United By Pop received a free copy of The Fandom in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are our own.
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Title: The Fandom
Author: Anna Day
Overall rating: 4/5
Great for: Fans of Suzanne Collins, Veronica Roth, and James Dashner
Themes: Young adult, science fiction, fantasy and dystopian
Review: I think it’s every super fan’s dream turned reality to find themselves transported into their favourite fictional world. Who hasn’t fantasised about taking herbology class in Hogwarts, fighting the white walkers in Westeros, or running the Maze with Minho?
And Anna Day’s ‘The Fandom’ allows readers to do just that.
Instinctively, I look for Katie. She stands, frozen, her knuckles bleached and ragged as she clutches her face. Next, I find Alice, her painted mouth ajar, her eyes loaded with tears. And I can still feel Nate, crushing my hand, tugging at the fabric of my tunic like he’s five.
And I know we share only one thought:
‘We’re not in cosplay any more.’
The story begins with Violet and fellow fangirl Alice, obsessing over their upcoming trip to Comic-Con, where they will get to meet the actor who plays their favourite fictional bae, Willow. Willow resides in the bestselling book and successful movie adaptation of the same name, ‘The Gallow’s Dance’. His real-world equivalent might be a cocaine-snorting and model-dating douche, but their excitement still remains unbridled. Accompanying the duo is their friend Katie, clueless about any fiction from this century, and Violet’s younger brother, Nate, who might be more obsessed with this fictional world than his sister is!
The foursome end up with far more than they bargained for, however, when they find themselves transported directly into the world of ‘The Gallow’s Dance’, moments after meeting their fictional idol. Events continue to unfold almost exactly as they do in the canon, but with four quite obvious and real-world additions to the story-line.
Violet must decide whether to continue following the plot to its sorrowful close or write her own story and risk trapping her friends into a lifetime of unknowable risks and horrors.
The concept of this appealed to my inner-fangirl who is tragically still awaiting her Hogwarts’ acceptance letter! To enter, an albeit new, fictional land and get to relive this fantasy (minus the accompanying danger) sounded like a fangirl’s dream come true.
‘The Fandom’ incorporated authentic characters into this innovate plot and truly honed their collective feelings of awe and excitement, mixed with confusion and fear, on entry to the fictional London of ‘The Gallow’s Dance’. You got a sense that these were true fans but also genuine human beings with genuine human responses to their ordeals.
The text also incorporated a number of pop culture references, that conspired together to add to the reality of their situation. This extra narrative layer, in which I was constantly puzzling out the references and searching for more subtle links to my own favourite fandoms, was another example of how cleverly the reader was united with the characters.
The actual fictional world that is entered was also as fully fleshed as the outer-layer story-line. It played with popular tropes from young adult dystopia, and the contemporary human additions combined to make this an almost satire of itself. By allowing reality to intrude on fantasy the reader is invited to tear apart the fabric of the text and this cleverly becomes a parody of the thing it is parading as.
With a startling believable plot, an exciting narrative, and a link to already beloved contemporary fandoms, I found little to fault in this already-acclaimed new addition to the dystopian genre. I will, however, think twice about daydreaming about my own inclusion into my favourite fictional fandoms…