If Doctor Who: Wild Blue Yonder had been a novelization, it would be in my top ten favorite Doctor Who stories across any season, with any Doctor. Full stop. I love it when Doctor Who leans into horror and the weirder side of the universe.
Doctor Who: The Star Beast marks the return of so many things. The return of Russell T. Davies as showrunner. The return of David Tennant as the 14th Doctor. And a continuation of Catherine Tate’s Donna Noble story that had originally ended in a tragic mindwipe after she helped save the universe.
I’d not read anything by T. Kingfisher before this novel, but given the grace of the prose, The Hollow Places will not be the last. She’s shown her sureness within both this subgenre and in the art of simply telling a good story.
Starting worst and going toward best, this is a shorter but much more spoiler-heavy breakdown of these six spooky tales.
The Call of the Flame initially worried me that it would be a repeat of my usual concerns with Epic Fantasy. In my very recent review of The Legacy Saga, I talked about how stories in this genre can lack strong inciting incidents or story hooks because it’s too busy with worldbuilding. And several times, The Call of the Flame almost fell right into the same trap but miraculously continued to pull back and keep things understandable.
Before listening to The Storage Papers, I never thought a podcast could scare me as much as The Magnus Archives. That the mind-melting, the dark-is-dangerous thrill it gave me was the peak of horror storytelling.
The Legacy Saga taught me an interesting lesson about tropes, genre conventions, and storytelling methods that I simply cannot enjoy. In the grand scheme, there’s nothing terribly wrong with The Legacy Saga, no glaring sin, but it was a slog to listen to for any amount of time. The minor issues stack up quickly, and what could’ve been a fun experience turned into a malaise.
Calling Harrow Lake a disappointment is perhaps too strong a phrase, but the book does fail to deliver in a few key aspects. There was a missing ingredient, a piece withheld, that made it appear mismanaged.
Alba Salix, Royal Physician is such a departure from most podcasts I’ve come across in my career as a critic. It’s basically a cartoon but in an audio-only format. Each of the first three episodes is an isolated, silly situation with very little seeding for any future plots. It’s episodic, is what I’m saying—the point is to be a fun distraction and to make you laugh.
Pseudopod is a juggernaut of horror podcasting, serving up stories at such a consistent pace that it’s now at 879 episodes (at time of writing). If you like horror even a little, I can pretty much guarantee you’ll find something amazing.
The Mistholme Museum of Mystery, Morbidity, and Morality is, for one thing, the piece of media with the longest title I’ve possibly ever reviewed. It’s also a podcast series with a premise I love. Though I have no idea how well Warehouse 13 holds up in quality or how well it has aged with its content since 2009, I used to be a massive fan of that series, and The Mistholme Museum feels like its cousin.
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