About the Book
Fern King is about to uncover a place that she could not have imagined in all her wildest dreams. Annwn is the dream mirror of our world, a place where Dreamers walk in their slumber, their dreams playing out all around them. An enchanted, mysterious place that feeds our own world – as without dreams, without a place where our imaginations and minds can be nourished, what kind of humans would we be?
But Annwn is a place as full of dangers as it is wonders: it is a place where dreams can kill you. Annwn and its Dreamers are protected by an ancient order known as the Knights – and when Fern’s hated twin Ollie is chosen to join their ranks, Fern will have to do whatever she can to prove she is one of them too.
But the world Fern discovers in Annwn, in this dream mirror of her London, is a fragile one, threatened by vicious nightmares. Nightmares that are harder and harder for the Knights to defeat. Something dark is jeopardising the peace and stability of Annwn, something that must be rooted out at all costs. And gradually, Fern realises that the danger lurking inside our sleep is more insidious and terrifying than any nightmare. Because if you can influence someone’s dreams, you can control their thoughts …
About the Author
Holly Race works as a development executive in the film and TV industry, most recently with Aardman Animations. Holly is a Faber Academy graduate, and Midnight’s Twins is her debut novel and the first in a trilogy. After spending several happy years in East London, a few streets away from where Fern lives, she now resides in Cambridge with her husband, their daughter and a large black poodle called Nymeria.
What I Thought
First up, I know we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but 💙. How much does this make you see this book as an animated film because of it?! The artist who deserves the props for this is Gavin Reese.
The story starts with a Prologue which takes place around 15 years before the main story starts. In it we meet our protagonist’s mother in a mysterious place called Annwn, full of nightmarish creatures and where it’s clearly not wise to wish that all your dreams come true.
Then we shoot to the present and into the point of view of Fern King. Living in London, clearly not having a great relationship with her twin brother Ollie, at a new school where she feels like she doesn’t fit in, and suddenly receiving a mysterious text message that throws her life into turmoil.
Think of this as a cross between Nightmare on Elm Street meets The Call meets Shadowhunters meets Neverwhere. If you like portal or urban fantasy, subverting the chosen one trope, witches, knights, dysfunctional families or are a vivid dreamer then definitely pick this up.
The language used itself is often dreamlike, and Holly Race paints a picture of that murky space in between sleep and waking. I also like the metaphor of our inspiration and creativity being what makes us human but what can also challenge us. As a writer myself that spoke to me.
Will Fern become a Knight? What will come true, her dreams or her nightmares? This is the first in a trilogy to be prepared for not all your questions to be answered. And when you go to sleep after reading this – sweet dreams.
Thanks to Faye Rogers and HotKey for the gifted ARC for the purposes of an honest review. The book out tomorrow – do check out the rest of the tour stops too. And you can read the beginning here – http://bit.ly/DangerousDreams.
The following post contains spoilers for the first book in the series – The Fandom.
It’s a year since Violet, Alice and Katie escaped from the dystopian world of The Gallows Dance – Nate’s been stuck in a coma ever since. Violet re-enters The Gallows Dance, determined to bring her brother home. After an argument that threatens to destroy their friendship, Alice stays behind. But when a rogue fanfic writer emerges online – posting dark new chapters set in the world her friends are trapped in – Alice is the only one with the power to save the story…
Anna Day was shortlisted for the Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction competition in 2015 with her novel The Gallows Dance. Combining Anna’s novel with The Big Idea runner-up Angela McCann’s idea resulted in The Fandom, a new novel inspired by the world from Anna’s original story. By day, Anna works as a clinical psychologist and lives in Newcastle with her family.
What I Thought
I was lucky enough to pick up an ARC of The Fandom at YALC and loved it so much I requested to be on the blog tour – you can find my original post here.
So I was very honoured to be contacted by Anna and sent a copy of the second book in the Fandom Duology for review.
Seriously if you’ve ever wished you could enter the world of books you love you will adore this series. It’s fun, romantic and full of friendship and sibling love too.
The Fandom Rising picks up around a year after the first book. Nate is still in a coma and Violet, Alice and Katie are ignoring the elephant in the room – the fact that they went into the world of The Gallows Dance. Everyone has put it down to a freak incident and the girls seem to believe they just dropped into comas too. Almost.
Violet and Alice have published a sequel called The Gallows Song, a Utopia in which Nate is alive and well. But then a fan fiction writer calling himself Fanboy starts using the power of the Fandom to make things dark and dangerous again. Nate is at risk in more than one way and it’s time to hop back and save the day.
I really liked how the female friendships are explored in terms of their complexity – conflict and jealousy as well as being there for each other. Girls aren’t just sunshine and sleepovers, or mean girls. Alice is left behind in the real world as a result and the introduction of the character Danny who helps her is welcomed because she can’t do this alone.
The characters we met in the first book are still in The Gallows Dance world and Violet might regret what they’ve written just a little. Even Utopias have conflict when new characters are introduced.
Like the first this was well paced, full of tension and an excellent mystery. Who is Fanboy and can Alice stop him? The answer may surprise you. Will everyone make it back in one piece?
With timely commentary on the nature of art and who stories belong to I loved diving back into this portal fantasy.
I marginally preferred the first book mainly because of the romance but this was a very satisfying follow up. Not going to lie I now want more and the super exciting news is that the series is in development for TV with Fox 21 Studios and the producer of the Golden Compass. My wishes are that they keep it set in the U.K. 🤞🏻and if they film the opening at LFCC this year I’ll be available to be an extra 😉 – just saying. And maybe they extend the story because there are things I need to see that are hinted at in the very end of book two. I’d be happy with extending this to a trilogy too 🤞🏻🤞🏻🤞🏻.
Thank you to Anna and Chicken House who gifted me this copy for the purposes of an honest review.