I doubt that there are many books with a premise as downright bizarre as John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines. John Green, as most readers will be aware, writes these teen angst stories very well in my (limited) experience of him, and I enjoyed Paper Towns when I read it. Yet reading this quirky book, I found myself reminded of another book, similarly quirky, and just as gripping. Was Green just trotting out a book with superficial tweaks to the plot which had worked wonders to him before?
Picture the scene. 1910. The Royal Navy has been demolished, limping away from a victorious fleet of invaders. German invaders. Hundreds of thousands of Germans land on English soil, as William Le Queux puts it, correct even to the “metaphorical button”. Thousands of German spies in England have cut telegraph cables, blown train lines, and restricted any kind of travel. The novel is a flagship of what has been termed invasion literature, and with a premise like this, what self-respecting Englishman could resist? With a review from Max Hastings, and over a million copies sold, this had the promise of an excellent alternative history read.
I recently found this short novel-a ‘Quick Reads’-whilst looking for some books to dispose of (a sad, bad day). Very much a product from its time-eight years ago-it features David Tennant and Billie Piper (as The Doctor and Rose respectively) from the hit TV show Doctor Who in a book (not an adaptation of any particular episode, simply using the characters from the TV show).
This promised to be good-renowned characters with good background and development already there in the TV show. The first indicator of what is to come is the large font size-I know this is designed to help get people reading more, so aimed at young adult-or younger, but size 14 (or larger) seems to be warning me that the author had to fill pages.