What will you give to enter the world of a book that you really love? Will you trade something precious to you so that you can experience magic in the world of Harry Potter? Or sacrifice something to run along the maze and defeat WCKED in the world of Maze Runner? Or do anything to befriend the great Daenerys Targaryen from the Game of Thrones?

It would be a dream come true to have all of those. The Fandom by Anna Day is just the perfect insight of how it feels to become a part of what we love to read (& watch) so much. 4.85/5 (★)!

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Synopsis from Goodreads: Cosplay ready, Violet and her friends are at Comic-Con. They can’t wait to meet the fandom of mega movie, The Gallows Dance. What they’re not expecting is to be catapulted by freak accident into their favourite world – for real. Fuelled by love, guilt and fear, can the friends put the plot back on track and get out? The fate of the story is in their hands ...
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But let's see...

If you think that it is a dream come true, well, think again. How exactly would you feel, if you suddenly pop into the world of fiction and accidentally causes harm in the people of the story and changed it's course? Will it still be a dream come true?


The story starts with our main character, Violet, making a presentation about her favourite book + film, The Gallows Dance. She's basically giving out snippets and (*cues horrifying noise*) spoilers towards the whole classroom, but it's understandable as it is for an academic discussion. It helps us to know about The Gallows Dance too, which is one of the most popular fictions in their world. Together with Violet's best friends, Alice and Katie, in addition of little brother Nate, the four of them attended the Comic-Con in cosplay. What initially started as a plan to meet the main cast of The Gallows Dance film ended way more than that. The four of them were somehow transported into the world of The Gallows Dance.

It was all confusing to them, and they ended changing several things during the course by accident. They struggled to fit in the bleak world of The Gallows Dance, unable to return to their own world. It was amazing to me that most of the time, Violet and Nate were able to follow the script. But no matter how the story continues to unfold the way it originally is, many things changed just because of the appearance of the four of them. The heroine of the story died too early, the four of them was forced to fix things again and Violet falling in love with the wrong character.

It was a mess for the four of them, having to learn that the world that they loved so much was almost entirely different from what they imagined. Friendship, suffering, betrayals, love and loss, a lot of emotions happened in the span of a week, and by the end of it, Violet has no choice but to let herself die in order to complete the story. The world divided by physical appearance, Gems the perfections, Imps the normal ones born to serve the so-called perfections. It is huge mess. A frustrating one. But I love them nonetheless. It kept me on the edge of my seat, curious on what will unfold next.


Even though I love British English, I rarely ever get to read stories using British English. Probably another reason why I enjoyed reading The Fandom. Just like warned at the back of the book, "not for younger readers", I find Anna Day's words more entertaining (oh yes, I'm a full-adult already huh). Despite some reviews on Goodreads complaining that some words were repeated too much: "I will hang in four more days", "Russian paper dolls", "canon", I had no problem with it simply because I think those things are important in the story and the author is trying to emphasise it. Especially the part where Violet keeps counting down the days she is going to be hanged, of course she'd do that! Who wouldn't do so when they know just the very day they will have to die?

But language is not the only the reason why this book is not for younger readers. I feel that a few scenes are quite disturbing, but they are essential to show how harsh the world of The Gallows Dance is. So if you're a much younger reader, be careful with it.


And so we have sweet Violet, our little flower of hope, the heroine of this story. On the surface, she can seem like a plain girl with a huge obsession towards a fiction, but of course she is more than that. A loyal friend and a protective sister, brave yet impulsive. It's not hard for me to become fond of her character. She can be clumsy and extremely shy at times, but these qualities make her character real and relatable to me. She may seem like she's babying her brother, Nate, a tad too much (seeing how smart she is), but some big sisters just act that way. I would have done the same thing if I was in her situation.

Nate, the not-so-little brother who often acts more like a big brother to Violet. He's quick-witted and as obsessed of The Gallows Dance as his sister. I'm always soft when it comes to siblings-things, so I naturally just have a soft spot for Nate. He is a big help when Violet struggles to complete the story, but what happened to him is absolutely unfair.

Best friends, Alice and Katie. While Alice just looks like a walking Barbie doll and another avid fan of The Gallows Dance who also writes fan fictions, Katie is quirky girl and very creative with her cusses, who has never read the book and is oblivious of the story line most of the time. Alice's self-importance annoyed me to the core at times, and I hate that she's too close with Violet. But I don't find it weird that she's still best friends with Violet, because sometimes, a person may be selfish, but we still love them nonetheless for possibly a different reason. As for Katie, her character is mostly supportive of Violet, so I appreciate her a lot.

