The Fandom by Anna Day

cover image

Chicken House, 2018. ISBN 9781910655672
(Age: Older teens - YA) Note on book: Not suitable for younger readers. Anyone in any fandom's greatest dream is to be transported into the canon world of their favourite story and live out the events as the main character. Maybe except for fans of The Hunger Games, Game of Thrones and now The Gallows Dance. The story follows four teens who were transported from Comic-Con to the canon world of The Gallows Dance, where regular humans are looked down upon and discriminated against. Of course, then it all goes wrong; they accidentally kill the main character and Violet, our main character, takes her place in the story. The Fandom is full of tropes and cliches, but is comforting in the sense that you can anticipate what happens next. The comfortably cliched style is reminiscent of novels like The Medoran Chronicles by Lynette Noni and is pleasant to read and follow along to; however, if you like suspense and surprise, you might feel the book falls short. The only problem I had with the tropes and cliches (without giving too much away) was the death-revival trope, as it doesn't allow for emotional payoff.
Although friendship is meant to be a large theme within the story, there doesn't seem to be much true friendship displayed throughout the book, something which disappointed me. The action moves quickly once the world is established, and though you know what's going to happen as the story follows canon, the writing describes it beautifully and of course, nothing ever really goes to plan. The twists and turns keep you on your toes as you read. The teens and the audience get a glimpse at how large and deep a story's universe is and how much effort goes into creating such a detailed, captivating world.
Day gives a satirical look at discrimination and oppression, emphasising everyone's humanity and the futility of social constructs. The main character Violet is a massive fangirl and a brave but reluctant hero, whose sarcasm and wit bring a spark to the book. The story was compelling and complex, with witty twists and turns.
I would recommend this book to people who want something comfortable and easy to read, but captivating nonetheless.
Stephanie Lam