Review: Magic of the Angels

Unbelievably, we haven’t had a Doctor Who Quick Read since Code of the Krillitane – two years ago. So Magic of the Angels is a welcome treat in a year that’s looking pretty sparse for NuWho novels.

Girls are disappearing all over London, and as the Doctor, Amy and Rory go to Sammy Star’s magic routine, they think they know how. Because, naturally, Sammy’s glamorous assistant is a Weeping Angel.

Since 2006’s I Am A Dalek, the range has dabbled with Cybermen, Sontarans and – uhm – the Daleks, and it was a safe bet that the ever-popular Weeping Angels would soon appear, especially after their first foray into the novel format last year.

As the creatures rely on visuals so heavily, it’s quite a surprise that they work so well in books. It’s a testament to the great work of both Steven Moffat, creator of the Angels, and writer, Jacqueline Rayner, who uses the statues to great effect. It seems she has taken a leaf out of Touched by an Angel by Jonathan Morris, dealing with the consequences of their powers just as much as relying on their inherent menace.

The concept of ‘killing you kindly’ by sending you into the past is really quite a grim one, and Rayner plays with it with wonderfully, introducing two old ladies who are victims of Star’s trick. Their debut scene ends on a chilling note, and Magic of the Angels is really their story. It’s sad and uplifting at the same time, leading to some beautifully poignant moments. And because it’s Doctor Who, of course they recognise Amy from something that hasn’t happened yet.

The three leads are all characterised well; the Doctor is funny and sharp, Amy welcomes danger and Rory is the emotional heart of the TARDIS team. Rayner captures their distinct voices and mannerisms; something that has surprisingly eluded a few writers so far.

The story is quite basic, sure, but it surpasses the typical ‘running around a lot’ tropes of lesser books. Although there is running involved, naturally.

There’s also some nice bits of dialogue – like someone asking the Doctor what his magic trick is, to which he replies, “I escape” – and frequent allusions to past glories. The Doctor, for instance, tries his third incarnation’s velvet-jacket-with-a-red-cape look on for size.

The conclusion isn’t wholly satisfying, however. It doesn’t let the book down particularly, but there’s just something missing; something that just doesn’t feel right. It does hark back to the ending of Blink though – and surely that’s no bad thing!

A superb TARDIS team, time twisting drama, magic tricks, a Weeping Angel and a tour around London: there’s something here for everyone.

Amy even dons Zoe’s silvery catsuit…

Doctor Who: Magic of the Angels is available now from Amazon for just £1.00 in print and on Kindle.


When he’s not watching television, reading books ‘n’ Marvel comics, listening to The Killers, and obsessing over script ideas, Philip Bates (Kasterborous' former Editor) pretends to be a freelance writer. He enjoys collecting everything. He is the co-founder of The Doctor Who Companion:

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