[I received a copy of this novel through Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.]
I don’t know where to start, because this one was all over the place. Ambitious, with a plotline that could be awesome and tie a lot of things together, yet… didn’t in the end, not really. I mean, the plot got its ending, but I still have no idea where it all fits within the Glamour series, except for the name being thrown in, and the Ancients bit just made me wonder what/who exactly they were, and what was their purpose? (Not much, considering how they were presented.)
I liked the sense of a con, or several cons going on, at the same time, or at different times. I liked the postcards bit, because in general I’m fond of such devices (cliché as they are) to “gather the posse together and prepare for the big heist”. Only it stayed at that level, and I didn’t get later the feeling I got from the book’s blurb, which hinted at something more exciting.
A lot of things made no sense, to be honest, in how the characters behaved, in their plans, in how they interacted with each other. There was banter (good Capaldi-like lines, for sure) but they felt disjointed from the plot. The characters weren’t as far as witty as they were meant to be. Incoherences thrown in now and then didn’t help (I think they have some time of veiling/cloaking technology, yet Peter has to hide his face under a hoodie?).
The random interest Kik showed for Peter was a big WTF series of moments for me. It just came out of nowhere, and made as little sense as the rest. Their interactions were somewhat fun at first (dog fart in her face to make her throw him away—it’s 100% dumb, but hey, whatever works, also I’m positive it’s the kind of stunt I’d pull in a pen & paper RPG session)... but they didn’t tie at all into “prospective love interest territory”. The badass assassin never projected that aura of badassery I expected from her, Jaansen was just a bumbling idiot, Globb never lived up to his reputation as a conman, Ruth… I don’t even know what she was supposed to do here, apart from being that other guy’s fiancée. I probably missed a few things here. I’m fine with lots of characters… only please develop them more, make them look and smell and feel “real”, otherwise I won’t care much.
And that’s another of the issues I have with this novel. I didn’t get a lot of the references (although I enjoyed the ones I got), my knowledge of the series being mostly the 2005+ seasons and a handful of novels. However, I kept wondering if there wasn’t too much information about Bernice and what she shared with the Doctor, in that now I feel I know a lot without never reading anything about her (or listening to anything—if I’m not mistaken, that was all about audio episodes?). It’s as if the novel hints at too many things for someone who doesn’t know much to the Whoverse, while at the same time recapping too many things as well for those who know a lot and don’t care about, well, many recaps. As a result, there was paradoxically a lot of padding in a novel still too short for its (potentially) complex plot.
Definitely a weird and soon-to-be-forgotten read, unfortunately.