writing if he had based it on the episode. 

Just watch the Revelation of the Daleks episodes

So overall, I wasn’t impressed with Revelation of the Daleks. I feel that it could have been done better. I’d recommend Doctor Who fans just watch the original episode to experience this adventure instead of reading the book. And I don’t say that very often!

My Rating: 5/10

Doctor Who: Revelation of the Daleks by Eric Saward is available now! Let us know on social media @mycosmiccircus or in The Cosmic Circus Discord if you plan on reading this novel or if you remember the old episodes!

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Luna Gauthier

I've always been a bookworm and fantasy is my favortie genre. I never imagined (okay, I imagined but I didn't think) that I could get those books sent to me for just my opinion. Now I am a very happy bookworm! @Lunagauthier19 on Twitter

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