by Joy Thierry Llewellyn
The Fandom, written by Anna Day
In a freak accident at ComicCon, Violet and her friends find themselves transported into their favourite video game, “The Gallows Dance.” Soon after their arrival, the game heroine dies, and Violet is forced to take her place and work with a rebel group. She must decide between following the game script or finding ways to change the story, so she and her friends can escape. Otherwise, there’s a good chance not all of them will make it home alive.
A further complication for Violet comes when she must choose between Willow, the game hero she’s been in love with for years or quirky Ash. A series of unexpected events make her goal even harder to reach. So how far will Violet go to save her young brother and her friends and get them out of the game and safely back home?
The logline in the publicity material for The Fandom is: “A genre-flipping, YA adventure about a group of fans who get transported into their favourite world.” That is a generic enough description it could be referring to the Disney movie Tron, Piers Anthony’s Demons Don’t Dream, many TV episodes, or any one of the ten YA novels displayed on Barnes and Nobles “BNTeen Blog” website, https://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/teen/10-ya-novels-that-take-you-inside-video-game-worlds/.
With the success of novels, movies, and TV series starring a female protagonist, I’m not sure if “genre-flipping”—as in the heroine saves the day, rather than a hero—is the big deal it once was. I did find the story fun, action-packed, well written, and timely with the never-waning popularity of video games.
Haven’t we all—once or twice—wanted to enter our favourite movie, book, or in this case, video game? Anna Day has taken a “what if” scenario to write a novel that leaves readers diving straight into a world filled with adventure, death, friendships, romance, chaos, and all the sights, smells and sounds of a way-too-real Cosplay world.
Yes, I’d recommend this novel, especially if fantasy, fandom, heroine’s kicking butt, and friendships tested are stories you like to read. Along with an action-packed and continuously twisting plotline, each character’s skills and weaknesses affect the twists, turns, and outcome of this tale. I’d give it a 3/5.
The Fandom is Anna Day’s debut novel that came about in an unusual way. As a finalist in the Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition, she was chosen to turn Angela McCann’s winning story idea from Chicken House Publishing’s Big Idea Competition into a YA novel. Phew. Complicated, but it resulted in an entertaining book. I don’t know the details of McCann’s original idea, but Day adapted the premise into a fast-moving story.
NOTE: Author Anna Day is a clinical psychologist with a chatty website and blog if you’re interested in learning more about her: https://www.annadaybooks.com/news
RELATED NOTE: The title is the same as a website devoted to YA books and films called “The Fandom, You Will Regret Nothing” at https://thefandom.net/. They also have an interesting podcast site, https://fandompodcast.com/, and a YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtyci76F1zbp3wb9EEYeVGw, all of which focus on YA stories.
Reviewed by Joy Thierry Llewellyn, firstname.lastname@example.org