Audio Drama Review – Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor Adventures: Ravagers

Hello, everyone. It has been a while since I listened to one of the Big Finish Doctor Who audio dramas. I was excited to listen to this one since it stars both the ninth Doctor, who was back to Doctor Who for the first time since 2005, and the Ravagers, which seem to be making an appearance in the upcoming series. Having finished it, I’m even more excited now for series 13, which premieres on Sunday!

1.1 Sphere of Freedom

On the Sphere of Freedom, the Doctor is about to shut down an evil Immersive Games business empire. He’s assisted by a valiant galley chef called Nova. But his plan spectacularly fails… And who exactly is Audrey?

Mini Review

Eccleston fell back into this role fabulously, and it was like he never left. It was such a joy to have him back as the Doctor. However, the story started out a bit weird with the beginning really being somewhere in the middle, and I didn’t care for how most of the run time was dedicated to telling the story of how the Doctor made it to the point heard in the first track. I did like the new companion, however. She seemed to have quite the personality and will probably be great at keeping the Doctor on his toes. The villain of the episode was pretty obvious early on despite the attempts to make it mysterious, but the way it unfolded did leave me curious about where the story goes from here.

1.2 Cataclysm

Nova is dislocated in time while the Time Eddies are out of control. Meanwhile, the Doctor is about to face the end of the universe. Or is that just the Battle of Waterloo?

Mini Review

I really liked this story. It was action-packed and super timey-wimey with the Doctor crossing his time stream and visiting places all out of order. The story also shed some light on what the Ravagers are, which was very interesting. It had some great Doctor and Nova moments, as well, and I was really loving the two of them together. My only complaint would be that it was hard to follow at times because the story bounced around so much, but it didn’t impede my enjoyment of hearing how the mystery of Audrey and the Ravagers unfolded. The story once again left off on an exciting cliffhangers that made me want to move straight on into part three despite already being up way too late.

1.3 Food Fight

The TARDIS is starting to get a little crowded! Audrey finds herself haunted by a ghostly Doctor.

Mini Review

This story was a pretty good way to wrap up the Ravagers arc. It definitely makes me anticipate seeing them on the show in the new series. It was just as convoluted (AKA timey wimey) as the second story of this arc, but it all came together in an interesting and logical way. I loved the explanation for why Nova knew how to ask the right questions and am looking forward to getting more adventures with her and the ninth Doctor.

ARC Audiobook Review – Not My Ruckus

Author: Chad Musick

Narrator: Ivy Tara Blair

Release Date: February 16, 2021

Listen Date(s): May 2, 2021 – May 18, 2021

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Goodreads Synopsis

Folks know 14-year-old Clare isn’t normal, even for a tomboy. She runs too much, talks too little, carries a gun too often, and holds a grudge forever. Only her papa’s job at the bank keeps gossip quiet. It’s unwise to risk the cold anger of the man who knows everyone’s secrets.

Clare feels prepared for everything from fire, to flood, to demon attack. When her neighbor Esther kisses her, though, Clare has no ready script. Maybe she could write one, given time she doesn’t have. At the moment of that first kiss, Esther’s mom is bleeding out from a gunshot wound.

Clare can read the signs everyone else is determined to ignore. A murder was only the beginning. Esther needs protection, whether she wants it or not, and Clare won’t abandon her friend just because things are hard.

Maybe one day she’ll be forgiven for doing what’s needed.

My Review

I both loved and hated this book. The writing was exquisite, and the author did a phenomenal job of bringing the characters to life with his words. The plot, however, was absolutely heartbreaking. This book followed the teenage Clare as she befriended her neighbor, which lead to the uncovering of many awful family secrets. It provided an honest and heartfelt look at a teenager’s explorations of her identity and sexuality. Ultimately, it was a story that illustrated the destructive influence of abuse and trauma and the healing power of love.

There are so many trigger warnings for this book, I doubt I will be able to remember them all. There was a ton of abuse of all sorts, including sexual, emotional, physical, and spiritual/religious abuse of a minor. It also featured medical neglect, withholding of food from a minor, domestic abuse, teenage pregnancy, abortion, miscarriage, prostitution, police violence, and incest. Furthermore, the book detailed murders, attempted murders, arson, and child death. Needless to say, the story was not for the faint of heart, and I cringed in horror and cried intensely multiple times throughout the book. There were many times I was incredibly uncomfortable while listening, but the writing and story were so engaging I just had to know what was really going on. The author did a fantastic job of slowly revealing the truth of the story by framing it through the gradual loss of the main character’s innocence.

The main characters in this story were beautifully realized. Clare was an autistic 14-year-old who was still largely ignorant about the world and strong in her convictions, especially her belief in protecting her friends. The story was from her POV, and the audience got to follow her thoughts and reactions about all of the horrible things happening around her. Her new best friend, Esther, was also a very well-developed character, and the relationship between the two girls was one of the highlights of this book. The villains in this book were truly awful people, and I’m still flabbergasted at the thought of what they did in this story. To me, that is the main indicator of a great book, having characters and a story that I still think about long after finishing it.