There are more characters from The Gallows Dance, and you'll find a good time (or hateful) to get to know each of them. I just would like to touch a little about Ash. His appearance is like a burst of brightness in the sombre world, his pale blue eyes that drew in Violet in silence. In the book, he's just a side character, but in Violet's reality, he's a lot more than that. Just like Nate, this boy deserves a lot more. (But seriously, I want my own Ash too.)


All in all, I enjoyed the journey through The Fandom! I can relate greatly to it as I have my own obsessions with books and films (though I'm never able to memorise the scripts or dialogues), and the character development is exciting to follow up with. Love and betrayal, I feel that this book changed quite a large part of my perspective towards a fandom. It has never occurred to me that the side characters of a story should have their own journey and story, yet we always take them for granted. The next time I wish I can experience a fiction world, I think I'll be more careful with my thoughts. Because in the end, be careful with what you wish for.

'Count the thistles, one, two, three,
Soon the Imps will all be free.
Count the thistles, four, five, six,
Take up your guns, your stones and sticks.
The ash trees turn from green to red,
Spring has gone, the summer's dead.
Count the minutes, not the hours,
Cos hope starts as a little flower.'

Till next time ♡ Love, Aishah Humaira'

Fairy tales with a touch of darkness, definitely the most wonderful thing I ever encountered 

I've always wanted to read something written by Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows is still in my top TBR list), and since the others are a series of books, I decided to try her stand-alone book first, The Language of Thorns. And oh, I am absolutely, indefinitely in love with it! 4.95/5 (★)

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Synopsis from Goodreads: Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns. Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid's voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy's bidding but only for a terrible price. 

Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love. Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, these tales will transport you to lands both familiar and strange—to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse. 

This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, all of them lavishly illustrated with art that changes with each turn of the page, culminating in six stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.
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I don't normally read short stories, I've read only a handful of them (and mostly they're fan fictions). That's because in short stories, most of the time, we don't really get to know very deeply about a character, which I am not quite fond of because I like to get to know in-depth about a character and emphatise with them. But in this case, The Language of Thorns proved me wrong. There can be so much more in short stories, to the point that when I placed this book down, tears were falling down my cheeks (excuse me, but I am an emotional person).

There's a total of six short stories in the book, and what can I say? All of them are magical in their own way. I'm a sucker for any kind of fairy tales, and it delights me that Leigh Bardugo brought a touch of darkness into them. Her stories portray that not all beauty are filled with kindness and compassion, and a beast may actually be more humane than a real human. They may be a collection of stories inspired by fairy tales, myths and folklore, yet at the same time, they are much more than just that.

The first story (Ayama and the Thorn Wood) and the last story (When Water Sang Fire) particularly left a large impact to me. Ayama had no beautiful look, but her heart was beautiful. And the beast prince only needed a sincere heart to accept him. In When Water Sang Fire, it teaches a lot about friendship, but in the end, bad love can destroy everything. This is the very story that brought tears to me. Ulla was a beautiful in her own way, yet the others notice nothing but her unnaturally strong melody. She was betrayed just because of that, and it pained me a lot.

Can we just admire the artwork bordering the pages, by Sara Kipin? At the start of each story, a small artwork appears, and it grew and grew until it filled around the pages, and by the end, it became a full two-pages of beautiful artwork. I was, and still am enthralled by the artworks, it made the experience of reading a lot more fun! You'd find yourself trying to figure what new thing will appear in the next page.

As for the usage of language, I have absolutely no complaints. Each and every word were written very beautifully, and instead of just reading through the words, I felt like it was being read aloud to me. The words seem to speak on their own, and I have this image of me sitting comfortably on a bed, and someone was reading the stories to me like bedtime stories. I never had that experience, but through this book, I felt like it was a real experience to me. 

Overall, The Language of Thorns is just a perfection. I have no other words to describe it other than being utterly magnificent. I learned a lot through it, and the biggest thing would be: be careful of who you trust and love.

"You see, some people are born with a piece of night inside, and that hollow place can never be filled—not with all the good food or sunshine in the world. That emptiness cannot be banished, and so some days we wake with the feeling of the wind blowing through, and we must simply endure it as the boy did."

Till next time ♡ Love, Maira