Book Review

Any Way the Wind Blows by Rainbow Rowell

Genre | YA Fantasy
Page #s | 574
Publishing Date | July 2021

In Carry On, Simon Snow and his friends realized that everything they thought they understood about the world might be wrong. And in Wayward Son, they wondered whether everything they understood about themselves might be wrong.

In Any Way the Wind Blows, Simon and Baz and Penelope and Agatha have to decide how to move forward.

For Simon, that means deciding whether he still wants to be part of the World of Mages — and if he doesn’t, what does that mean for his relationship with Baz? Meanwhile Baz is bouncing between two family crises and not finding any time to talk to anyone about his newfound vampire knowledge. Penelope would love to help, but she’s smuggled an American Normal into London, and now she isn’t sure what to do with him. And Agatha? Well, Agatha Wellbelove has had enough.

Any Way the Wind Blows takes the gang back to England, back to Watford, and back to their families for their longest and most emotionally wrenching adventure yet.

This book is a finale. It tells secrets and answers questions and lays ghosts to rest.

Carry On was conceived as a book about Chosen One stories; Any Way the Wind Blows is an ending about endings. About catharsis and closure, and how we choose to move on from the traumas and triumphs that try to define us.

Goodreads

Any Way the Wind Blows is the third book in the Simon Snow series (check out my reviews of Carry On and Wayward Son). Although I didn’t think the plot of this novel was as tight as the previous two books, it doesn’t actually matter. The characters are the center of this story, and Rowell gives us more of her excellent dialogue and relationships between some of my all-time favorite book characters.

The group is split up for most of the book. Simon and Baz are figuring out their relationship whilst investigating a new supposed “Chosen One.” Penelope and Shepherd untangle and resolve his mysterious demon tattoos. And Agatha hangs out with new character Naimh and the goats of Watford. Each storyline is really fun, though I do wish there had been more frequent interactions between each group.

Penelope remains my MVP; her confidence-bordering-on-arrogance fills my heart (and Shepherd’s) with adoration, but once again, Agatha keeps stealthily stealing my heart! Her story went in a truly unexpected direction, and I am so happy for the place she found in the wizarding world. Of course, Simon and Baz are also amazing. There was a fake out early in the book that felt like drama for the sake of drama, but once they settle into their relationship, it was so rewarding to watch them try to make things work. Their dialogue is so real and lovely, and in this book we get some non-sexy sex scenes, which honestly is my favorite. The intimacy that happens in imperfect situations is way hotter to me than anything else.

Although I’m pretty sure this is the last book in a trilogy, it sure reads as though there could be more. I hope there is! I loved the resolution to Simon’s past that we get in this book, but I desperately want to see him enjoy it. And I NEED to see Agatha in her new role just as much as I want a spinoff of Shepherd and Penelope traveling the world meeting new magical creatures! There is so much still to explore, and I hope Rowell is inspired to stay in this world.

What Makes This Book Queer?

If you’re reading the third book in this series, you already know it centers on gay relationship between two boys. What is new is a gay relationship between two girls! Even better, there are some really vulnerable discussions of sexuality, of not quite knowing how to label yourself, and the embarrassment of not realizing something so huge about yourself earlier.

Who Would I Recommend This Book To?

As always, Harry/Draco shippers are going to love this book. But more than that, if you love fantasy novels but wish there was more of a focus on characters and relationships, then you will love the Simon Snow series!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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