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Doctor Who: The Ruby's Curse

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She's got ice in her heart and a kiss on her lips... 1939, New York. Private Eye, Melody Malone, is hired to find a stolen ruby, the Eye of Horus. The ruby might hold the secret to the location of Cleopatra's tomb - but everyone who comes into contact with it dies. Can Melody escape the ruby's curse? 1939, New York. River Song, author of the Melody Malone Mysteries, is force She's got ice in her heart and a kiss on her lips... 1939, New York. Private Eye, Melody Malone, is hired to find a stolen ruby, the Eye of Horus. The ruby might hold the secret to the location of Cleopatra's tomb - but everyone who comes into contact with it dies. Can Melody escape the ruby's curse? 1939, New York. River Song, author of the Melody Malone Mysteries, is forced to find a reality-altering weapon, the Eye of Horus - but everyone who comes into contact with it dies. River doesn't believe in curses - but is she wrong? From the top-security confines of Stormcage to the barbarism of first-century Egypt, River battles to find the Eye of Horus before its powers are used to transform the universe. To succeed, she must team up with a most unlikely ally - her own fictional alter ego, Melody. And together they must solve another mystery: Is fiction changing into fact - or is fact changing into fiction?


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She's got ice in her heart and a kiss on her lips... 1939, New York. Private Eye, Melody Malone, is hired to find a stolen ruby, the Eye of Horus. The ruby might hold the secret to the location of Cleopatra's tomb - but everyone who comes into contact with it dies. Can Melody escape the ruby's curse? 1939, New York. River Song, author of the Melody Malone Mysteries, is force She's got ice in her heart and a kiss on her lips... 1939, New York. Private Eye, Melody Malone, is hired to find a stolen ruby, the Eye of Horus. The ruby might hold the secret to the location of Cleopatra's tomb - but everyone who comes into contact with it dies. Can Melody escape the ruby's curse? 1939, New York. River Song, author of the Melody Malone Mysteries, is forced to find a reality-altering weapon, the Eye of Horus - but everyone who comes into contact with it dies. River doesn't believe in curses - but is she wrong? From the top-security confines of Stormcage to the barbarism of first-century Egypt, River battles to find the Eye of Horus before its powers are used to transform the universe. To succeed, she must team up with a most unlikely ally - her own fictional alter ego, Melody. And together they must solve another mystery: Is fiction changing into fact - or is fact changing into fiction?

30 review for Doctor Who: The Ruby's Curse

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kacey

    Loved this with my whole, entire heart. If you know me at all, you know River Song is my favorite fictional character of all time. I had super high expectations and hopes going into this and I’m so pleased to say I wasn’t disappointed. This felt like a proper Moffat Era DW script to me. I’m genuinely impressed with how well Alex Kingston captured the Essence of River/Melody and wove the history of doctor Who, Rivers personal past (Hello, silence anyone 💀) and Melody’s fictional persona into one Loved this with my whole, entire heart. If you know me at all, you know River Song is my favorite fictional character of all time. I had super high expectations and hopes going into this and I’m so pleased to say I wasn’t disappointed. This felt like a proper Moffat Era DW script to me. I’m genuinely impressed with how well Alex Kingston captured the Essence of River/Melody and wove the history of doctor Who, Rivers personal past (Hello, silence anyone 💀) and Melody’s fictional persona into one of the most unique and Intriguing books I’ve read. Absolutely stellar novel overall, More River books written by Alex Please!!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    Really feels like a love letter to River Song. Could’ve maybe used an extra edit as there were a couple of inconsistencies I noticed and a few grammar errors but not enough to ruin the story or my enjoyment of it. I recommend this to anyone who loves River Song.

  3. 5 out of 5

    vita✨

    ms kingston proved that a) she is the ONLY person ever qualified to write anything about river song and yes that does exclude steven moffat, and b) she can read minds because i sincerely believe that when we met for 5 seconds at supernova in 2013 she tapped into my 12yo brain and went "ah this future twink is gonna lose his fucking shit in 8 years time if i combine two of his special interests into one book" ms kingston proved that a) she is the ONLY person ever qualified to write anything about river song and yes that does exclude steven moffat, and b) she can read minds because i sincerely believe that when we met for 5 seconds at supernova in 2013 she tapped into my 12yo brain and went "ah this future twink is gonna lose his fucking shit in 8 years time if i combine two of his special interests into one book"

