Friday, 18 December 2015
REVIEW – ALL-CONSUMING FIRE
The Seventh Doctor meets…Sherlock Holmes?
The second novel adaptation released this month, All-Consuming Fire is a bit of an odd duck really. It’s clearly a crossover between Doctor Who and Sherlock Holmes (dream team), but it does take some getting used to. For one thing, the first half of this story is told as a traditional Sherlock Holmes title which is really interesting as I haven’t heard Nicholas Briggs as the Great Detective, but to fans who are only interested in Doctor Who, this element of the plot might turn them off.
Even though the first half focuses mostly on Holmes and Watson, the Doctor somehow always feels close by. He gets his one-on-ones with both Sherlock and Watson and Sylvester McCoy’s interactions with Briggs’ Sherlock and Richard Earl's Watson are some of the highlights of this story. In fact, Briggs and Earl impressed me so much, I am readily considering diving into Big Finish’s Sherlock Holmes titles, having only been interested in Doctor Who and it’s spin-offs.
The second half of the story is more Doctor Who with the Doctor and Benny taking center stage, though as with the first half, Holmes and Watson are never too far from the action. Indeed Benny and Watson’s team-up I also count as one of the title’s highlights, though it does take a while for Benny to show up, understandably so as it’s Doctor Who meets Sherlock Holmes!
Ace unfortunately takes even longer to properly show up in the story, though she isn’t ignored by the plot so much as her purpose in the story only arrives later than that of the other characters. I wouldn’t call it an Ace-lite episode, but of all the relevant characters, she is the least featured.
I must applaud the pacing of this story but more than that – the sound effects! This story is quite vibrant; having loads to scenes in different locations all needing to sound unique and colorful. Big Finish does a fantastic job of helping to paint the correct visuals in the listeners mind, coupled with the acting in said scenes, this story is well worth a listen.
Since its part Sherlock Holmes, obviously we need a nice mystery to solve and while the hunt for clues is very entertaining, the eventual solution and obvious alien monster behind it all is a bit of a letdown, having no distinguishable story or purpose other than invasion; even the Doctor lampshades this. If your main character admits to how unimpressive the threat is, how is the listener supposed to hold up? The alien is threatening, just not very interesting. It is because of this that I rate the three quarters of the story much higher than the last. While not a disappointment, the ending is more decisive.
Rating this story: 8/10.