Genre: YA; Adventure
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?
I have also reviewed these other titles by Samuel Yaw:
Samuel Yaw Jian Fong seems to be able to find the most uniquely interesting settings for his stories. This one, taking place at a multi-fandom convention, follows the adventures of three young people as they navigate through their rivalries with each other to ultimately stoke out greater threats. After a quite embarrassing fallout at last year’s convention, the trio initially try hiding from from each other and fans, only for them to be snuffed out and forced to confront each other.
Admittedly, I had a little bit of trouble following along with the fandoms considering they were made up for the author’s stories BUT then I realized that there is a wikipage for said universes that helps you understand. It’s not necessary to get the main plotline, but since a major aspect of the book is the fandoms, it does help you enjoy and appreciate many of the scenes better so I’d give it a short look before you dive into Mockingston Faire.
Anyway, outside of the unique premise, I really enjoyed all the quite realistic and relatable moments where the characters take part in everything the convention has to offer. This includes improvised acting, shopping for neat souvenirs/collectibles, sampling new games, showing off gamer skills, and just overall having a good time in an atmosphere meant to embrace imagination.
Part of the conflict in the book arises from fans taking their preferred universes a bit too seriously, and wrecking the fun of the event for others. I thought this was a great way to show that we need not agree on which show/story/game/etc is better and we can all get along despite differences and have a good time. And furthermore, there’s no need or reason to be so hung up in ourselves that we destroy something positive.
All in all, another enjoyable and memorable creation from Samuel Yaw Jian Fong.
Want your book reviewed? Click here for more information.
~Sahreth ‘Baphy’ Bowden
Follow this blog by entering your email at the bottom of this page to get updates on book reviews, free books, and giveaways!