Vampire Science is the 2nd Eighth Doctor novel and it appears also one of the rarest. It is trading hands for around £15-£20, which is a lot for a paperback. Luckily I managed to pick up my copy for around £7 so this review can be a bit impartial, but bear in mind that if you are paying a lot for it, your going to want it to be better than it may possibly be.
What first struck me about Vampire Science is the way the Doctor and his newest companion, Sam, seemed to have already gelled and it is revealed about 40 pages in that they have been travelling together for some time. Given at this point the Eighth Doctor existed solely in novel form it would have been nice to actually see them get acquainted. I understand it lets other writers slip stories in between, but it still would have been nice to have a slight follow on from The Eight Doctors and allow any future adventures to be slotted in between this book and The Bodysnatchers.
Talking of Sam this is the first book where she actually gets some character building as her appearance in The Eight Doctors is limited. The authors do well to build her up from the get-go, and by the books end you feel like she has been around for a while and that you know her. Her personality does occasionally grate, but given she's meant to be fresh out of school and a bit of a political activist it just goes to show just how good the writers are, as these people tend to grate on you in real life too!
It is also the first story in which you get to see the Eighth Doctor in all his glory (the previous novel he is suffering from amnesia for most of it). Vampire Science sows the seeds of his traits, bits even comparing him directly to the Seventh Doctor. I found this to be very well written, and by the end you have a very good idea in your head of how the Doctor is and look forward to sharing more adventures with him.
Story wise, Vampire Science is very good. The premise in itself makes you want to read, and the story is interesting enough to keep you interested. It starts off a little slow, but it soon picks up the pace. I noticed one of the negative reviews here slated the book for building on a history that only existed in the authors minds. Vampires had been mentioned in Doctor Who previously, but the wars with the Time Lords in which the book speaks are only ever mentioned in the novels, previously in the Virgin New Adventure "Goth Opera" and in the preceding title of this range "The Eight Doctors" so the authors were just building on already established lore, albeit the novel lore and not TV lore.
In summary, Vampire Science is a very well written, above average Doctor Who novel. However to say it is worth the £15-£20 it sometimes trades for is pushing it. If you can pick it up for under a tenner then it is well worth the purchase, but I certainly wouldn't mark it down as a must read for the casual fan.