Warning: Review contains a major spoiler for the ending
With one of the largest promo campaigns UKYA has seen in recent years, we were very excited to get a chance to read The Fandom. But, sadly, it has not lived up to the hype for us.
The concept itself – a group of fans being transported into the world of their fandom – was enticing, but poorly delivered. The constant references to canon, and characters that felt distinctly two-dimensional made this book not only difficult to get into, but bordering on downright boring. There is a great deal of exposition in the first fifty pages that includes a recital of the plot of the ‘Gallows Dance’ fictional-within-fictional world. And the oft-repeated I WILL HANG IN X DAYS line lost its impact much sooner than it ought. It would have improved the book greatly if the concept was simply young adults jumping into a new world, rather than having the pace constantly dragged down by the references to ‘canon’.
It’s also remarkable that for a book about fandom – a place where there is arguably more queer representation than in mainstream publishing – there is not a single queer character. There was also a lot of girl-girl hatred, including slut-shaming, which felt like selling young women short.
But for us, the real let-down was the ending. The ‘it was all a dream’ revelation was so sudden and disappointing, without even a fantastical bring-over of the love interest to soften the blow. Violet, the main character, forgets everything that has happened in the book, meaning she and her friends go through no tangible development. When we’re told not to use the ‘it was all a dream’ resolution at school, it did not make for a satisfying ending.
Occasionally, the team will read a book and say don’t believe the hype. Well, this time, we sadly mean it.