Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
My rating: 4/5 stars
A big thanks to to SocialBookCo for sending me this book in exhange for a review.
SocialBookCo is a price comparison website, and you can find the cheapest place to buy Carry On here.
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. (source)
I started out this book a bit displeased. Everything I read reminded me of a lesser version of Harry Potter. I knew it was going to be like that, but it still bothered me. It took me around 200 pages before I stopped comparing everything to it – I did enjoy the story through those pages anyway though.
I have read many of Rainbow Rowell’s other books before, and I was really intersted to read a fantasy book from her. I think Carry On was really good, and she did not disappoint. The strongest aspect of the book was, as always with Rainbow Rowell, the characters.
I really did like Simon, our protagonist, but at first I honestly didn’t find him that intersting. It wasn’t something that bothered me a lot, but the whole Chosen One-trope just didn’t really appeal to me. But as you slowly got to know Simon better, his struggles with being the Chosen One got intersting. What did appeal to me from the start was his obsession with Baz. He slowly realized during the book that his obsession and hate towards Baz wasn’t really hate at all. It was done realistically and wonderfully.
Baz is by far my favorite character in this book, and his chapters were definitely also my favorite to read. I love him. He is sarcastic and it was so funny to see him pick fights with Simon. He had a very clear facade build up around him and I loved seeing his actions through Simon’s, or someone else’s eyes, and then switch to his perspective and get an insight in his thoughts afterwards.
Baz’s and Simon’s relationship was so well-developed. It was what made the whole book for me, and it made me care less and less about everything else. I am obsessed with them, they are so cute and I got all teary at the end.
Then we have the two girls Penelope and Agatha. I spend too much of the time we heard about them thinking about getting back with Baz and Simon, but they were pretty great characters too.
I never felt like we really got under Penelope’s skin and got to know her. She was a very loyal friend to Simon and a brainiac determined to solve everything. I didn’t care all too much about her besides when she was with Baz. They’re friendship was so well-done. I loved when they got all nerdy together.
Agatha had an intersting story. She most of all wanted to escape the magic world, and all her confused and mixed feelings were done well. She used to be Simon’s beautiful girlfriend and nothing more, and her development was so great to watch.
I never liked The Mage. He was so annoying, and in the beginning I hated that I kept comparing him to Dumbledore in my head, because Dumbledore is just fantastic
Lucy’s chapters were also great. She had such an important story to tell and I loved how mysterious it all was and how you slowly figured out who she was. It kind of frustrates me that she never got heard, at least not to our knowledge.
The chapters switched point of view between all of the characters and I liked it a lot. Especially when it switched between Simon and Baz in some of their cutesy moments
So as I mentioned, I wasn’t a big fan of the world at first. It definitely grew on me, and I did end up liking it. Even though this is supposed to be a parody on Harry Potter I still feel like it would have been good if the world had been a little more different from that series. If that had been the case I wouldn’t have spent the first 200 pages comparing everything to it. It isn’t necessary to have read Harry Potter before reading this (even though if you haven’t read Harry Potter: what are you doing with your life???).
Rainbow’s writing was as always amazing and very easy to read.
The plot flowed nicely. All the puzzle pieces fit beautifully together at the end, but it wasn’t until near the ending where I could see how nicely it all was done that I really came appreciate it. I don’t know if it would have grabbed my attention more if it had been done differently, but I kept wanting to be alone with Baz and Simon instead of saving the world all the time.
I read Fangirl a couple of months ago, and even though I did like some aspects of it I wasn’t a big fan (link to review here). While reading this I really liked the thought of Cath writing all of this. It doesn’t really matter if you read Fangirl before this book, but I do think you need to know something about it before you read it. Not anything complicated, but if I picked this book up at the bookstore and just started reading it I would wonder if a) this really is a standalone and b) it purposely is so similar to Harry Potter. It is a standalone, and yes it is supposed to be similar to Harry Potter, and I think you need to know that before picking this up.
This book starts at Simon’s seventh year at Watford, and the first half of the book was spend on a lot of background stories and world building. I found it a little too much at times. The world building is obviously necessary but some of the many backgrounds stories from what had happened at their third or fourth year were unnecessary. It took up too much space and the first half was just too slow.
I have now read all of Rainbow’s books besides Landline and this is the first book of hers where I am fully satisfied with the ending. She has a way of disappointing me with her endings, but this one was perfect!
All in all I really enjoyed this book. I am currently obsessed with Baz and Simon, but I did have some issues with the world and the slow beginning of the book. I am giving this book 4/5 stars. I would highly recommend this book to you all!
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Have you read the book, what were your thoughts?