Mount St. Joseph University

Book Review: “The Legends of River Song”

Dateline: student newspaper

By: Danielle Watkins

File Under: book review, dateline

There is perhaps no television franchise of more repute than that of “Doctor Who.” First airing in 1963, the popular sci-fi show continues to attract millions of fans worldwide, and if you’re one of them that’s eagerly awaiting Jodie Whitaker’s premier as the first female Doctor, there is likely no better way to pass your time waiting than by reading The Legends of River Song.

Written by five different and well respected authors, (Jenny T. Colgan, Jacqueline Rayner, Steve Lyons, Guy Adams, and Andrew Lane), The Legends of River Song is a collection of fast-paced short stories. Unlike most of the official “Doctor Who” books, this one does not center on The Doctor, but rather on his wife, River Song. In fact, The Doctor is not even present for two of the five stories, and in those stories where he does play a role the focus still always remains on River.

For those fans of River Song, played in the show by actress Alex Kingston, the stories are sure to be a welcome reminder of a character missed by many. Perhaps even more interesting than the actual plot of the stories (which are filled with the strange twists and turns one expects from “Doctor Who”), however, is the way each writer characterizes River Song.

Although they write of the same character, each writer presents River in a slightly different way. Some may find these shifting perspectives annoying, but I personally did not. Rather, I thought they added greatly to the spirit of the book. These varied perspectives allow the reader to catch glimpses of the many sides of River Song. Throughout the stories more is revealed about River’s character and internal dialogue than can ever been found in the television series. Sides to River which are never seen in the show are prominently displayed in these stories, adding depth to an already complex character.

The Legends of River Song is not necessarily a book for everybody, for surely there are those that would prefer a set of stories from one author, or perhaps just a plain novel, but for those that consider themselves true admirers of River Song, there can be no better read. The Legends of River Song is one part short story and one part character analysis, and overall an entirely fun read.