Back of the book summary –
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.
Now down to the review-
Let’s get down to the basics – I LOVED this book. LOVED it. And that’s saying something since I wasn’t the biggest fan of ‘Fangirl’. I had a lot of friends that were and I wanted to love it, but something was just lacking for me. Hey, not every book is made for every person – and that’s a good thing. So going into Carry On, I was a bit skeptical. Turns out, I had no reason to be. The book was fantastic, and let me tell you why –
The characters –
- Baz is a miraculous character. Everything someone wants in a MC or a love interest (and he’s both). He’s sarcastic, tortured, funny, passionate, disinterested, and the most perfect example of a boy in love. And he is beautiful at being in love.
- Simon, I suppose, could be called the MC. Although, I feel he really shares that distinction with Baz. But he is a fantastic character. He’s kind. He always tries to do the right thing – even if it doesn’t always end with the best consequences.
- Penelope is the best friend/best sidekick – and boy was she ever! She was fiercely loyal, smart enough to give Hermione a run for her money, and not afraid to give her opinion freely. I’d love a best friend like her (although I wouldn’t trade my best friend for the world).
There are many parts that are incredibly reminiscent of Harry Potter (and I believe this was on purpose). It is, after all based on the fanfiction the MC in Rainbow Rowell’s ‘Fangirl’ used to write. And her fanfiction was based off of a loose interpretation of Harry Potter. That being said, Carry On is entirely original in its own way. It’s more of a love story with magic thrown in.
And that brings me to another thing I adored – the love story. I get excited for any story that features an lgbtq+ romance, and this one did not disappoint. It’s important to note, that although I do feel stories of the sometimes very difficult process of coming out, coming to terms with your sexuality, dealing with the unfair and unfortunate negative ramifications of coming out can have on a person’s life – stories like this are important too. A gay romance where the fact that they’re the same sex factors into very little. Baz is gay -very gay- as he describes himself. He likes what he likes and he’s totally cool with it. Simon is…just Simon. He had a girlfriend who he cared about and was attracted to, and now he’s in love with Baz, who he’s attracted to. I can’t tell you how much I love this. Bisexuality/pansexuality/just are who you are no-label sexuality is something rarely seen portrayed in books/film/media. Simon Snow was a breath of fresh air. They entire relationship was sweet, passionate, funny, with a hint of tension and totally believable.
The only critique I had was with the story’s antagonist. I’m not going to give it away and say who it was, but it was predictable…and underwhelming. Most likely because it was only one book (not a series) and we didn’t have time to really get into the meat of the antagonist. We were told their motivations and given the why – I just found myself not really caring. But that’s just a very minor problem I had with the book.
Overall I LOVED it. Probably my favorite fiction book of 2016…and I read a lot of good ones (it just barely nudged out A Court of Mist and Fury). If you haven’t read this book – do it! It’s got magic, great characters, wizards, vampires and a killer love story. Well done, Rainbow Rowell, very well done.