Review: The Fandom by Anna Day

The Fandom was a strange mix of dystopian satire, Inkheart, and a convention book. While I was relieved to find that the characters get transported into the world of their favourite book within the first 50 pages, I knew from the very beginning that this wasn’t going to be for me.

The premise sounded amazing. I wouldn’t have picked it up otherwise. But the opening chapter featured Violet reciting the plot of ‘The Gallow’s Dance’ to her English class as a presentation on plots. First of all, I had to suspend my disbelief that this class would actually happen and I was surprised no one in the audience shouted SPOILERS! This should have been a dead giveaway that the world building wasn’t going to work how I expected.

But nothing quite compares to how deeply I despised the quote-unquote friendship between Violet and Alice. For one, Violet and Katie are straight up bitchy towards her. They literally laugh when someone makes fun of her all ‘she deserved it, about time someone shot her down!’ and that kind of rivalry and competition between friends is not what I’m about. This kind of behaviour does not warrant the term ‘friendship.’ They break friends and make up so many times in this book, I couldn’t keep track.

While they were transported into the world of ‘the book’ there was an awful lot of movie references. Violet kept referring to a script, which made me wonder why it wasn’t just a film franchise to begin with. I really liked the moments where the script format was used – it was very cleverly done – and I wish there had been a bit more like it too.

I also wished that the book had leant more into the dystopian satire aspect, as all the characters were self-aware in the fictional world that the love interest had a silly name, and there was always a rebel group fighting against the government. It could’ve done something really interesting with setting up expectations, but the plot ended up being a pretty conventional for urban fantasy/dystopian fiction.

There’s not great consistency when it comes to the dramatic irony. Basically, Violet has to live out the life of the main female character in ‘The Gallow’s Dance’ so she knows exactly what she has to do, but there’s not really any sense of foreboding. (Apart from the whole ‘I will hang in four days’ line, which I swear was repeated OVER and OVER again to NO effect.) The whole magic system was underdeveloped too. And I had a lot of questions. Not only in the fictional world turned reality, but about how they ended up in the fictional world to begin with.

As for the writing, it was very repetitive. Day kept stressing that even though Nate was 14 he was more like a 5 year old, and I couldn’t help thinking, why not just make him five years old then?? It was supposed to add emotional impact, but I just kept getting annoyed that Violet was infantilising her brother.

The ending was far too twee, and I’m not sure whether to expect a sequel. I’m not sure how the stakes would change, but I feel like there’s still more of the fictional world to explore. Since we the reader were told the plot of the book in the very first chapter, nothing really came as a surprise…I’m disappointed that I wasn’t more impressed with this book, as it seemed like an absolute dream.

Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

the maze runnerThe Maze Runner by James Dasher
Action/Adventure, Dystopian
Published by: Chicken House
Pages: 384
Format: E-Book
Rating: ★★★
Series: The Scorch Trials (#2) | The Death Cure (#3)
Where to Find: GoodReads | Amazon

I have a confession to make. It’s terrible, I know, but….I saw the movie first. But after I saw the movie, I was filled with the best feeling ever. MOTIVATION! I could not leave ‘The Maze Runner’ where the movie did – that epilogue section was too much. I needed to know what happened next. So, I decided I would read the book, experience everything as the author intended and then continue the series. So, now that I’ve witnessed both the book and the movie, I can say: the movie was better. (Book-to-movie review coming soon.)

Plot and Pacing
The Maze Runner is your classic dystopian. Some kids are chucked in an arena and have to try and survive. Unlike ‘The Hunger Games’, all the kids co-operate. Order is everything. The aim of the game is simple: escape the maze. Well, we weren’t really excepting them to stay in the maze, right? Wrong. Over fifty kids have been stuck in this maze for two whole years. UNTIL our protagonist Thomas arrives.  Continue reading “Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner”