Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

Ok, you’re all going to hate me for this but… deep breath.. I was disappointed by this novel. Yes, I know it’s big, and other bloggers have practically screamed at their keypads for me to read it but maybe the hype was just too much, maybe I had to many expectations? For whatever reason, I didn’t find it that good.

For those who don’t know, the Throne of Glass series has been infamous. It has been ranted and raved about for months, bloggers and readers alike are absolutely gushing over it. In fact, I’ve heard the author has become so popular that she no longer signs books at her appearances. But for me, it was just a bit meh.

The story follows Caelena, an infamous, ruthless and most importantly captured assassin. Sentenced to a death camp, she is offered one last chance for freedom: win a competition and become the king’s champion. If she looses she dies, if she wins she does the dirty work for the man who sentenced her to death in the first place.

But as the stakes become higher in the competition it becomes clear that the less scrupulous competitors will do anything to win, which quickly begs the question: how can a player be less scrupulous than an assassin?

We all bear scars,… Mine just happen to be more visible than most” – Caelena

The novel provides a unique twist on our standard fantasy setting: tyrannical king, strong teenaged girl as the lead, and attractive and sought after love interest. Sought after by everyone but our doe eyed MC, of course, who is beautiful and modest and provides a challenge to our prince by showing no interest in him what so ever. Yawn. But the unique twist is that Caelena is bent on destroying her tyrannical leader from the start, kindling isn’t required to spark the rebellion in her and I was disappointed this was not utilised more in the plot.

I like a novel that packs a punch. Challenges a way of thinking. A novel full of twists and turns, one where the characters struggle through their problems and stumble out the other side as life long friends, learning from their hardships and overcoming long-standing weaknesses. One that leaves me reeling and desperate for more. This was not that sort of novel.

The lack of character development annoyed me. The assassin went from from a cold hearted killer to compassionate within the first chapter. The captain of the guards remains suspicious of her even when they become friends and even the prince, who claims he’s changed so much, continues to be only interested in one thing. It was disappointing to follow these characters through such an ordeal and form friendships that didn’t seem to effect their characters at all. I didn’t feel the novel challenged the characters in a way they hadn’t been before and found each character, particular Dorian, disappointing when they were given the opportunity to show they’d changed since the novel began.

Still, the image haunted his dreams throughout the night: a lovely girl gazing at the stars, and the stars who gazed back.” – Dorian

Ironically enough the character I enjoyed most was Lady Kaitlin. She was a driven and her chapters were entertaining to read, her personality shining through the page. And her character definitely developed throughout the novel, albeit in a sinister way. Maybe I’m just a fan of the villians but I really did find her character to be entertaining to read.

A highlight of this novel was Caelena and Nehemia’s friendship. It was sweet how they built each other up and helped each other, showing a loyal and lasting friendship. Nehemia’s character was another delight to the novel. She was cunning and strong and, although her actions were often unclear, her motives were always obvious.

Names are not important. It’s what lies inside of you that matters.“- Nehemia

Pacing is an aspect this novel does well. I found there to never be a dull moment and enjoyed the action interspersed with plot development. It’s a quick and easy read from this aspect, and very light hearted. The plot was good and the element of mystery kept me guessing, which was fun.

Other than the authors over use of the exclamation mark (seriously, give it a re-read, you’ll never be able to unsee them) the writing style was good. Efficient in places but descriptive in others and very easy to read, with some very poetic moments dotted in. If you’re looking for some quotes for your wall, this novel has some great ones.

Libraries were full of ideas—perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons

Overall, I would say Throne of Glass is a good novel and an entertaining read but wasn’t very impactful. I wasn’t drawn into the plot, characters or storyline in such a way that I worried about their troubles or particularly cared for their successes. However if your not looking for something too heavy I would suggest this as a good fantasy novel.

⭐⭐⭐/5

Lets Compare Notes

Have you read Throne of Glass? Do you agree with my opinions? Have you read any of the sequels and, if so, would you recommend them? Would love to hear from you in the comments!