  4. 4 out of 5

    Geonn Cannon

    You have to love an actor who loves their character so much they write a whole novel about her, AND narrate the audiobook version. Alex Kingston does a great job as River (and Melody) to no one's surprise, and I don't think I've ever heard an audiobook narrator having as much fun as she does. (view spoiler)[ It also contains a moment where River discovers the Doctor is currently female; hopefully we'll get a chance to see how their reunion plays out before Jodie says goodbye. (hide spoiler)] A m You have to love an actor who loves their character so much they write a whole novel about her, AND narrate the audiobook version. Alex Kingston does a great job as River (and Melody) to no one's surprise, and I don't think I've ever heard an audiobook narrator having as much fun as she does. (view spoiler)[ It also contains a moment where River discovers the Doctor is currently female; hopefully we'll get a chance to see how their reunion plays out before Jodie says goodbye. (hide spoiler)] A must-read for River fans.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lady Nerd

    3.5 stars. Quite fun and enjoyable.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sophie

    The insanely high production value of this audiobook coupled with Alex Kingston acting the absolute shit out of it has led me to conclude any subsequent audiobooks I listen to will automatically pale in comparison. This is quality entertainment.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mel

    Brilliant! I was really looking forward to this and it didn't disappoint. The Melody Malone parts read much more like Hard Boiled detective stories than the previous Melody Malone outing. There was a great part 11 pages in where she was eating a giant breakfast. Compared with Moffatt who had River go and weigh herself as soon as she regenerated. Sometimes you really can tell when it's a woman writer. The story was fun and twisty and turny. The ending was very sentimental and sweet. There was a l Brilliant! I was really looking forward to this and it didn't disappoint. The Melody Malone parts read much more like Hard Boiled detective stories than the previous Melody Malone outing. There was a great part 11 pages in where she was eating a giant breakfast. Compared with Moffatt who had River go and weigh herself as soon as she regenerated. Sometimes you really can tell when it's a woman writer. The story was fun and twisty and turny. The ending was very sentimental and sweet. There was a lot of attitude and badassness. I am definitely going to need to listen to the audio book version.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Helen Hnin

    (view spoiler)[HERE BE SPOILERS This book is So. So. Good. I am SO in love with Alex Kingston's voice. I tried to read ebook version but it's just not the same. She writes the way River talks, which is not awful or anything but it's sort of awkward in written form. I don't like reading it. So I'm really glad that I got my hands on the audiobook version. When combined with her experienced narration, it's just *chef's kiss.* I love how she wrote River Song and Melody Malone. It's amazing how much (view spoiler)[HERE BE SPOILERS This book is So. So. Good. I am SO in love with Alex Kingston's voice. I tried to read ebook version but it's just not the same. She writes the way River talks, which is not awful or anything but it's sort of awkward in written form. I don't like reading it. So I'm really glad that I got my hands on the audiobook version. When combined with her experienced narration, it's just *chef's kiss.* I love how she wrote River Song and Melody Malone. It's amazing how much detail she put into this book. Not to mention the internal sense of time that she talks about makes so. much. sense. I love how she wrote about stormcage, about old New York, about her parents, and about her past. It's so perfect, it makes me want to cry. The rest is just my chapter notes because I love writing down my thoughts while listening to an audiobook. Chapter 14: I cannot believe the Doctor rerouted her distress signal to Captain Jack. Can you imagine River's face at that moment? I have tears in my eyes right now. Chapter 18: Oh yeah. It's all coming together. :D Chapter 21: GODDAMN I AM LOVING THIS. THIS IS MIND BLOWING OMG Chapter 23: I can't believe this is only halfway through the story. It's so good. Chapter 25: ......Catatoullie. Chapter 29: It's so fun listening to River and Melody interact. It's amazing. Alex Kingston's two distinct voices are just so, so immersing. During the first few chapters, I confuse them a lot but then it became so different. I love it. Also, I cannot believe how long this chapter is. I do like how the mystery is solved. It's a neat case. Even if it has nothing to do with River Song, I'd gladly read it. But of course, this way is better. Chapter 30: I love it when River mentioned about conspiracy theory and about "Moon is an egg." Also, the PLOT TWIST. OH MY GOD. I LOVE IT. She is a great writer. All the details were there, in both cases! (Also, the 13th Doctor... I'm in tears. I didn't think she'd appear, even just as a single sentence. Someone please save me from turning into a puddle.) I love that the plot kept going. I thought it'd get simpler but it got more complicated AND better. Also the fact that Alex Kingston didn't make it "child-friendly" or whatever most Doctor Who writers think they should be doing. Some parts are dark, and some parts are very adult. It's so authentically River Song. The postscript is also so very beautiful. TLDR: This is the best book I've read in months. I love Alex Kingston so much. (hide spoiler)]

