Book Review

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

I’ve JUST finished the book, like two seconds ago, and I LOVED IT.  I expected to like it, an a sort of ironic “Isn’t this odd, reading a pseudo Harry Potter fanfiction that was excerpted in Rowell’s Fangirl?” And for a while, I was mostly interested in assigning every character to their HP equivalent, but that quickly turned into genuine investment.

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 starts 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 – The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow is a ghost story, a love story and a mystery. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story – but far, far more monsters.

Goodreads

I’ve JUST finished the book, like two seconds ago, and I LOVED IT.  I expected to like it, an a sort of ironic “Isn’t this odd, reading a pseudo Harry Potter fanfiction that was excerpted in Rowell’s Fangirl?” And for a while, I was mostly interested in assigning every character to their HP equivalent, but that quickly turned into genuine investment.

I LOVE Simon!  I love Baz!  I love Penelope!  I even love Agatha, although for a while she was a useless wet blanket (but then she acknowledges her role as a useless wet blanket, only meant to further someone else’s story, and when she said “peace out!” I adored her for it).  I love the magical world in Carry On, how they have phones and computers and are simply just like Normals, but with magic.  That makes more sense to me than Harry Potter’s culturally-backwards wizarding world.  But!  I’m not comparing!  (Okay, it’s impossible not to compare.)  

I loved the crackling dialogue, and I laughed out loud SO OFTEN at Simon and Baz’s repartee, like when arguing about the benefits and challenges of being a vampire:

Simon lowers his eyebrows.  “When you look at it that way, why doesn’t everyone cross over?”
“Because it’s death,” I say.
“It clearly isn’t.”
“They say your soul dies.”
“That’s tosh,” he says.
“How would you know, Snow?”
Observation.”
“Observation,” I say.  “You can’t observe a soul.”
“You can over time,” he says.  “I think I’d know–”
“It’s death,” I say, “because you need to eat life to stay alive.”
“That’s everyone,” he says.  “That’s eating.”

Those crazy kids.  But seriously, there’s nothing I love more than a romance built on hatred!  Or, in this case, mutual obsession that turns into need that turns into trust that turns into a love based on their mutual brokenness. And Penelope!  She and Simon are such great friends, and I loved how Rowell had her and Baz become friends too.  They all felt like real characters with interlocking lives and independent motivations.  Very impressive for, as I mentioned earlier, a pseudo-Harry Potter fanfiction that was excerpted in Rowell’s Fangirl.

Originally posted on my other blog, www.itistrish.com.

Come chat books with us on Roar Cat Reads’ discord!

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