Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Book Review: The Fandom - Anna Day

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'

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