  9. 4 out of 5

    Gonçalo Diniz

    4⭐ I love Doctor Who and I love River Song. So, when I knew Alex Kingston (the actress who portrays River Song) had written a detective time travelling River+Melody Malone novel and that Kingston herself narrated the audiobook, I couldn't resist. River Song is in her cell writing her next Melody Malone novel when a new cellmate arrives and complicates River's writing process. Meanwhile, Melody is hired to find an ancient ruby, stumbling upon a murder. I wasn't expecting the next Agatha Christie, bu 4⭐ I love Doctor Who and I love River Song. So, when I knew Alex Kingston (the actress who portrays River Song) had written a detective time travelling River+Melody Malone novel and that Kingston herself narrated the audiobook, I couldn't resist. River Song is in her cell writing her next Melody Malone novel when a new cellmate arrives and complicates River's writing process. Meanwhile, Melody is hired to find an ancient ruby, stumbling upon a murder. I wasn't expecting the next Agatha Christie, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much this book holds up. It's cringy at times, sure, but it's also funny and witty. The mystery itself is enjoyable and the jumping around between River and Melody is compelling and done elegantly. Still, the ending was a bit disappointing - not the whodunnit aspect, that was fine, just predictable enough for very attentive readers, the actual ending, the twists and turns the book took to wrap itself up. This, of course, couldn't be a Doctor Who novel without many references, which I die for! I've actually been rewatching the 11th's seasons, which means a lot of River, so I'm caught up in the references. Concerning the audiobook, Kingston does a stellar job, not only as River and Melody but as everyone else too, the characters are easily distinguishable, which is a must for me as I usually listen to audiobooks while walking, cooking or working out. The rest of the audio design is impressive as well, with some small orchestra breaks in-between chapters. Anyway, Kingston clearly had a lot of fun writing and narrating this book and it shows! She knows her character really well and never did I feel River was doing something out of character. P.S.: YES, A JACK HARKNESS CAMEO!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Book collector

    A River Song novel. Yes please. One written by Alex kingston. Big yes. Following in the tradition of the last few years, Alex is the latest actor to write for her own character. Of course she absolutely gets River down perfectly. As with 'scratchman,' (Tom baker with James goss) and 'at childhoods end' (sophie aldred with steve cole and mike tucker) Alex has a who novel stalwart helping her in the form of Jacqueline rayner. This helps with the accuracy of the who details. Many people forget that A River Song novel. Yes please. One written by Alex kingston. Big yes. Following in the tradition of the last few years, Alex is the latest actor to write for her own character. Of course she absolutely gets River down perfectly. As with 'scratchman,' (Tom baker with James goss) and 'at childhoods end' (sophie aldred with steve cole and mike tucker) Alex has a who novel stalwart helping her in the form of Jacqueline rayner. This helps with the accuracy of the who details. Many people forget that actors may know their own character inside out but they aren't necessarily steeped in the minutiae of who continuity. I loved this novel. However I'm not going to reveal any of the plot (spoilers!) except to say it's very good. Alex is definitely channelling her inner Moffat (and that sounds odd out loud.) The plot is pure Moffat era and as this is very much a Matt Smith style tale I'm very happy. It's complicated but perfectly clear to me what's going on. The characters are very good, it's very well written and it's a fun book to read. There are some nice guest appearances as well. Including a former companion, an alien race and a couple of doctor cameos. (Spoilers so no real info here!) This was great fun and here's hoping Alex returns with another further adventure for River. I've a signed bookplate edition that will be treasured for years to come. Great book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ellen Schoener

    Basically, the quintessential River Song book. Full of glamorous timey-whimeyness. We visit Stormcage, investigate crime in 1930s New York, plus we meet Cleopatra on a trip to ancient Egypt. Plus, there are cameos (if you do not want these spoiled, do not read the Dramatis Personae at the very beginning.... although, that naturally comes with a spoiler warning). All of this narrated in the voice and style of River Song. If you do not like the character of River, this will not sway you the other way Basically, the quintessential River Song book. Full of glamorous timey-whimeyness. We visit Stormcage, investigate crime in 1930s New York, plus we meet Cleopatra on a trip to ancient Egypt. Plus, there are cameos (if you do not want these spoiled, do not read the Dramatis Personae at the very beginning.... although, that naturally comes with a spoiler warning). All of this narrated in the voice and style of River Song. If you do not like the character of River, this will not sway you the other way. If you like River, then you will like this. However, there is nothing new in this book and none of it is a revelation. But that is not a bad thing when you are after a nice adventure with an old friend, and it is worth hanging out with River for a few hours. Writing is engaging, pacing is good. And now I won't say anything else, because- Spoilers!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Kukwa

