Book Rating: ★★★☆☆ (2.75 / 5 stars)
Every year, Mockingston Faire comes to town. A fan convention that wraps around the hearts of many, Victoria, Jack and Ludvig can’t wait to once again be immersed by their favorite fandoms. But, just because the faire whisks them away from the world, it does not mean they can escape the pressure from outside. Can they manage to enjoy the day without a care in the world? Or will the craziness of the convention overtake them?
A heartfelt story about fan conventions, we journey with a fun cast of characters to Mockingston Faire. But, it is not without warning: fandom can be toxic and all consuming. While for the most part, conventions are fun – with contests, art, panels, and more – the toxicity in fandom remains, and in this case, it puts Mockingston Faire at risk of closing…permanently. This is evident in the treatment of Ludvig as he performs improv, or Victoria as she dances, or the fighting factions in different sides of the fanbase that might just destroy the artist alleys and the panel rooms.
The author clearly is writing this from experience, delving into the world of fan conventions through eager eyes. In fact, the concept itself is heartwarming, and will connect with many readers.
Unfortunately the execution could have been better. In an effort to avoid copyright issues, the author writes about fandoms that exist in the world of Mockinston Faire, sometime in such details that it was hard to stay on top of what was actually happening, and other times without enough, so the plot gets muddled down with unfamiliar terms. In addition, the characters bounce from one event to the next, without giving us a chance to get to know them and their connections. Had we gotten a chance to have a larger bird’s eye view of the convention, or the chance to really get to know the characters and the fandom, then the story might have connected with me more.
I think though that anyone who has been to a fan connection will find a part of themselves in this story. You’ll suddenly be transported back to the crowds, through the vendor booths, and into the panels where people gawk at celebrities. In part, it’s a nostalgia ride, which makes it worth the read for anyone who misses fan conventions…especially during this pandemic.
Note: I received a copy of this book at no cost in exchange for my honest review.
What’s it about?
Three friends — Victoria Hughes, Jack Zhang, and Ludvig Gerald — attend Mockingston Faire, an annual convention where fans meet their friends and favourite characters, buy and sell art, play games, and have a good time. Victoria wants to see Gunfighter III, her anticipated game, and reconcile with Ludvig over what she did last year; Jack wants to get as many pictures of his dearest characters and personalities; and Ludvig just wants to keep away from annoying fans and events who constantly forced him to become an amateur actor.
But the Faire itself has its own challenges. Everywhere they go, they seem to be unable to evade the malcontents of pop culture. From violent brawls between bitter fandoms, to nuisances who hound their every step, the whole Faire seems to descend into chaos.
Can these three make it through this dysfunctional festival with their friends in one piece? Or will they succumb to the surrounding rage, losing their sanity and reputation in the process?