Review: Ace of Shades by Amanda Fooley

Ace of Shades follows the finishing school to-be-graduate, etiquetly trained, ballerina poised Enne as she visits the back streets, gang headquarters and sleazy casinos of New Reynes, aka The City of Sin. What could go wrong?

And if you think those are a juxtaposition, then you’re not alone.

After the revolution New Reynes, once home to the royal family, fell into poverty. A few years on and it’s overrun by gangs, drug abusers, gamblers and casinos, making money the only way it knows how: sleaze. Desperate to find her adopted mother, Enne travels to The City of Sin and teams up with her opposite: street gang leader and card shark Levi. Together they brave some of New Reynes’ most rotten bolt holes (and that’s really saying something) in a hopeless search for a woman who is most likely dead. Oh and to make things worse? Levi owes the most powerful man in the city £10k, due in ten days.

Ace of Shades offers a rare addition to fantasy YA: it’s post revolution. I’ve read countless YA that depict the fall of a once horrible tyrant, we’ve followed teens with bows, staffs and magic as they all attempt to overthrow whatever horrible government rules them. But I’ve never seen before Ace of Shades the other side. The aftermath. The struggle of a new government getting on it’s feet and what sort of government you’re putting in power if they rise through violence.

These questions are presented to the reader as the sense of a foreboding second revolution shrouds the novel. The current PM plays a deadly card game called “The Shadow Game” where there are no winners, just survivors. Betting your life instead of chips, this intimidating game is the technique the new government use to swiftly execute their rivals and we reluctantly watch our protagonist teeter on the edge of playing.

“The worst hurt in the world was the kind you grew to accept.” – Enne, Ace of Shades

Enne made for an interesting protagonist. She has seemingly very few initial survival skills and doesn’t have the strong resolve I’ve come to expect from a YA lead. She cries when things go wrong, is lead around more than makes her own choices and runs rather than fights. But that isn’t to say she’s soft. There’s a constant hint she’s something more, and the further she goes into New Reynes underbelly the more she comes into her own. Her character developments are fast and resolute as she becomes more adapted to a city she shouldn’t be in at all. With the world constantly stacking against her and her life unravelling as a lie throughout the novel the changes make sense, although they do scare both the reader and her fellow characters.

Levi’s stays more consistent than Enne’s. He starts the novel as a hopeful card dealer, determined to make it big in a city that is unforgiving. Even with an impossible debt to pay he believes he’ll still be able to become something great, and his optimism never really fades. Despite having seen all the streets have to offer and surviving the worst, Levi, unlike Enne, still fails to grasp that there are no winners in New Reynes.

“He’d bet everything he had in the game, and he’d lost. But the city wouldn’t greive for him. The city would find a new con man, some new boy who called himself a lord, and the city would play again.”

My main issue with this novel was the plot falls. In an attempt to keep this review spoiler free I won’t go into all of those here, but too many times did subtle details not make sense. Why important government officials made it their business to personally execute teenagers or why seeing auras conflicts with a glass blowing career were just two key plot points that made no sense to me. I wasn’t sure if the author had glossed over facts that were necessary for the plot of if she’d had to cut detail due to lack of space, but a lot of points didn’t make obvious sense to me. The book had some clever twists and turns that did seem to make sense but it felt unrefined on many plot points.

The writing style is easy to read and simple, with small snippets of details that helped keep the reader captivated. The plot was dotted with romance which wasn’t very subtle but didn’t detract too much from the story. This romance felt a bit forced on the characters, with little more substance than finding the other one attractive. The characters didn’t obviously pair well together and had seemingly little in common that would make them work as a couple. Although this was a minor key in the story telling and didn’t take away from the book.

“How did you put it earlier?” He grinned. “Oh, right, ‘You’re one of the villains, now.'”

Overall, I enjoyed Ace of Shades. The pacing was good, the story was fun and the setting was unique. I felt the plot needed refining but the unusual characters and exciting backdrop helped mitigate this.

