A regression after the excellent last entry in the series, regressing back to the continuity-heaviness of The Eight Doctors instead of the forward-thinking of Vampire Science.
Sam’s characterisation works well and feels like a natural progression from the last book, but the Doctor’s characterisation is a lot wobblier, and as the book doubles back and back onto earlier continuity (eventually devolving into what amounts to combining Terror of the Zygons with The Talons of Weng-Chiang). It’s not that I’m not a fan of those earlier episodes, or of a lot of elements this book brings back from them, but I was an even bigger fan of how the last book paved a new way forward for this new range and the new Doctor starring in it, instead of just shakily rejigging elements from older Doctor Who. I prefer new elements that future writers can than shakily rejig!
Sam’s endearing characterisation is the saving grace, but the Doctor’s strange characterisation (namechecked delusions of grandeur, and falling back the Fourth Doctor’s characterisation is strange ways – perhaps from the writer emulating The Talons of Weng-Chiang so much). It’s not an unsalvageable mess like The Eight Doctors, but it certainly is a disappointment coming after Vampire Science. Two Zygons and a Skarasen.