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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Breath of Fresh Air, 18 Mar. 2003
It is difficult to disagree with Stephen Gallagher when he notes that 'Rip Tide' is written in a "deceptively easy style": prose as unassuming as Louise Cooper's is trickier than it looks to put together, requiring a great deal of confidence and restraint on the part of the author. Behind the apparent transparency and simplicity of 'Rip Tide' is an emotional and thematic richness which a lesser author would have overplayed, with damaging results. Cooper’s clever and subtle hand succeeds in balancing the complexity and tumult of setting, characterization, and atmosphere with the open and direct, summer-sky clearness of her prose. ‘Rip Tide’ is a pitch-perfect amalgamation of style and substance, and one that is deeply satisfying and enjoyable to read. Something about the light touch - and the freshness - of Cooper's take on Doctor Who leaves the reader revived and invigorated.
'Rip Tide' is a confined, local novella - its effects do not spread far beyond the small coastal town - but a novella which uses its small setting to great dramatic effect. The tight, controlled nature of ‘Rip Tide’ is its strength – the cast is small, allowing Cooper to bring the two or three central characters (Doctor included) vividly to life, without worrying about neglecting a huge cast of page-wasting extras. Nina, a slightly rebellious, slightly angst-ridden teenage girl, is the point around which the narrative turns, acting as our eyes on the action of the novella, and most importantly as our viewpoint on the mysterious, handsome stranger recently arrived in the small Cornish town. Through Nina we are introduced to the Doctor, and it is as though we are meeting this old, familiar character for the first time. The bafflement and perplexity felt by the inquisitive, teenage, amateur-sleuth as she learns about the Doctor, and about what he does, is described cogently, and without hyperbole. Cooper formulates a human, naturalistic, and believable scenario around the meeting of a young girl with a millennia-old Time Lord: strange things seem stranger than ever when they occur in a familiar (and excellently evoked) setting.
Mention of 'Time Lord' gives something away: this is not a novella featuring a Doctor with memory loss but one describing a Doctor closer to the one we saw on television: playful, wild-eyed, a force of nature, and a down-to-earth friend. And he has a purpose – in his eyes, quite frequently, is pure determination. Cooper’s Doctor is driven by something deep inside him. Put simply, the Doctor here is wonderful. We learn very little about the Doctor, as hard-facts go; rather, we see into him, as a person, and understand who he is, and what it is that makes him tick. There may not be “continuity references”, but there is continuity of character and spirit instead. The Doctor of 'Rip Tide' is an enigmatic hero for Nina and Steve, and also, once again, for the reader.
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Doctor Who: Rip Tide (Doctor Who Novellas)
Doctor Who: Rip Tide (Doctor Who Novellas) by Louise Cooper (Hardcover - 31 Jan. 2003)
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