Most helpful positive review
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Absolutely fantastic. Stephen, please write more?
on 8 May 2001
After the rather dull and plodding EarthWorld, Vanishing Point was a startling and refreshing read.
We leap right into the action, with Fitz already having thrown himself off a cliff in a customary display of macho showing-off that goes somewhat wrong. Anji gets fleshed out quite nicely throughout the book as she begins to settle into the old Companion Routine. It's nice to see an assertive, confident companion who isn't an arrogant snob (Compassion) or a Doctor Wannabe (Sam). Her quips need work, but at least she realises this ;) The Doctor seems to be setting himself a trend for getting bashed over the head as many times as possible in a single book. My memory may be hazy, but I think Vanishing Point managed it three times, with some good old Escape From Falling Building thrown in for good measure. But it was SUCH a relief to read a BBC Eighth Doctor adventure from cover to cover and NOT see the Doctor randomly slaughtering people, committing genocide, turning people into roses, or even breaking bones. It seemed to be a phase that the authors went through - the "Wouldn't it be shocking if the Doctor wiped everyone out" phase.
An absolute joy, though, was that the characterisation did not stop with the three central protagonists. Nathaniel Dark was stunning - a character that I truly felt for as his faith in the Creator is unravelled, and for whom I shed a tear or two in the Epilogue. He wasn't a Scenery Character by any stretch of the imagination. Vettul, introduced about half way into the book, has a distinct personality, despite how little she is seen. Etty seems a little less well-defined, as she wavers throughout the book between Character and Plot Device, and some of her actions seem a little forced. Cauchemar is wonderful, especially when his frail body does not hold up to the level of physical violence he wishes to infict upon Hox at one point.
The only failing this book has (small failing though it is, as the characters are so entertaining that your mind is skillfully distracted from it) is that it runs a little to the old formula: Put character A down to look at Character B. By the time you look back, Character A has been kidnapped. Rescue Character A, and Character C gets stranded. Rescue Charatcer C, and Character B goes missing... Keep going around in circles, until story ends. The smoothness with which this all happens, though, keeps the reader swept up in the action until it all reaches its climax.
And, after a line of Universe-altering plotlines and Deus ex Machinae endings, it's nice to actually see things from the Doctor's point of view, and see him actually solve the problem himself, rather than some book's rather disappointing tendency to end a good book with an utterly feeble anticlimax of "The Doctor made it all better, and we're not going to tell you how, because He Works In Mysterious Ways Your Feeble Human Mind Cannot Comprehend".
Write more, Stephen. A hell of a lot more :)