⭐   /5

Review: The Exact Opposite of Okay

“you think it’s justified because you believe you have a right to have sex with me, a right to my love, but just… stop. We’re done. Our friendship is done. Which is totally fine, because it turns out it was never enough for you anyway.” – The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven

synopsis

With help from her wit and loyal drama teacher, Izzy O’Neil is soon step out of education and into the real world, aiming for a future in comedy. But when her nudes are leaked across the internet, people care less about her jokes and more about her social life. As the world judges and belittles her life choices she soon learns that 2018 is not nearly as progressive as society would have Izzy believe.

myopinions

I had really high hopes for this novel. My friend of similar reading taste adored it to no end, it was all over Twitter and I had recommendations left, right and centre to read it. But when push came to shove I was faced with cringy humour, a long drawn out plot and a main character I struggled to relate to. But I still loved it.

Probably this novels biggest issue was pacing. It was so slow. A third of the book is just narrating Izzy’s life- we follow her through several mundane days at school before anything actually happens. I got to hear about her friends, her childhood, her struggling to find a job- all great for world building, but does it have to take up so many pages? I wasn’t sure if it was filler, since the novel is quite short, or if the author was trying to make Izzy as relatable as possible, but I didn’t feel the build up needed to be so long.

teoo

The second snag of disappointment was the book’s humour. I did find the novel humorous, but I wouldn’t say it was subtle. The main character was an aspiring comedian and, as per, thought she was much funnier than she actual was, which made the novel awkward to read. I like jokes in books, I just find it a bit weird when the characters find themselves funnier than I do. Everyone was deeming Izzy the next Charlie Chaplin, full of confidence and charming any boy she met and I just wasn’t buying it. I didn’t think Izzy was a realistic heroine and realism would have really embellished the point this novel is trying to make.

And, finally, there’s the line that annoyed me to no end. About seven pages in there’s the line shown below and, while everyone is praising this novel for it’s humour, I’m gritting my teeth and trying to pretend this novel is still somewhat progressive:

As a feminist I feel immediately guilty because everyone is trying to encourage girls into STEM subjects now, but to be honest I’m not dedicated enough to the Vagenda to force myself to become a computer programmer.

As a female computer programmer, and no it’s not because I’m ‘dedicated to the vagenda’, I’m just a little offended that ‘cool’ characters in media are still belittling women’s interest in STEM. Izzy goes on to make a few, not very funny quips about mathematics and the whole thing just made me annoyed. Can we stop calling girls weird for liking maths? Because that is not a good message for young women reading this novel! Could Izzy have not just said she wasn’t interest in the subject, like I do when I’m talking about history or English?

Ok, I’m now feeling quite bad for slating a not all bad novel. It might not have been my type of writing and I did have a few qualms with it’s pace but the message this book makes is so important. Izzy’s whole situation was not unfamiliar to me, and I don’t mean the leaked nudes. Some guys generally do feel entitled to a woman’s affections. I don’t want to go too much into it since I’m keeping this review spoiler free, but this novel does make a really good point. Hence the quote at the top of this review. I’ve experienced this problem before and have, since reading this novel, spoken to friends who have too- I soon realised the situation is not uncommon. It’s an important point and something every young woman should be wary of.

The second highlight of this novel was the absolute loyalty Ajita’s showed Izzy. They had a classic, 2018, ‘banterous’ friendship: where taking the mick is showing love but Ajita definitely showed that she was sticking by Izzy to the end.

conclusion

Overall, I enjoyed this novel. It was a little over hyped for me, but, despite it’s shortcomings, I would recommend it to any young womanIt’s humorous and I did think the point it made was important even if it was a little slow at making it. If you’re reading the first half and finding your attention waning I would really suggest sticking it out. Honestly, the point the book makes was worth it for me.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ Humorous with a likable, if not unrealistic protagonist. It makes an important point but it a little slow at making it.

similarreads

The Mortal Instruments and Percy Jackson are both series I really enjoyed for their humour, if you’re looking for funny books. The Hate U Give is on a similar vein of having a message but still being a very entertaining YA novel. There are similar feminist books out there, but I haven’t read enough of them to personally recommend!


comparenotes

Have you read The Exact Opposite of Okay? What did you think of the protagonist, Izzy? Have you read any similar, feminist books?

