Sunday, 22 November 2009

TW: Risk Assessment

James Goss returns to writing Torchwood with a book by the name of Risk Assessment. He obviously liked the story far more than I did.

We are introduced to a new member of Torchwood, that of Miss Agnes Havershim, an assessor who is awakened when Torchwood faces an epic crisis to assess how well it is operating. Mention is made of the end of Torchwood One, but the arrival of Abaddon was nothing...

Which is one big problem that this book has. James clearly has this big idea about Agnes playing an important role, and there are many flashbacks trying to establish her character, but if she was really that important, she would have been around before, instead of this shoe-horned continuity. And it doesn't help that her character isn't likable. She's always smirking or smiling at odd times, a rather inappropriate reaction to the situations they face, which just make her stand out as an authorial creation that is forced to work.

And the situations are odd too. We start with something small, and the Vam crops up and looks to be the important menace of the book. Except that at the 70% mark, the story changes. Given that we aren't invested in this new character, and it revolves around her, it undercuts any sense that the character was credible as there is an attempt at a character as well as story shift. Neither works well. Then the resolution is just silly.

But then we get to the ending... the hell is up with that? It would make sense if the book is being continued, but it's not. At least, not as far as I am aware. Pretty conclusive ending, actually, in all regards, so I have no idea what either James or the book series editors were thinking letting it go through. Hopefully there is some explanation in The Undertaker's Gift, but I'm not expecting it.

Not a book I would readily recommend.


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