The Fandom by Anna Day

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The Fandom by Anna Day

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Category: Teens
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Louise Jones
Reviewed by Louise Jones
Summary: Four teenagers are transported to the dystopian world of their favourite book, but manage to derail the story in the process. Can they get things back on track before one of them is killed?
Buy? maybe Borrow? maybe
Pages: 336 Date: January 2018
Publisher: Chicken House
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781910655672

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Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to be transported to the world inside your favourite book. Exciting? Awe-inspiring? Terrifying? Much of it would, of course, depend on the book in question. Violet and her friends are obsessed with a dystopian novel and movie called Gallows Dance, and are on their way to Comic-Con in full costume, hoping to meet the stars of the film. Things take a strange turn when a freak accident occurs, transporting Violet, Nate, Alice and Katie to the world of the Gallows Dance, a world in which they have managed to derail the canon storyline by getting the heroine killed...

The world of the Gallows Dance is a place of haves and have-nots. On the one side we have the Gems, a genetically enhanced ruling class of superhumans who live in luxury. On the other side of the coin we have the Imps, imperfect folk like you and me who live in squalor and serve as slaves to the Gems. Imps are routinely rounded up and executed by the Gems at the Gallows Dance; a public hanging which serves to keep the Imps in their place and quell ideas of rebellion. In the original canon storyline an Imp called Rose fell in love with a Gem boy called Willow and the two managed to restore harmony to their world. But now Rose is dead and a reluctant Violet must take her place and try to keep the canon on track so that they can return home.

Anna Day has created a dark and sinister world within the story and the danger and fear are palpable, hanging over the characters constantly. This is a deeply unpleasant place; for example, one scene is set in a brothel where Gem bidders compete for disabled Imps and children so that they can rape and mutilate them. The whole city has a foul smell which the book describes as rotting bird. The word pictures are powerful.

Day has a knack for descriptive writing and as well as some evocative scene-setting, she also manages to create some memorable characters. It is particularly interesting to see how the characters change and evolve over the course of the story; the timid and self-deprecating Violet finding her inner courage and a deepening bond with her little brother Nate, a wise old soul despite his young age. Lines between good and bad are blurred; most characters are multi-layered and flawed, which only serves to make them more human and relatable.

Despite the engaging storyline and well-written narrative, there was something that disturbed me about the story and concerned me deeply. From the very beginning we learn that Violet is to hang on the gallows in order to resolve the story and return to reality. Most subsequent chapters have a countdown to when she is to hang and we also see her orchestrate a plot to get herself captured so that the hanging can take place. The theme of the story is that a teenage girl has to die by hanging in order to escape her problems and put things right. The hanging scene itself is written in a very romanticised and poetic way. It concerns me that vulnerable readers could be influenced by this message and hope that the final publication comes with a trigger warning.

Those who enjoy dystopian fiction may enjoy The Declaration by Gemma Malley a dramatic novel set in a world where drugs have banished old age and death.

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Buy The Fandom by Anna Day at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Fandom by Anna Day at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy The Fandom by Anna Day at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Fandom by Anna Day at


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