I was delighted when I found out that I was approved for this book. The blurb sounded great, like the perfect little book for a geek/fangirl like me. My expectations were high and I had hopes for lots of fun fangirl stuff, some conventions and glossaries.
However, it disappointed me. There was still a lot of fun fangirl stuff, fandom stuff, but sadly there were things I didn’t like.
Let me start with the things I liked.
I loved the glossaries in the book, with what word/abbreviations meant. Things like: RPF (which apparently means Real Person Fiction), Femslash, Songfics.
We also had a big chapter on the various fandoms, of course not all of them are mentioned, that would be impossible as for every tv-show/anime/manga/book/whatever else there is a fandom, be them big or small. But in this one they at least addressed the biggest ones (at least I would count them as the biggest ones). At the end of the chapter there is also a big list (without descriptions on the numerous other fandoms).
I loved the parts on the trolls (I really laughed out loud at the description and it was great to see how spot on it was). Of course I really loved the counter attacks. I am sure a lot of people could use those as trolls are everywhere. Not all of the counter attacks are ones I would agree with though, so I would say use and be careful.
We also have various interviews with writers, creators of things (sorry, I don’t know what kind of stuff they create (could be games/tv/books anything really).
There is also a huge part on how to survive and prepare for a convention. That one was really interesting, though most of the stuff mentioned didn’t apply to me as the cons in my country aren’t that big and we don’t have a lot of the things mentioned (Like photoshoots? Signings?), but also our cons here aren’t that big. The author describes cons that are seemingly huge. Still a lot of the tips are usable and interesting.
There is also a whole planning list and what to do if you are going alone or in group. What to do when you meet up with people you met on the net and several other interesting tips and hints.
I really like the Cosplay Directive. I really think people should read this one. Not only the ones that are the group that should read this book, but everyone. I have seriously seen so many things go wrong or people being treated like shit and I think this should really be printed out and posted at every con that has cosplayers.
However, there were things I didn’t like. If I had known that this book was so full of feminism, I wouldn’t have applied for the ARC or even considered the book. No offence to all feminists, you are all free to do whatever you want. But I am not one that likes Feminism (and yes I am a girl). I like feminism in the way of equality for girls in school and workplace (like being able to study or getting the same pay as your male colleague who does the same thing as you do), but other than that I am actually getting a bit tired of the feminism stuff that is coming up all over the net and outside of it. I won’t go further with it, as that is a topic that falls outside of this review, but I am really disappointed that apparently even in a book like this, we get the whole thing shoved at us. So yeah, those are parts I read through (since I have to review the book), but really disliked, and it also made me give this book a -1 star.
Then we have the other thing that I didn’t like. The book is quite U.S centred. There is a big chapter about all the wonderful, fantastic cons in the U.S and that is nice, but there is a whole world out there. You are now just centring it on one continent, not even that, since it is only North America/Canada(ish). And this is a shame. I know the U.S is a big, big country and a big, big thing in people’s mind, but hello. Hi! Europe here. We also want to read your book, and we also want to know about our cons. It would have been fun if there was a part about the U.S and then also parts about the other continents/parts of the world. Like a top 5, or a top 10. We, in Europe, got some big and great cons. England, Germany and France have some huge cons that really deserve mentioning, and the same goes for Asia and other parts. Now it just feels off to me. Sure, I am planning to go to the U.S one day, but for now that is a) too expensive and b) too difficult (there are soooo many rules one must follow to get in the U.S). I wish the author had done a bit more research and had looked outside of their own country.
The same also goes for the links she posts. A lot of those links are international, but most of the shopping ones? Does the author know how expensive shipping costs are to Europe or another part of the world? (Spoiler: Very expensive, not to mention customs.) Not to even mention that maybe those stores don’t even ship to Europe or Asia or whatever other part of the world?
All in all, I wouldn’t really recommend this book. Maybe for some parts (glossaries, the basic con guide, fandoms), but if you don’t like/feel uncomfortable with Feminism or with the lack of international stuff then I would suggest to turn away from the book.