I’d be remiss to not mention the incredible quality of the audiobook and its narrator. The narrator did a fantastic job of capturing the essence of Clare and brought her to life in an incredible way. The pauses and nuances in pronunciation did a great job of adding to the emotion created by the writing.

This was a story that I won’t soon forget no matter how much I may want to. It moved me deeply and made me feel so many things. I highly recommend it, but it is not a light read. Therefore, I rate it 5 out of 5 stars.

Audiobook Reviews – Doctor Who: Time Lord Victorious Audio Dramas

I finally finished the Doctor Who Time Lord Victorious multimedia event. Rather than reviewing the last three audio dramas individually, I thought it would be more expeditious to do mini reviews of each along with a summary of my thoughts on the entire event. So, here goes!

Mutually Assured Destruction picks up with the 8th Doctor directly after the events of All Flesh Is Grass. It doesn’t really stand on its own without having read previous installments of the event. There are some enjoyable moments with the 8th Doctor, but the Daleks were incredibly annoying in this one. There are very few characters other than the Doctor and the Daleks, and most of the audio is Daleks screeching at each other, which got on my nerves quickly. This story also once again repeats the theme of being the last of one’s kind, which is kinda old for Doctor Who at this point. Overall, I recommend skipping it and give it 2 out of 5 stars.

Genetics of the Daleks is one of my favorite entries in Time Lord Victorious even though it doesn’t have strong ties to the overarching story. It has an interesting, multi-layered plot that doesn’t focus solely on the Doctor. The other characters are interesting, and Tom Baker as the fourth Doctor is at his usual level of greatness. I enjoyed hearing his reaction to finding out he would eventually become the Time Lord Victorious. The ending really surprised me and made me wish I could do the escape room that this story is a prequel to. Overall, I really enjoyed this one and recommend it whether you’ve been following Time Lord Victorious or not. I rate it 5 out of 5 stars.

Echoes of Extinction is an interesting pair of stories involving the 8th and 10th Doctors and a sentient psychic weapon. The plot once again focuses on the extinction of a race, but the psychic weapon kept me intrigued with the stories. Each story is pretty short, but they act as a good start and end point to the entire Time Lord Victorious event without tying too closely into the overarching narrative. It’s a bit timey wimey, but I’m pretty sure the 8th Doctor story comes first. So, I recommend starting with that one, but it probably doesn’t really matter. Both Doctors were fantastic in this, and overall, it was fun to listen to them. Therefore, I rate it 4 out of 5 stars.

Final Thoughts On Time Lord Victorious

I’m honestly glad to be done with it. There were parts of it that I loved, but the majority of the stories were mediocre at best. I was so excited to get to see the Doctor come a little unhinged and face down death itself, but there was so little of that in these stories. I don’t feel satisfied. The Daleks once again became the entire focus, which made me frustrated because I wanted the Kotturuh to be the main foils for the Doctor this time. I love them, but the Daleks have been done to death and back again. So, I rate this crossover event a 3 out of 5.

Have you read some or all of the Time Lord Victorious multimedia event? What were your favorite and least favorite parts?

Audiobook Review – Doctor Who: The Minds of Magnox

Goodreads Synopsis

A brand new standalone adventure for the Tenth Doctor, which also forms part of the Time Lord Victorious story arc, read by Jacob Dudman.

The Doctor travels with Brian, the Ood assassin, to the planet Magnox, one of the greatest receptacles of knowledge the universe will ever know. The Doctor needs to ask a vital question, but the answer is Grade 1 Classified! In order to gain an audience with the Minds of Magnox themselves he must take a dangerous test. Is he smart enough to get through?

Meanwhile, Brian gets involved with the criminal fraternity and is given a job: to assassinate the Minds of Magnox. However, others also have the planet within their sights….

Jacob Dudman reads this exclusive audio adventure by Darren Jones, and this edition also features a short coda to the story.

My Review

What I Liked

This is probably my favorite story, so far, of the Time Lord Victorious multimedia project. It is a tight story with an interesting, self-contained plot. While it is clearly interconnected with the overarching story of the event, it tells a good story of its own, which some other entries were lacking. I liked the premise of a planet ruled by people who have access to all the information in the universe and the answer to every question. I also enjoyed seeing the Doctor become obsessed with discovering whether his actions in other parts of the TLV event had made the universe a better place. The consequences of this obsession are ironic given the harm caused by it. This entry also contained another stand out performance by Brian the Ood, which I absolutely loved. He really is such a demented, yet fun, character.

The narration really brought this story to another level, as well. It was top notch, and Jacob Dudman did a great job impersonating the Doctor and making Brian the Ood sound eery. The coda was also fantastic and is probably my favorite scene from all of Time Lord Victorious, so far.

What I Didn’t Like

There isn’t really anything negative that stands out to me about this story.

Final Thoughts

Overall, this audiobook is a great entry in the Time Lord Victorious event. It has a fun and interesting story with fantastic narration. Therefore, I rate it 5 out of 5 stars. If you are a fan of Doctor Who, I recommend it!