    I wasn't too sure about this one at first. The Melody Malone chapters were starting to grate, with the forced slang, and I couldn't figure out how River's Stormcage situation was going to dovetail into the detective plot. I shouldn't have worried...1/3 of the way through the novel, my worries disappeared and the story suddenly became a timey-wimey nightmare worthy of the era. The ending itself offers some character and authorial self-awareness that borders on genius. I'm looking forward to futur I wasn't too sure about this one at first. The Melody Malone chapters were starting to grate, with the forced slang, and I couldn't figure out how River's Stormcage situation was going to dovetail into the detective plot. I shouldn't have worried...1/3 of the way through the novel, my worries disappeared and the story suddenly became a timey-wimey nightmare worthy of the era. The ending itself offers some character and authorial self-awareness that borders on genius. I'm looking forward to future adventures of River Song, as penned by the wonderful person who embodies her.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Abigail Chapman

    I had lots of anticipation waiting for this book after pre ordering it and after it arrived i was scared of being underwhelmed. I have never been so wrong, it was better than I could of imagined. Growing up watching the reboot of doctor and look up to River and her no care attitude, having episodes mentioned thought made me laugh every time. This is a book I never knew I needed and am so happy to have.

  14. 4 out of 5

    KP Mathislife

    Alex Kingston captures River PERFECTLY here and I loved it so much. The plot was a little predictable at times and at the end I found myself not really caring but just River being River saved the book. And one little cameo near the end destroyed all my feelings.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Steffan

    4.5 Stars Very enjoyable story, nicely written and captured River Song almost exactly how she is on the running TV series! Bit confusing at times, but isn't that Doctor Who anyways! Recommended to any Whovian who desires more River Song adventures! 4.5 Stars Very enjoyable story, nicely written and captured River Song almost exactly how she is on the running TV series! Bit confusing at times, but isn't that Doctor Who anyways! Recommended to any Whovian who desires more River Song adventures!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ianto Williams

    Very good. It's always interesting to see actors write their own characters. Alex Kingston does a brilliant job capturing River Song and making many nods to the character and the Doctor Who continuity. The plot itself is rather simple, with a timey wimey twist as expected. The Melody Malone sub-plot/twist is brilliant and really clever, without wanting to spoil anything it's very satisfying and works well with Angels Take Manhattan. If Kingston does write anymore novels I will be among the first Very good. It's always interesting to see actors write their own characters. Alex Kingston does a brilliant job capturing River Song and making many nods to the character and the Doctor Who continuity. The plot itself is rather simple, with a timey wimey twist as expected. The Melody Malone sub-plot/twist is brilliant and really clever, without wanting to spoil anything it's very satisfying and works well with Angels Take Manhattan. If Kingston does write anymore novels I will be among the first to purchase them.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rita

    Fun

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    These stories put a Song in my heart and a spring in my step. AD 2021 Keep them coming, ladies! This audiobook was MORE than worth the wait. Thank you, Alex, for staying true to the fans.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jenna Alcock

