There are a lot of Doctor Who books being published, and for most fans the decision will be which ones are worth reading? If that’s all you need to know, then the answer for The Legends of River Song is yes, this one is worth reading. You want more?
As the title might suggest, this 224-page book consists of a set of stories about River Song. In total there are five stories, each written by an author very familiar with Doctor Who, and in fact all have been involved in writing for Big Finish, with Jenny T Colgan and Guy Adams writing for River Song in particular. The other writers are Jacqueline Rayner (also writes for Doctor Who Magazine), Steve Lyons (also writes for Doctor Who Magazine) and Andy Lane (who writes the Young Sherlock Holmes series).
So the book has a good pedigree; it also has five entertaining stories and comes across as a coherent set of tales without any need for an arc. Although the authors take different angles on River, they all capture her sense of humour and irony and all feel like they are writing about the same character. The stories themselves have the relevant mix of time travel, glamour and larger than life escapades we associate with the character from the TV show, but here and there give us insight into River beyond what we have seen on screen. All the stories are written in first person, which helps tell us more about River, and her inner thoughts on her relationship with the Doctor are touched on several times, even though he doesn’t feature in many of the stories. The authors raise a few question without imposing their own answers, and this adds a dimension to the stories, without dominating the narrative.
There are no bad stories here, and like any good short story collection it gives the reader the chance to try authors they may not be familiar with. In this case all five come out with glowing reports. Is there a best? That depends on personal taste; all five have something unique to recommend them and this is the mark of a well-chosen collection.
THE LEGENDS OF RIVER SONG / AUTHOR: JENNY T COLGAN, JACQUELINE RAYNER, STEVE LYONS, GUY ADAMS, ANDY LANE / PUBLISHER: BBC BOOKS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW