Book Review. The Witchfinders by Joy Wilkinson.

‘After their tangle with sinister robots and exploding bubble-wrap at Kerblam!, the whole fam favoured a trip into a tech-free era, far enough back to not jeopardise the existence of any close relatives, but somewhere civilised enough to have decent grub,’

I said in a previous review, Molten Heart by Una McCormack, how in the black and white era of Doctor Who they are always food conscious, want to know where their next meal is coming from, and I think the 13 era of Who is in the same category. Graham and his sandwiches would fit in very well. In fact, the first Doctor would probably be very appreciative of Graham having sandwiches.

Onto the review.

I love, love, love The Witchfinders. Regular readers of my blog will know, I am a history nerd and historical stories are my favourite in Doctor Who. For me, The Witchfinders is up there with some of my favourites, The Aztecs, The Crusade, The Massacre, The Smugglers.  I love the names Willa Twiston, Becka Savage and Bilehurst Cragg.

The Doctor getting a dunking was a great moment too, for a minute I was thinking – oh no.

I liked that the novelisation added some more story with Willa. I also like that in the books Yaz gets more characterisation. I think the books I have read have helped me enormously to understand Yaz a lot more. This is particularly true in The Witchfinders. Hard relate to these lines:

‘Only to find it was a wind-up and they tricked her, running away screaming whenever she got near. The trick was on Yaz, and she hadn’t needed an outfit after all. It seemed she was horrific enough to some people just in her own skin,’ 

‘transported her back into that moment faster than a TARDIS – the shame swelling, raw in her throat – and she felt small and lost again, even though now she was surrounded by true friends who would never trick her. They chattered away inanely with no idea of her painful memories. Yaz tuned back into them, grateful.’ 

I did have an issue with this passage. I think you could still be a kick-ass Galifreyan getting chatted up at a bar or walking home down a dark alley?

‘The kind of fear she’d sworn wouldn’t be an issue for her, because she was a kick-ass Galifreyan travelling the galaxies, not a chick getting chatted up at a bar or walking home down a dark alley. But it turned out time had played its tricks with her and it only took a moment for all her powers to vanish, so that suddenly she was seen as ‘just a woman’ in the presence of powerful forces with evil intent.’

The story of Becka Savage, and her parentage, the motivations for what drives her are explained in The Witchfinders book. The reasons why she had to hack down that tree, the hatred and resentment behind it, and then that releases the Morax from their prison.

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