Review: Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton

“I thought of Shazard. My sister in arms. We had recognised something in each other the first time we met and we were tied. By more than blood.” – Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton

traitor
synopsis

Amani finds herself captured and sold to the Sultan she is rebelling against for her Djinni powers. Trapped behind enemy ranks, Ahmed is presented with the perfect spy for discovering why the Sultan is collecting Demdji, providing she can keep her motives hidden and her temper in check. With little help from her fellow rebels, Amani undertakes the most dangerous mission yet: convincing the Sultan she’s loyal. While uncovering the truth behind the Sultan’s plot and staying alive in the palace, Amani soon learns just how much her rebellion has underestimated their tyrannous ruler.

seriesrecap

In case you read Rebel of the Sands donkeys years ago and have no idea who’s rebelling against which sand, I’ll fill you in. Amani is our gun slinging protagonist who lives in the mythical dessert country of Miraji. Miraji is overrun with magic fearing invaders and poverty, thanks to it’s tyrannical Sultan. Amani makes a bid for freedom with shockingly handsome love interest Jin, heading to the countries capital in the hope of a new life.

She doesn’t get very far before she discovers she’s everything her country hates: a Demdji, the daughter of a magical being. With some persuasion from Jin and a little hatred for her Sultan, she joins the Sultan’s rebellious son to try and free her country. The book ends with Amani unleashing her newly discovered Demdji power on the Sultan’s army and earning herself a high rank in the rebellion.

goodbits

 The Writing Style- As I’ve said with Rebel of the Sands, Traitor to the Throne is insanely well written. The writing is as captivating as ever and story rolled off the page like truth to a Demdji (hehe, see what I did there?). It’s just brilliant. How Alwyn Hamilton can make most of a 500 page book about politics and meetings so entertaining I will never understand.

❤ Shazard and Amani’s Relationship– One of my favourite things in this novel was to see how close the members of the rebellion have become. Amani and Shazard’s relationship was one of my favourites, they have such a supportive and understanding friendship which is entirely mutual- unlike Tamid and Amani, where Amani was basically using him while he planned their future marriage.

❤ Sam- Sam’s backstory, cleverly depicted as a folk tale, explains how he lives of the stupidity and carelessness of the rich as he impersonates a popular legend. I loved his character and his character development, finally becoming a loyal rebellion member and even showing selfless bravery in the closing scenes of the novel.

❤ The plot twist- This book has so many hidden corners that I rarely knew where to look. I guessed a few of the things going on, but I was completely taken aback by most of the twists that happen (although I’m very gullible so you might want to judge this one for yourself).

badbits

😥 Amani and Jin- I have one gripe in this novel and that was Amani and Jin’s relationship. Jin doesn’t seem to really know Amani’s character all that well and misjudges her loyalty to Ahmed quite a lot- thinking she’d throw the rebellion away over a petty feud at one point. Amani could have really done with him in this novel and he just disappoints.

conclusion

Overall, I loved this novel. It was gripping, exciting and despite being quite thick I raced through it. Although I’m not a big Jin fan he didn’t get much page time and the novel mostly focusses on Amani’s espionage attempts, which were great.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ Brilliant sequel to Rebel of the Sands, very engaging and definitely doesn’t disappoint!

similarreads

The Hunger Games (if you haven’t read it) is very similar to this novel, being equally well written and hosting lots of rebellion. If you’re looking for a more magical fix then I’d recommend A Darker Shade of Magic, which is also fast pace and filled with magical monarchies.

comparenotes

Have you read Traitor to the Throne or Rebel of the Sands? Did you find Jin annoying in either book, or is that just me?

rebel

Traitor to the Throne is a sequel.

Read my review for the first in the series: Rebel of the Sands!

