Doctor Who. Beautiful Chaos | Review | Booksmagick

What’s it about?

Donna and the Doctor are back in London, right on time for Wilf’s naming ceremony. The astronomer has discovered a new star in sky but little does he know that it’s not the only new thing up there.

What I think about it

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Beautiful Chaos‘ had a lot of running and the ever present alien-threat-is-trying-to-destroy-planet-Earth. An old enemy of the Doctor is bringing several stars in position to take over Earth and before they know it, the Doctor, Donna and Wilf are caught up in yet another adventure. It’s solid writing, a believable villain and a classic Doctor Who story.

What I loved about ‘Beautiful Chaos‘ however was not the fights or the running but ordinary people and their lives. The adventure is there, sure but I felt this story was about Donna and her family. About her relationship with her mother as well as Wilf and how they feel when Donna is out there, travelling.

I never liked Sylvia much because I think she is a terrible mother, always picking on everything her daughter does or wants. It’s no different in this novel but we get more of her inner monologue, her thoughts. Still a horrible mother and in no way does it justify the way she treats Donna but I get where she’s coming from. Sylvia looks after her father and his new friend Netty who suffers from Alzheimer’s. With the death of her husband still weighing heavily on her Sylvia worries whenever Donna takes off with the Doctor and I get why she doesn’t like him.

Your grandfather and I are worried sick, you know that? You up and leave with barely a word, you turn up once in a blue moon when it suits you and you’re off again. I don’t know whether you’re alive or dead. […] It’s not mad, it’s not unreasonable. It’s what I think. Every day I don’t hear from you, I think it more.

p. 49

Doctor Who has almost made it into an art form to casually tell a story full of adventure and stars and then one line or one scene will rip your heart(s) out and make you cry. I wasn’t expecting the very first page of the novel to already hit as hard as it did. It had no reason to and yet here we are. ‘Beautiful Chaos‘ opens with Wilf thinking back to the day the Doctor brought Donna home, unconscious and without her memory. He remembers the rain and the look on the Doctor’s face.

And his eyes, his eyes looked so haunted, so sad, so lost. So, so old. They looked like the eyes of an old man, trapped in a ridiculously young body. So miserable. So alone. So lonely.

p. 3

I’m not crying.

You can tell the author cares deeply about Doctor Who, the story of this traveller and his companions. It’s the little details that give it away and I loved the book all the more. Sometimes Doctor Who stories are superficial and just action and running but what makes Doctor Who such an amazing show are the emotions, the little things. The ordinary people.


One of my favourite Doctor Who stories out there. It has a good villain who in the end was beaten by something so deeply human it was almost painful to read. I loved the way Donna and her family came into the limelight, their lives and relationships making this novel an emotional roller-coaster.


  • Author: Gary Russell
  • Pages: 256
  • Publisher: Penguin UK
  • Publication Date: March 7, 2013
  • ISBN: 9781849905183

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