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Absolutely loved it, was so much fun. All the characters that popped in was a joy I'm one for nostalgia. It was written really well, had a few small inconsistencies. Hopefully not the only novel we are going to get. The only thing that was missed for me was .... Well spoilers sweetie.... If river had an interaction with The Doctor after her being put to voice mail. Absolutely loved it, was so much fun. All the characters that popped in was a joy I'm one for nostalgia. It was written really well, had a few small inconsistencies. Hopefully not the only novel we are going to get. The only thing that was missed for me was .... Well spoilers sweetie.... If river had an interaction with The Doctor after her being put to voice mail.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    4.5/5 If you’re not a fan of River Song, you’re probably not gonna like "The Ruby’s Curse", Alex Kingston’s first "Doctor Who" book and River’s first solo novel. It’s pure, unadulterated River Song, with all the pros and cons that come with that. The book’s been advertised as a sort of melding of fact and fiction, with River writing a new Melody Malone story only to have elements of that story bleed into her reality. And, honestly, it’s every bit as mind-bending as it sounds—in the best way possi 4.5/5 If you’re not a fan of River Song, you’re probably not gonna like "The Ruby’s Curse", Alex Kingston’s first "Doctor Who" book and River’s first solo novel. It’s pure, unadulterated River Song, with all the pros and cons that come with that. The book’s been advertised as a sort of melding of fact and fiction, with River writing a new Melody Malone story only to have elements of that story bleed into her reality. And, honestly, it’s every bit as mind-bending as it sounds—in the best way possible. "Doctor Who: The Ruby’s Curse" is a love letter to River Song and her time on the show. It’s clever, thrilling, action-packed, and oh-so-meta. Is it perfect? No, but it sure is a lot of fun. "The Ruby’s Curse" sees River Song breaking into her prison cell at Stormcage so she can write the next Melody Malone novel in peace. That novel (also titled "The Ruby’s Curse" for reasons that become apparent by the story’s end) sees Melody Malone hired to find the Eye of Horus, a ruby stolen from Cleopatra’s tomb, and then to investigate the murder of the man who hired her—a pretty typical, though deeply enjoyable, pulp plotline. Of course, nothing about River’s life is peaceful and she soon finds herself embroiled in a real-life mystery that mirrors the one she’s writing for Melody Malone in surprising ways. Eventually, the events of the Melody Malone story begin influencing River’s reality as she breaks Ventrian, a neighboring prisoner, out of Stormcage so they can find a mysterious, reality-altering weapon that kills all who use it before it can fall into the wrong hands and destroy the earth. The novel bounces back and forth between these narratives, weaving a surprisingly-meta story revolving around this mysterious Eye of Horus. If that sounded too confusing, then maybe "The Ruby’s Curse" isn’t the book for you. In many ways, reading this novel felt like watching an exceedingly well-executed Steven Moffat episode of the show. There are so many moving pieces—all of them seemingly disparate, at first, but eventually crashing into a wild, timey wimey climax. Honestly, "The Ruby’s Curse" is difficult to talk about without going into spoilers. It’s the kind of mystery that works best when you know the least about it. Structurally, the Melody Malone storyline takes up the bulk of the first third of the book, with River’s storyline taking up the next third as elements of Melody’s story slowly bleed into River’s. The last third is where things go off the rail, in the best way possible, and to say any more than that would be to spoil a really good time. Let’s just say that it gets very meta, very quickly. Everything about the plot just works, though. "The Ruby’s Curse" is a gripping mystery, from its first page to its last. It moves at a quick pace, spending just enough time on every element so that you know enough about what’s going on without spending too much time and letting the suspense simmer out. The fictional "Ruby's Curse" is a little bit hard to follow at times, but there's a narrative reason for that, so it's not necessarily a complaint, I just loved it so much I wish I could've read more of it. As far as both narratives’ mysteries go, it’s probably possible to solve them if you pay close enough attention to the clues. I’ll just say that both solutions felt narratively earned and very satisfying, even if I felt the book’s ultimate climax ended a little too quickly. It’s not an unsatisfying ending, nor is it a cliffhanger; I just wish there’d been a little bit more time spent explaining what was happening in the climax. And the book really could’ve stood more of a denouement instead of its fairly abrupt ending. But still, "The Ruby’s Curse" is such a fun read. It’s apparent just how much Kingston enjoys "Doctor Who" and understands River (a character she’s played off and on for over ten years). Every bit of "The Ruby’s Curse" reads like a love letter to both the character and the TV series. There are tons of little "Doctor Who" easter eggs (from a Silent guarding a certain Egyptian tomb, to little mentions of Amy and Rory, to surprise cameos), and a big part of the book’s fun is spotting all of these references Kingston’s littered throughout the story. It's always nice to see the "Doctor Who" universe expanded like this, though there are probably a few contradictions here and there. But they're pretty minor ones and they have no impact on the story whatsoever, so it's easy to just write them off and enjoy the book for what it is. It’s wildly impressive how easy it is to follow what’s going on. The whole idea of these two parallel narratives, one of them fictional within the world of the novel, could’ve been a nightmare to follow. But Kingston handles it with such grace, expertly weaving the narratives around each other so that when they finally collide, it feels like the novel’s been building up to it, and it works brilliantly. At first, the two storylines don’t seem connected and it’s not particularly difficult to follow what’s going on, but as the storylines converge and the lines between narrators blur, it’s wonderful just how easy it is to follow the plotline. It helps that Kingston ensures River and Melody have unique voices—they sound similar, but different enough that it’s immediately apparent who is narrating which chapter. River sounds exactly like she does in the show and it’s so easy to read her narration in Kingston’s voice. And Melody Malone’s narration is written in this delightful, tongue-in-cheek pastiche of hardboiled detective prose. The biggest joy of the book, actually, is how well it develops River’s character. More than ever, River Song feels like a fully fleshed-out person in this book. We get all of her trademark flirtiness and confidence, sure, but we also get to see her vulnerable side. Not just regarding her relationship with the Doctor, but with her relationship with her parents, too. It’s genuinely moving seeing River’s concern for them crop up throughout the book. It’s moving seeing River have to confront bits of the trauma she’s experienced throughout her life—to be clear, this isn’t a book about River’s trauma, but it’s nice to see it handled in a more weighty manner instead of being used as a joke. Kingston even uses the character of Melody Malone as a sort of twisted mirror to River. Melody is almost this exaggerated version of how River views herself, and it’s so much fun seeing that idea play out throughout the book. Like I said, "The Ruby’s Curse" is a love letter to River Song and it really shows. All in all, "The Ruby’s Curse" gave me exactly what I wanted. It’s funny, it’s action-packed, it’s clever, it’s got a good mystery, and it offers a much deeper look at River Song than we’ve previously been given. All of the "Doctor Who" easter eggs and meta storytelling is honestly icing on the cake. I’d have been happy enough with just the Melody Song plotline, but the way that Kingston tied Melody’s storyline with River’s made for an utterly unique experience. I honestly can’t think of another book quite like this, either within the "Doctor Who" franchise or outside of it. I mean, I’m sure there are plenty of books about fiction bleeding into reality, but I’m not sure there are any quite like this one. It’s a book you’ll want to read as quickly as possible, and then you’ll probably want to reread it so you can pick up on all of the things you missed in the first reading. If you’re a fan of River Song, this is a must-read.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Palfrey