Review: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

But vanity, not love, has been my folly. Pleased with the preference of one, and offended by neglect of the other, on the very beginning of our acquaintance, I have courted prepossession and ignorance, and driven reason away, where either were concerned. Till this moment, I never knew myself. – Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ Very likable main character. Romance is slow and genuine, not instant attraction and good portrayal of two women building each other up.

After not really enjoying Jane Austen’s Emma I was very hesitant to pick up this novel. But I didn’t want to give up on Austen’s work totally so I put it in the last chance saloon and picked up her most famous work: Pride and Prejudice.

Elizabeth and her five sisters step out of their sheltered world by the push of their mother, desperate to find them husbands. They soon learn that not everyone is as honourable as they seem and never to judge a character too quickly as they discover all the flaws in 1800s match making.

Boy am I glad that I gave Austen a second chance. Pride and Prejudice is nothing like Emma. First of all, Elizabeth is so much better a character than Emma. Raised in a family with an overbearing, embarrassingly needy mother who is desperate for her daughters to be married and two incredibly immature younger siblings, it’s shocking how down-to-earth she is. But Elizabeth Bennet is nothing but mature.

Despite society pressure, and her awful mother, she refuses marriage to gentlemen from ‘good’ families with lots of money. She is confident in herself, clever and incredibly devoted to her older, more beautiful sister Jane.

Jane and Elizabeth’s genuine friendship throughout the novel, which shows no sign of jealousy despite Elizabeth continually been told she’s less pretty than Jane, was one of my favourites in all literature. When Jane’s caught ill while visiting a friend Elizabeth walks miles just to look after her. Elizabeth and Jane constantly confide and share personal revelations and feelings with each other with total trust of the others confidentiality and advice. If you’ve ever read The Fandom by Anna Day, think Violet and Alice but then twist it on it’s head: take out all the bitterness and back-stabbing that really has no place between real friends.

This book is about romance, but my favourite sort of romance: Darcy and Elizabeth (I don’t feel I’m spoiling much by giving that pairing away, they’re one of literature’s most iconic) don’t fall instantly in love. Actually, Darcy calls Elizabeth ugly when he first meets her (she’s a better person than me seeing past that insult). Theirs no trace of insta-love between the two and their attraction seems more genuine than just look based.

But they both get to know each other as people, slowly removing their misconceptions (which some may call prejudices hehe) about each other and swallowing their, you guessed it, pride. The quote at the top of this review actually refers to the moment Elizabeth realizes that she is wrong to judge people so quickly. She explains that by deciding she liked one man at first sight and not the other corrupted her from seeing what was actually going on. Before she had always felt she was reasonable so this revelation leads to the final line: “Till this moment, I never knew myself“.

Elizabeth spends most of the book hating Darcy and not at all interested in him, despite his wealth, and it’s only when she realizes who he is as a person that she begins to like him. Basically they get together for all the right reasons and are one of my favourite literature couples.

Similar to Emma there is a bit of learning to be done in this novel. It is a sort of coming of age for Elizabeth as she realises people are not always what they appear, that whole prejudice thing again. And Darcy starts to treat people much better and regrets being so rude to Elizabeth during their first encounter. Them learning from each other and truly caring for one another is probably the sweetest aspects of this novel. Their growing in character together just makes their love story more immense.

For me, this book is the perfect love story. Which is why I’ve rated this book so highly. I really enjoyed it, it’s very clever and felt ahead of it’s time.

Have you read Pride and Prejudice? Do you share similar opinions to me on love stories? What are you reading at the moment and do you think you’ll ever pick this novel up? Be great if you left a comment!

Review: Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

I believe money and guns get you a lot further in a war than magic these days. – Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ Rebel of the Sands is fast pace, full of action, excitement and, of course, rebellion. Very well written and perfect to engage any YA reader who is struggling to find a book that really grabs their attention.

For me, the quote above really sums up the book. Also, it’s ironic and I love irony.

In this novel we follow the dessert hardened Amani as she leaps from trains, grabs passing magical horses and shoots impossible shots of bottles off walls all in her desperate attempt to be free of her run down, boring town of a home, Dustwalk. She’s a gun slinging protagonist I can really get behind.

