THE FANDOM, by Anna Day, Chicken House/Scholastic

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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?

The Fandom allows readers to do just that.

The story begins with Violet, and fellow fangirl Alice, obsessing over their up-coming 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..

OUT APRIL 2018

MY THOUGHTS:

People who are a bit of a nerd, will love this book.  People who don’t follow comic cons and such… will not understand, or hate this book.

What a concept! To go into the fictional world you love so much! It sounded so great!

BUT

However, the ‘friendship’ aspect will enrage many as being what friendship is NOT about. The reality of the situation, is it happens. Mind you,  it doesn’t make it right, but I give the author credit for bringing to light a problem young girls face all the time.

The other problem:

THE GALLOW’S DANCE…

“When a person is hanged, they twitch uncontrollably, especially if their neck is not broken by the initial drop. These movements were called the gallows dance because of the funny movements of the arms and legs. It used to be quite the family event to come and watch a corpse dance on the gallows.”

The Gallow’s Dance Lyrics…

“Dance for me my pretty girls
Let me see your bodies twirl
Raised above the ground so high
Like angels in the sky
Twist and turn to the manic sound
The rhythm of the heartbeat pound

Come on get into the swing
Everybody’s gallows dancing

Feel the air beneath you feet
Drop down to the sudden beat
Lick your lips and toss your hair
Swing out through the air
Then with a kick spin around
Till you’re high above the ground

Next time you’re just hanging around
Move your body to the gallows pound
Shake your arms and kick your feet
Twist your body to the frantic beat
Dancing madly in the air
High above all earthly cares”
“…A central nervous system reaction brought about by sudden violent death. Along with the twitching and jerking there will be urinating and ejaculation. For strange reasons certain people believe that the ground beneath the gallows had magical properties. Some of them search for Mandrake roots beneath the gallows at the hanging grounds…”

The book refers to the hanging… and somehow makes it sound like a whimsical thing… With teen suicides in this day and age, seriously, should we be writing about this as responsible authors?

I’ve attempted to read this book twice so far and will try once more… I’ll add my thoughts below… STAY TUNED!

 

 

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