    This is a Doctor Who spin-off novel, set in the Doctor Who universe with a few characters from Doctor Who, but almost entirely without the Doctor. Can you enjoy it if you don't know Doctor Who? Yes, I think so. You'll know more about the background to the story if you know Doctor Who, but that knowledge isn't essential. It stars River Song, who was played by Alex Kingston on television, and is now written by Alex Kingston. The TARDIS doesn't appear, but there is time travel, because River Song ha This is a Doctor Who spin-off novel, set in the Doctor Who universe with a few characters from Doctor Who, but almost entirely without the Doctor. Can you enjoy it if you don't know Doctor Who? Yes, I think so. You'll know more about the background to the story if you know Doctor Who, but that knowledge isn't essential. It stars River Song, who was played by Alex Kingston on television, and is now written by Alex Kingston. The TARDIS doesn't appear, but there is time travel, because River Song has a vortex manipulator: a much smaller time-travel device that is also an established part of the Doctor Who universe. I liked River Song on television, and I liked Alex Kingston; I had no idea whether she could write a novel, but I gave it a try. The result is good, better than I really expected. Considered as a Doctor Who spin-off novel, this is a superior job, well above average. The story is exciting, complex, and well constructed. River Song as a character was created and previously written by Steven Moffat, but here she's maintained credibly; and I imagine that Moffat could genuinely enjoy this continuation of his work. Kingston has taken the project seriously and done some historical research for it. Considered as a novel competing with other novels in general, it's a bit of an oddity. Coming from the world of film and television, Kingston doesn't bother with much descriptive text, concentrating on action and dialogue, so the story is fast-paced but sketchy; and characterization is also rather sketchy. At times I was reminded of Tintin stories: there's a sort of cartoon-strip feel to it. Although the later part of the story gets rather weird by Tintin's standards. Some parts of the story take place in New York in 1939, reminding me of films from around that time—which presumably influenced the author. Quite early in the story, two prisoners in separate cells of a high-security prison find that they can talk to each other through a ventilation shaft, and their conversation kicks off the plot. A very similar situation arose in Tiger! Tiger! (published in 1956). Perhaps Alex Kingston reads classic sf, or perhaps someone suggested it to her. Of course, she may have come up with the idea independently, but it seems an unlikely coincidence. So far I've read this book once, and I liked it, so it deserves at least 3 stars. If I like it better on rereading, maybe 4 stars. Bear in mind that, when assigning a rating, I'm comparing it with novels of any kind, outside the Doctor Who context.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Chen-Wei Cheong

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I must say that I was absolutely thrilled when I learned that the original actor for River Song in the Doctor Who TV series, Alex Kingston, was going to write a Doctor Who spin-off novel. The story did have some premise, in the beginng, but I think that after the middle section, and all the time-jumping, back and forth, everything got muddled. That's the main problem with time-travelling, too many timelines, which makes everything confusing. Think Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (not recommende I must say that I was absolutely thrilled when I learned that the original actor for River Song in the Doctor Who TV series, Alex Kingston, was going to write a Doctor Who spin-off novel. The story did have some premise, in the beginng, but I think that after the middle section, and all the time-jumping, back and forth, everything got muddled. That's the main problem with time-travelling, too many timelines, which makes everything confusing. Think Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (not recommended by the way!). It started with the riddle-rhyme and the clues, that was a bit cliche, and unnecessary, too obvious, but not so obvious type of word-play, which made the story contrived, and one of those Deus Ex Machina moments. At the same time, I couldn't tell what the Ruby was. Was it the Eye of Horus, or Eye of Caesarion, was it an alien artifact or something else entirely? Did it kill you outright, or throw you back in time to die under some ancient incurable disease, or give you power eternal? At the same time, it was not clear what River's prison-mate, Ventrain, was actually doing after she loaned him her Vortex Manipulator, how many of those does she have anyway? The mechanics of time-travel were more or less there, never time travel such that you meet or interact with yourself, which will cause a temporal paradox. If you lose something, engineer a way in which you will end up in the same location and return to the object, ie River lost her VM and she engineered her "death" as Cleopatra to end up in the tomb to return to it. I could not tell if the story wanted River to discover Cleopatra's tomb, or what eventually happened to Cleopatra in history? Did she find freedom? That part was really not clear at all. And finally, the novel captured the essence of River Song's character perfectly. I would not have thought less of it, since it was written by Alex Kingston, aka River Song herself. She would best know what she said and what she did. Otherwise, it is recommended for all Whovian and River Song fans. I believe a lot of polishing is required to write a time-travel novel, that truly satisfies all the readers out there.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sara Harrison

