Today I am going to be reviewing one of my most recent reads for you all: The Fandom by Anna Day. This is going to be a spoiler-filled review, so if you haven’t read the book, then I suggest you don’t read this review as it will spoil the whole book. I have done a few book reviews in the past, but they were quite vague and I don’t really like that set up any more, so I am going to be changing it up. I am going to be splitting the review up into 4 different sections: characters, overall plot, tropes and an overall section. In the overall section I will be discussing anything else from the book that didn’t fit into the other 3 categories. I am also going to be including my favourite quote from the book at some point during the post.
I am going to start by talking about the characters because I felt that for most of the book it was quite a character driven story, so they were very important. I was really impressed with all of the characters from this book because they were so well written and every character had a purpose and wasn’t just there, which I really loved. My feelings on the main protagonist, Violet, are quite mixed. As a character she was really well written and I loved her because at the start of the book she is just like me. She is obsessed with this particular book and she goes dressed as the heroine of said book to comic-con. She is just your average fangirl. When I actually got into the story though I still really liked her, but I just found some of her decisions and reactions to be a little annoying. I think they were still perfectly valid reactions/decisions to make, but I personally would have reacted very differently, so I found her occasional outburst to be very annoying. I loved a lot of the characters from this book, especially Nate who was so brave and intelligent. I sometimes forgot that he was only 14 because he handled everything in such a mature way and I just adored him so much and I am beyond distraught that he didn’t make it out alive! I also loved Katie and many other characters, but to save time I am not going to go in depth about them. However, I am going to come back to Alice when we talk about the plot later. For now I want to talk about Willow though.
Willow as a character in the book wasn’t amazing, but that is because in the grand scheme of the book he really wasn’t a major character. He was more of a distraction and by the end of the book I found I had forgotten all about him because he just wasn’t that interesting. I like that Anna Day chose to do this though because at the very beginning of the book we see Violet swooning over Willow and he is her favourite character (bar Rose of course), but then when she actually falls into this world and gets to meet him… she hates him. He isn’t as wonderful as she thought, she is disgusted by things that were left out of the original book and comes to realize that this is not the Willow she knows. For me this was quite an important point in the story because as fangirls/boys we obsess of our favourite fictional characters, but the questions often raised: would you really like them if you met them in real life? Of course we all say yes, but we can’t actually be sure of that and I am sure it wouldn’t be the case for a lot of us.
Now onto the plot. When I first bought the book I was interested, but I did have some suspicions that it might be a bit cliche or not that well executed because the whole idea of falling into the world of a book is quite a common one that I have seen bouncing around the internet for years, but I was pleasantly surprised. There are 3 main plot points that I want to talk about because if I talked about everything we would be here for hours, so I have narrowed it down a bit.
I have to say that this book definitely wins the title for best opening line ever: “Exactly one week today, I will hang”. It doesn’t get much more dramatic than that and I have to say that first line drew me in straight away. From the first line I was invested and that doesn’t happen very often with me, so I was impressed and I hadn’t even made it to chapter 1 yet.
The second plot point that had me really invested was just the whole idea of them being in another world. I figured out very quickly that they were just in some sort of coma, which I think the author intended the reader to do, and I loved the implications of it. I thought it was so clever how the author let us guess very early on that to some extent the world wasn’t real, but kept us in the dark as to exactly what extent until the last minute – we knew that it wasn’t real, but still didn’t know the consequences of dying. I also just loved the idea that this world they had fallen into was somehow created by the fandom itself. Not only did I think this was interesting because I have never heard that before, but I also thought to myself: is that not exactly what we do? As a fandom we continue the story after it is finished. We create a community around the thing we all collectively love and I feel that that in itself can create some sort of other world. I just loved this element of the story so much as well as the fact that the ‘cannon’ that Violet, Nate and Alice knew was not the limits of the story. It just made me think about all of the things the author of every book knows about their characters and world that we don’t because they were irrelevant or just didn’t make the final cut.
The last plot point I want to talk about is the ending. I am really glad that Anna Day made the decision to have Alice ‘complete the cannon’ instead of Willow. I loved this for several different reasons the first being that it backs up what I said earlier about characters not always being who you thought they were. Willow was one of Violet’s hero’s and yet he let her down in the end. I also really loved this decision because it righted everything that had gone wrong between Alice and Violet. If it wasn’t Alice then they would have returned the their world not remembering what had happened, but their argument from previously in the book would have been left unresolved. Whether they would have remembered it or not I don’t know, but I am glad that it was resolved in it’s own way by Alice taking Willows place. I also just really love the message it put out there that there is more to life that romantic love and that friendships are just as important. That moment resolved any doubts that Violet had about Alice and I think it was a great ending and a great message to send.
I have just one trope to talk about from this book and that is the insta-love trope. Normally this kind of trope really annoys me because it is just so unrealistic. There have been a few occasions where it hasn’t annoyed, but those are generally quite few and far between. This was, however, one of those very rare occasions. I really loved the romance between Ash and Violet because even though it happened in only a few short days it still seemed realistic to an extent. I also think it didn’t bother me that much because it was never the main focus of the story. There was alwasy something else going on that meant that book didn’t turn into a romance novel. What really made me love the romance though was a thought that Violet had towards the end of the book. She thought something like ‘maybe it is possible to fall in love in only a week’. That was really important to me because it made it clear to the reader that Violet was confused herself at the strength of her feelings meaning she didn’t just except that she was in love now and that was it like what happens in a lot of YA books. I also liked this comment though because it was also posed as a sort of question for the reader to think about. It was yet another poke at the reader to think about how they would really react if they were in this situation.
“look at it another way – if you were stuck here, here in our world, how would you live your life? What kind of imp would you become?”
This is my favourite quote from the book and before I finish up this review I just wanted to explain why I loved this quote. This quote was my favourite because it really made me think and it solidified the whole idea that even though we may love a book or a film or a TV show and even though we may say we’d fight on the rebels side or the righteous side if we were in that situation, would we really? How many of us would actually join the enemy just to be safe? How many of us would just give up and die? How many of us would just run away? I think it would be a shockingly large amount with probably myself included, which is why this was such an important point in the book. This was the point that Violet truly chose a side and I think that was really important.
Well, there you go. That was my review of ‘The Fandom’ by Anna Day. I gave it a 4.5/5 stars overall; I chose to dock half a star because I felt the first few chapters were a little bit loose – The way they entered the fandom world was a little confusing, but I loved it non-the-less. I hope it all made sense and I didn’t ramble too much because I felt I did go on a bit in places, but I just had so much to say and honestly this isn’t even half of it. I could talk for hours about this book because I just loved it so much and I really hope it takes off because I think everyone should read this book!
Goodbye for now!
Over and Out