Listening to The Taking of Chelsea 426 on audio, I couldn’t help but miss the “good old days” of the Target novels or the Virgin New Adventures series. It’s not I dislike the BBC books, but I keep finding they pale a bit in comparison as tie-in novels.
Of course, I also have to remind myself the Virgin novels were written during the bleak time when we didn’t have new Doctor Who on our screens on a regular basis.
Chelsea 426 is your basic base under siege story from the Troughton era told as a story for the tenth Doctor. But instead of facing just one alien threat, this time the Doctor must fend off two–in this case it’s the Sonatarans (I’m not ruining anything here since they’re on the cover) and their old enemies, the Rutans.
Saturn’s Chelsea 426 is readying for their flower show in the hopes of boosting the local economy. But the flower show could prove to be part of a bigger plot from the Rutans. Seems that once upon a time the Sontarans planned to use Earth as breeding colony. The Rutans caught wind of this and created a plant whose spores would take over their hosts and make them agents for the Rutans. When the Sontarans abandoned this plan, the Rutans left the plants in place and they began to take over human hosts instead.
Along the way, there are some interesting moments in the story but it never quite solidifies into something more. Part of it could be limitations placed on the novel range by the on-going TV series. Or, as I keep reminding myself, these novels are written for younger fans whose exposure to Doctor Who is most likely the modern series and not the classic episodes.
That doesn’t take away from the strength of the narration on this book. Reader Christopher Ryan does a solid impression of the David Tennant Doctor and his reading is, for the most part, spot-on.