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. SPOILERS! Really, how can you not start a review of a River Song novel that way? What a fun romp! If it's not a literary masterpiece, well--it's busy being a 1930's pulp detective novel. If time travel contortions are a little over the top--what else do you expect from a Dr. Who novel? If you need to pack a hefty extra dose of suspension of disbelief--well, if you don't already have the ability and desire to suspend A LOT of disbelief, then you're not a long time Whovian. And this novel is definit SPOILERS! Really, how can you not start a review of a River Song novel that way? What a fun romp! If it's not a literary masterpiece, well--it's busy being a 1930's pulp detective novel. If time travel contortions are a little over the top--what else do you expect from a Dr. Who novel? If you need to pack a hefty extra dose of suspension of disbelief--well, if you don't already have the ability and desire to suspend A LOT of disbelief, then you're not a long time Whovian. And this novel is definitely written for Whovians. It's there to give those of us who can never get enough time with River, a little more time with River. Alex Kingston has delivered all of River's lines, so she has the voice and the attitude down. This novel weaves a nice, complicated, Dr. Who-y story about where does River end and Melody Malone begin. Neatly executed. I would have loved to have more time with Amy and Rory on the page . . . even though my one major complaint is that I don't think that the dialogue given to Amy quite sounds like Amy. Kudos to Alex Kingston. If she writes more River Song fiction--I'll be reading it. This River was definitely more RIVER than some of the other BBC novels I've spent time with.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Viola

    What a delightful and clever adventure, from the no. 1 River expert herself. I loved reading both perspectives, and how River and Melody's story came together. The settings were on point: 1930s New York, ancient Egypt and Rome, and Stormcage, even though definitely not as glamorous as the others. I enjoyed the Easter eggs and cameos too, it was fun to read. Aside from the references, the book fits into the established DW continuity well. It was nice to read a first person POV from River, and get What a delightful and clever adventure, from the no. 1 River expert herself. I loved reading both perspectives, and how River and Melody's story came together. The settings were on point: 1930s New York, ancient Egypt and Rome, and Stormcage, even though definitely not as glamorous as the others. I enjoyed the Easter eggs and cameos too, it was fun to read. Aside from the references, the book fits into the established DW continuity well. It was nice to read a first person POV from River, and getting to know her feelings and thoughts she keeps well hidden. She's badass, smart and confident, but there's also vulnerability to her. She's been though a lot and came out on top of it all, but naturally it affects who she is. (view spoiler)[ I loved hearing about her relationship to her parents and she used some beautiful lines to describe them. It's also cute that she kept writing Melody stories to help Amy & Rory get by in their 1930s life. Her thoughts about the Doctor were great too, and she finds out about 13 in this novel! I want them to meet so bad on screen, even thought it likely won't happen, but it's amazing they meet (kind of) here. I'd love to get more than a mind conversation, but it was lovely. (hide spoiler)]

  25. 4 out of 5

    Baker St Shelves

    My word, it’s been a time and half since I last read a Doctor Who book. River Song has been very divided amongst the fandom but for me, I love this character! She smart, funny, has a cool backstory and has great dialogue and chemistry with the Doctor. Alex Kingston has played her ever since season 4 of the revival series with several reoccurring episodes and now she’s taking a turn at writing her character in this book. This is a very meta book-within-a-book type of story as River writes her newes My word, it’s been a time and half since I last read a Doctor Who book. River Song has been very divided amongst the fandom but for me, I love this character! She smart, funny, has a cool backstory and has great dialogue and chemistry with the Doctor. Alex Kingston has played her ever since season 4 of the revival series with several reoccurring episodes and now she’s taking a turn at writing her character in this book. This is a very meta book-within-a-book type of story as River writes her newest Melody Malone noir novel and simultaneously events in her own life are creepily starting mix with fiction. Doctor Who has always been complicated with its plots and this is no exception. Very ambitious of Kingston to start off this way, but she really finds her stride with this character and really knows how she talks and thinks. I will say that it gets a little too muddled in the middle but does pick itself up again near the end. If you love River, Doctor Who or historical fiction, check it out.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Alan