Alwyn Hamiliton is an amazing writer. The book captured me from the start and I’d finished it in a matter of days. If you’re in a reading slump and just need something to get you back into books again then I recommend this (I also recommend it if you’re not in a slump, because it’s amazing). It’s fast pace, quick, and you’ll be glad to know the romance isn’t the entirety of the plot. 100% love triangle free.

The premise isn’t exactly new. There’s an awful regime in charge, a strong, teen, female protagonist and an unbelievably good looking love interest. Ok it’s a bit familiar to Katniss, Tris and the rest of the line up. BUT it is done well. It’s got it’s own spin- there’s a dessert and magic and, as far as I can tell, there’s been no collapse of civilisation as we know it so it’s not dystopian. Maybe it’s following the set formula of a YA novel for today’s readers, but it’s a pretty good formula.

The plot to this novel hits the sweet spot of fast pace action and slower scenes. Although the book goes from chase scenes to fight scenes and back again I didn’t feel like it was too packed together. I was able to appreciate Amani’s thoughts, the world building and the character development that was occurring as Amani first stepped out into the real world.

Looking back, I’m surprised that the novel encompasses the explanation of a whole fantasy world, a wicked ruler, novel magic system, Amani’s past and Amani’s daring escape all in this short novel. It may be packed but it’s definitely doesn’t feel rushed.

Amani and Jin, who the plot revolves around, both start as strong characters who trust no-one and need no-one. It’s only when they are flung together that they start to realise that there’s safety in numbers and this character development further embellishes the plot. I found it easy to get behind this  and Amani’s slow trust of Jin makes the plot twists even more powerful and unexpected.

If you’re a fan of dystopians or fantasy YA I suspect this novel will be right up your street. A definite 5 stars from me.

But what about you? Have any of you read it and did you enjoy it? If you haven’t read it, what are you reading? Thanks for taking the time to read my review!

Review: Indigos Dragon by Sofi Croft

‘Dragons don’t die. They just come and go,’ she smiled, ‘and cause chaos either way.’ – Indigos Dragon by Sofi Croft

⭐ ⭐ A short and sweet plot making it a quick read. Lacks details and writing doesn’t feel very fleshed out.

What are the odds that you’ve heard of this one? I met the author (and her baby!) at YALC a few years ago and picked up a signed copy for just £5. She was one of the first authors her publisher, Accent YA, had taken on and this was her big debut. First in the series, it’s a short read at just 188 pages with quite large print. Suffice to say I read the whole thing in a couple of hours.

Indigo is living a far from ordinary life running around hills in the Peak District when a mysterious parcel arrives for him containing his grandfather’s sachet. Inside is a hefty book, bottles and a mysterious looking egg. After magical creatures wreck havoc in his small village, Indigo decides he must go to Poland where his grandparents live. Accompanied only by his diving mad dad and sister, Indigo sets out to discover who he really is.

This book is unusual in that it didn’t really have an antagonist. There is Orava, an old rival of Indigo’s grandfather, who tries to impede Indigos journey slightly but there’s no real bad guy. No big obstacles to overcome, just a narration of Indigos journey to discover the secrets his family keep.

The lack of strife Indigo finds on his way made for a dull read. I didn’t find myself particularly captured by the events of the novel since, although they were unusual, the challenges seemed too easily overcome. Even the mystery of Indigos identity is just given to Indigo by his mother and grandmother, he didn’t really wonder or discover anything for himself.

My main gripe with this book was that it wasn’t very fleshed out. I couldn’t really understand or emphasise with any of the characters because their thoughts and feelings were so often brushed over. Even the descriptions of the beautiful and vivid landscape felt a little… terse. I know the book was short and I can’t exactly be annoyed with the lack of detail but too much happened with too little page time for it to have been fully embellished.

