The other side of the mirror,
This review is from: Doctor Who - Martha in the Mirror (New Series Adventure 22) (Hardcover)
This book has the type of story pattern that has come up in Doctor Who several times; the Doctor arrives during some type of conference between intergalactic powers just as said conference is to be sabotaged, unearths the conspiracy and saves the day. Although not the most original of plots it is one that works quite well with the general character of the Doctor. Although this story lacks the magic of something like `Curse of Peladon' it is still written convincingly and manages to sustain interest.
The most interesting aspect is the eponymous mirror. The crux of the whole plot revolves around no-one knowing exactly what the mirror can do; including the Doctor. Really it is only a `magic door' type artefact that is fairly common in science fiction and fantasy. However, Justin Richards does a good job of letting it dictate the plot and keeping it at the forefront of the action. The title is a little dubious though as Martha uses the mirror a lot less than many of the characters. It seems odd that her name should feature in the title.
There is a lack of subterfuge in the portrayal and development of General Orlo. He is far too obviously the villain (so obvious that you think that can't be the case). He is also very two dimensional and almost has a stock personality. Some of the other characters are quite endearing and sympathetic though. The Janna/Tylda situation is the best example of this and forms a quite emotional sub-plot. Gonfer, despite a bit of silliness with the name, is also a very sympathetic character. Bill and Bott, the two caretaker robots, provide a comical element and also the only sort of twist/revelation in the plot. It's a good technique to make the reader emphasise with the seemingly `less important' characters at the conference and make the resolution come through them as well as the Doctor.
This is a fairly entertaining story and fits in well with Martha's adventures in the Tardis. But it fails to stand out from the other DW novels of that era.