    Rating between 3.5 & 4 An entertaining and enjoyable read I found. When first introduced I found the character of River Song to be an interesting one, however overuse (on tv and audio) in some not top notch stories reduced her appeal to me. The pairing up with Doctor 12 suddenly gave the character life again. This story had some references to the Doctor and tv series but nothing was too intrusive I found. The story set in the ‘real’ world and in the fictional world of Melody was very well balanced Rating between 3.5 & 4 An entertaining and enjoyable read I found. When first introduced I found the character of River Song to be an interesting one, however overuse (on tv and audio) in some not top notch stories reduced her appeal to me. The pairing up with Doctor 12 suddenly gave the character life again. This story had some references to the Doctor and tv series but nothing was too intrusive I found. The story set in the ‘real’ world and in the fictional world of Melody was very well balanced. The only downside I had was the chapter by chapter swapping between the two realities which did make for a slightly choppy reading at times. I would have preferred several chapters in a row leading to a sensible break point and then switching to the other POV. Still not a major downside just a slightly irritating one at time as Overall though a definite (if surprising) solid recommendation

  27. 4 out of 5

    Isobel Brett

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Absolutely loved this book! It felt as if River was coming off the page, which is brilliant. You can tell how much though the amazing Alex Kingston has put into River over the years, and how little we truly understand about her. River Song is one of the best Dr Who characters and this book just emphasised how much time has been put into the development for her first appearance in “Silence in the Library”, and how well created she was by Moffat for her to be able to run and become the legend she Absolutely loved this book! It felt as if River was coming off the page, which is brilliant. You can tell how much though the amazing Alex Kingston has put into River over the years, and how little we truly understand about her. River Song is one of the best Dr Who characters and this book just emphasised how much time has been put into the development for her first appearance in “Silence in the Library”, and how well created she was by Moffat for her to be able to run and become the legend she is today. My expectation going is we’re high (this is Kingston we are talking about), and they were proved correct and exceeded. The weaving together of Melody’s fictitious life with River Song’s own adventures and how they melded together in a climax that shows how well Kingston knows not only River but also Amy and Rory. I cannot recommend and commend this book enough!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Anthony

    The audio book of The Ruby's Curse is the ultimate River Song. Things to Like Alex Kingston's mellifluous and enthusiastic narration. The plot carefully weaves all of the different aspects of Rivers life together. Young assassin, long-term prisoner, dutiful daughter, successful author, faithful wife, unfaithful wife and temporal adventurer. Things to not Like Because there is so much going on, the plot can get a bit complex. Because there is so much about River, the villain/antagonist spends too muc The audio book of The Ruby's Curse is the ultimate River Song. Things to Like Alex Kingston's mellifluous and enthusiastic narration. The plot carefully weaves all of the different aspects of Rivers life together. Young assassin, long-term prisoner, dutiful daughter, successful author, faithful wife, unfaithful wife and temporal adventurer. Things to not Like Because there is so much going on, the plot can get a bit complex. Because there is so much about River, the villain/antagonist spends too much time off-stage and undeveloped. Things it is Like The Diary of River Song audio plays. The Bernice Summerfield audio plays. Any Dashiell Hammett detective stories.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Walton

    The BBC commissioning actors to write books for the characters they played on screen has to be one of their best ideas of a good while. Alex Kingston having played River Song for so many years now, both on screen and audio means she knows the character incredibly well. This book is incredibly fun, written from the perspective of River Song, as you're reading you can hear the way in which River would say the words, which is credit to Alex Kingston's understanding of the character. There are certain The BBC commissioning actors to write books for the characters they played on screen has to be one of their best ideas of a good while. Alex Kingston having played River Song for so many years now, both on screen and audio means she knows the character incredibly well. This book is incredibly fun, written from the perspective of River Song, as you're reading you can hear the way in which River would say the words, which is credit to Alex Kingston's understanding of the character. There are certain cameos and references which will make you laugh, because who else but River Song would break the fourth wall? Overall, a light hearted, fun and enjoyable book placing itself as a strong contender amongst of all the Doctor Who Literature currently out there.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Laura Naysmith

    This is fanfiction of the highest quality. Alex Kingston (and Jac Rayner) really loves River, Melody and the entire Doctor Who universe and it shows in every page. I loved every every minute of it. It’s a very clever book, plot wise and it is smug in its cleverness but that’s very River thing to be I wouldn’t have it another way. Sometimes it gets a bit ridiculous but at those times very self aware of that and it’s actually important to the style of the book. Having Alex read the audio was a deli This is fanfiction of the highest quality. Alex Kingston (and Jac Rayner) really loves River, Melody and the entire Doctor Who universe and it shows in every page. I loved every every minute of it. It’s a very clever book, plot wise and it is smug in its cleverness but that’s very River thing to be I wouldn’t have it another way. Sometimes it gets a bit ridiculous but at those times very self aware of that and it’s actually important to the style of the book. Having Alex read the audio was a delight, I’m going to read the hardback too as I think that will give it a different experience.

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