I think this novel does have potential. The premise is interesting, I wasn’t expecting the twist at the end and I liked the elements of family and friendships in this novel. I particularly enjoyed Rue’s character, who appears menacing at first but later becomes a reluctant friend to Indigo. She was a complex character and her motives were often unclear, she seemed to know things that Indigo didn’t and it would have been nice to explore her backstory and opinions more.

I also felt that their was more potential in Orava‘s character that, again, wasn’t shared. As the villain of the tale he didn’t seem to involved and I never really understood what his reasoning was for most of his actions. Some of his actions, like scaring Indigo in the library, seemed a bit pointless.

Overall I would recommend this novel to people looking for short, quick reads. It has potential and needs fleshing out a bit more and will probably not leave a lasting impact on me as a reader, but the story progresses quickly and it’s not a challenging read.

Have you ever read this novel? Or anything similar? Are you excited for YALC this year? Be great to hear from you!

Review: The Fandom by Anna Day

“But if we can’t complete the story, if we can’t go home, we need to think about what sort of life we want to live here.” The Fandom by Anna Day

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ A good plot idea and not challenging making it a pretty quick read. Main character comes across a little younger than her supposed age and friendships are not portrayed in the best of ways in this novel.

The concept of The Fandom is every book lovers dream. Wouldn’t you want to fall into your favourite book with your 2 best friends and become the protagonist? Haven’t we all had the one book crush which we wish was real? This dream becomes a reality for Violet, Gallows Dance enthusiast and massive fan girl.

The plot is pretty self explanatory, but I’ll give you a brief (spoiler free!) overview anyway: Violet, her friends and her tagging along little brother go to comicon to meet the stars of their favourite film, The Gallows Dance when they fall into it’s plot. Violet is forced to become the main character to complete the canon and go home, but things get a little more complicated when she finds herself choosing the rebellion she’s fighting for over the hot love interests she’s supposed to elope with.

Character development is basically the main theme in this book. Violet starts as a love stricken fan girl who seems quite self centred and lacks confidence in herself, but as she progresses through Rose’s story in The Gallows Dance the reader sees her develop into a more heroic character. She gains confidence in herself and starts to actually care about the cause that Rose gave away for a genetically perfected crush. Her character growth was one of the most rewarding parts of this book, making it a sort of coming of age (in the sake of about a week) sort of novel.

The writing style is very simple. I would have preferred more description but overall it’s quite effective, immersing the reader in the story while keeping the book engaging. It is a little repetitive at times, specially when it comes to describing main characters. The reader is often told that Katie has a Scouse accent and that Nate is pixie like, which was a little annoying as the plot progressed.

I also got a little bugged by Violet and her classmates seeming so immature at the beginning of the book. I could have easily believed that Violet was in year 10 throughout the novel but it was a little insulting that she and her class were meant to be in sixth from, given how they acted. Even Violet’s narration was a little immature for a 17 year old, she read more as a 15 year old maximum. Nate, who was meant to be 14, always read as more as a 10 year old also.

This book sells on it’s relatability and I thought it did this pretty well. I found Violet to be relatively realistic character on the whole- not suddenly becoming a superhuman when she became The Gallows Dance’s protagonist and genuinely crying when things go wrong (this would probably be my response to most dystopian novel situations and it’s nice to see that reflected on the page every now and then!). I found Katie to be believable as well, I have friends who are a very similar flavour of down to earth and not at all interested in the books I read, which made Violet’s friendship group dynamic familiar and realistic to me. And Nate was just cute, even if he was more of a ten year old than 14.

But the only character I just couldn’t see was Alice. Violet’s constant jealousy of her from the start made it clear there friendship was not healthy and the author pits them against each other so much. This was the most annoying part about this book- Alice and Violet don’t build each other up, they seem bent on belittling each other. I know their relationship was supposed to be one of the big things that improves and develops throughout the novel but the ‘improvement’ was just too quick, and their friendship had nothing to redeem it. This was the main reason I can’t give this book more than 3 stars.

So, there you have it. My opinions on The Fandom. It’s a plot with a lot of potential but just needed a little better refining. What did you think if you’ve read it? If not, do you think you will? Be great to hear what you guys think in the comments section!