Book Review: The Fandom by Anna Day

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live inside your favourite fandom? I’ve always thought I’d have a great time in the Ravenclaw common room; I’d want to be Dauntless but I’d probably be safer in Amity; and despite my fearsome reputation I’d probably be the first to die in the Hunger Games.

Violet, her brother and her friends have wondered what it would be like to fall into the world of their favourite book The Gallows Dance. Then they do. And it is nothing like they expect it to be. When they land in the world of The Gallows Dance, they disrupt the narrative and it is up to them to finish the story and save the day.

The concept of a book within a book is one that has always fascinated me, and I really loved the way it was written here. The constant references back to the canon ensured that I never forgot the characters had fallen into a book, and showed where the characters’ story was deviating from the original. I loved the points where it deviated, but ultimately held true to the original in a way that celebrates Violet and her friends in a really beautiful way. It seemed to give the message that no matter how well you think you know something, things can always change. The Fandom explores and celebrates friendship and the difficulties teenage friendships encounter as well as the potential downside of living in your favourite fandom. Violet’s friendship group is so authentic and I enjoyed seeing their differences and arguments as much as their closeness.

The world-building in The Fandom was perfect: it was easy to imagine yourself in the world of The Gallows Dance and to see the stark contrast between the lives of the Imps and the Gems. It is fast-paced, full of adventure and it was so hard to put down, I even took it on the school run.

Anna’s characters are delightful. Katie is my spirit animal. She’s everything I wish I had been at that age: clever, unconcerned with popular opinion, witty, sarcastic and the Queen of Swears. Violet shows that she is brave when she is prepared to do whatever it takes to get her friends back home, even though her knowledge of the canon and what is to come terrifies her.

This is a brilliant novel. Perfect for fans of dystopia and anyone who considers themselves part of a fandom.

Anna is the most lovely human in person. I was lucky enough to be at her book launch (where she signed my book in the best possible way and gave me the nickname Hagrid Hatstand –best nickname ever) and to meet her again at an event with Dan Stevens. I cannot wait to see what she has in store for us next!


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