SPOILER FREE REVIEW
Synopsis (Taken from Goodreads.com):
Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.
That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.
Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.
Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story—but far, far more monsters.
Goodreads Rating: 4.18/5 Stars
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
I don’t even know where to start talking about this novel. Maybe I should start with an apology? This novel has been sitting on my to-be-read pile for a good year now and I just now got around to reading it. And, I have to say, it was the perfect book to end 2016 and start 2017 with. I felt myself falling into this world that Rainbow Rowell created and had a hard time leaving it behind when I had to go to work.
However, I also know the biggest complaint about this novel is that it “felt like a fanfiction based off of Harry Potter.” I’ll admit, I did see those similarities when I was reading Carry On. Nevertheless, there are two caveats that we should consider:
1) Harry Potter is one of the most popular fantasy series on the market, but it’s not the only series that is based on the idea of a magic school.
2) Rainbow Rowell wrote this after writing her novel Fangirl, which heavily emphasized the idea of fanfiction and how much fun fans have with that genre. Therefore, if the novel felt like Harry Potter, we could also view it as Rowell’s poking fun at the idea of fanfiction herself.
Now that I’ve digressed a bit, let’s get into the fun stuff!
Overall, I did have a fun and enjoyable time with this novel. It helped to pull me out of my reading slump and gave me a fun adventure to enjoy. While I did find the beginning “Book One” to be paced slowly and hard to get through, I found myself speeding through the novel once I hit “Book Two” and beyond. It was almost as if Rowell was struggling to find her groove at the beginning, but then it quickly found itself and the story took off.
For myself, one of the coolest things was having deja vu moments throughout the novel. Many times, Rowell brought in “excerpts”of the Simon Snow series into Fangirl, and she used some of those excerpts in Carry On. I really enjoyed how that wove the two stories together, seeing how Carry On was and wasn’t Cath’s fanfiction from the first novel. Otherwise, I found her plot to be immersive and beautifully woven together. This story really did Simon and Baz justice!
Per usual, I also found myself falling in love with the wide variety of characters Rowell had in this novel. I found myself connecting with some aspect of each character, whether it be intelligence, problem solving, courage, or sheer sarcasm. Her characters always feel human to me and that is an aspect I greatly appreciate always. I’m never disappointed by the realism that goes into her characters.
Although I do find that Rowell’s strengths are in the contemporary genre, I greatly enjoyed this adventure into fantasy and can’t wait to see what stories she has waiting for us!
“Just when you think you’re having a scene without Simon, he drops in to remind you that everyone else is a supporting character in his catastrophe.”
― Rainbow Rowell,