Book Club: Winner Takes All

The next book we are going to read together is the New Series Adventure, Winner Takes All:

Available on ‘dead tree’ version, eBook, and audiobook - another one read by Camille Coduri aka Jackie Tyler, exciting! Links to get it are above.

Please discuss below, use spoiler tags where appropriate. Every participant will get a badge! :medal_military:

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I started listening to this during a road trip this weekend. I am bout halfway through and most say that this book is my favorite in this series so far. It feels silly in a good way and I like the interactions between Rose, Jackie, Micky and the Doctor.

4 Likes

I read this aloud to a class of 8 and 9 year olds. It was a bit of a chore in places. Doctor Who books aren’t actually that great for reading aloud.

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I’m going to finish Order of the Phoenix and then move onto this one! I haven’t been blown away by the NSAs yet, so I’m trying to keep my expectations low (although @Tian makes me mildly hopeful…).

2 Likes

Just started this one! Prologue and first chapter cleared, and I think Jacqueline Rayner has a great grasp on both Rose and The Doctor - their bit of console room banter at the start is very charming. I’m also not surprised they got Camille Coduri to do the audio-book here as Jackie Tyler is very front and center, and the portrayal is instantly recognizable. It feels like they’ve pulled Coduri’s performance in Rose and Aliens of London/WW3 and transplanted it onto the page.

It’s also doing the soap opera realism thing that RTD introduced with Rose and the Powell Estate, and actually the part about Darren Pye moving in across the hall (hopefully that doesn’t need spoiler tags) and then having problems with his pregnant girlfriend does ring extremely true of many of my own experiences of living in council properties, growing up working class. That sense that there’s always chaos, only just protected by your thin wooden door and your flimsy bolt-lock. That strange sense of community you get on estates that can quickly turn tribal once someone does something out of the ordinary. It’s evoked rather well, and it gives the book a sense of place very quickly. The unfolding mystery is also set up rather fast, and The Doctor and Rose latch onto it just as fast, meaning I’m expecting a fair romp through this.

I had read The Clockwise Man and The Deviant Strain recently and remember them both being serviceable to good books, so I am cautiously optimistic for this one too. Jacqueline Rayner had written two of the best Six audios before doing this, so she’s clearly a firm hand at the rudder.

4 Likes

Finished the book. Without a doubt the best one so far. Even though it could be a bit repetitive sometimes it was much better at nailing the characters, especially the human ones. I gave it a 7/10 and I am looking forward to hearing some of your opinions of it.

The best part is to here Camille Coduriread it. If you have a choice I would recommend the audiobook.

4 Likes

Three chapters in and I’m coming to a realization - is this…is this a rip-off of Three Body Problem? (Haven’t read it yet but am familiar with the central conceit.)

One of the three Ninth Doctor novels I did read. It’s a good Rose novel and a good Mickey novel that has a Doom (which I’ve never played) and Starship Troopers (which I’ve only seen clips off) feel to it. Though probably written with only scripts as reference, it came out a few days after Father’s Day so for fans at the time it would’ve been an important step in fleshing out Mickey and Jackie in between the Slitheen two-parter and Boom Town.

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Started it yesterday and the first six chapters just flew by. I really like Jaqueline Rayner’s writing style, she is very good at fast paced storytelling. And I think the characterisations of Rose and especially the 9th Doctor are the best of the range so far. I am quite enjoying this one :blush:

3 Likes

I started this last night, and I’m about a third of the way through. I largely agree with the sentiment so far; Jacqueline Rayner has a wonderfully readable style and a great grasp of Nine, Rose, Jackie, and Mickey. Her dialogue and mix of banter, soap opera, and sci-fi make this feel like a lost TV episode, and in that sense, this is already better than the previous two novels. I also rather like the video game aspect of it, which is very 2000s and also brings to mind Ernest Cline’s Armada, which has a similar premise.

4 Likes

I finished the book tonight. I didn’t find the last third quite as intriguing as the earlier parts. Rose being forced into the game and being controlled by the Doctor, who also gives Mickey instructions over the phone while trying to stay alive, was a pretty intense part, though. I felt that Robert was a somewhat strange and annoying addition to the story, even if he helped bring that RTD style of “regular people stuck in irregular situations” to life better. He also has a good arc.

The Queevils are cute, and to my mind’s eye, they kept looking like Sonic the Hedgehog throughout the entire book. It’s unfortunate that the Mantodeans received so little attention.

Overall though, it’s a fun read and a good take on an RTD-era modern-day episode, and it’s easily the strongest NSA so far! This is a 7/10 for me!

5 Likes

There, just finished the last chapter :+1:

It slots in really well with the general tone of the first series. Rose, 9 and Mickey are spot on in their descriptions and actions throughout the book. I don’t quite get the Jackie vibe from this book though, but that’s probably better in the audiobook with Camille Coduri narrating.

The Quevvils Vs the Mantodeans seemed classic early first RTD era. Giant porcupines Vs giant preying mantises on the CGI budget available though? That would have been rough :grin:
Overall it’s a very classic sci-fi story evil videogames is a very used trope but it works with the story being told.
I really enjoyed Jaqueline Rayner’s way of writing, even if the story felt a bit rushed in the final two chapters.

Rating: 3,5/5 :star:

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Evil video games reminds me of both The Nightmare Fair and the SJA story Warriors of Kudlak - which shares a fair bit of DNA with this story.

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Hey! We finally hit a book I enjoyed! Was super charmed by this one, I loved the evil video game angle and the deeper look at Rose’s home life.

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Hmmm. I quite liked this book, at least the first half, then it went a bit downhill for me.

I liked the characterisation of Nine, Rose, Mickey, and Jackie. Much more than previous books you can tell that the author really understood them. There is a lot of Nine calling Mickey an idiot which I don’t like, but was accurate with the show.

I enjoyed the premise, despite it being fairly cliché at this point (It also gave me Warriors of Kudlak vibes, although to be fair this was written before that. And yes there are similar science fiction movies). The last 1/4 of the book was a bit of a drag, even when listening to Jackie Tyler read it.

I had to re-listen to the ending once more because I thought I missed it, but I just don’t really know what happened at the end? There was no resolution with the war or the evil porcupines, the ones that are left are just left to carry on their war, although their big plan was foiled? Seemed a bit weird to me. I wish there was a plot description on the wiki, I’m sure I missed something! That’s what you get when you listen to an audiobook and occasionally drift off :sweat_smile:

All in all I give it 3/5!

6 Likes