Review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Format: Hardcover, 522 pages
Published: October 6th 2015 by St. Martin's Griffin
Rating: ★★★★½
GOODREADS | AMAZON

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.
Simon Snow was a normal kid before he realized he had magic -- lots of it. Too quickly, the responsibility to save the entire world of magic was thrust into his hands. But between a troubled relationship, fighting his nemesis, trying to finish school, and staying alive, saving anyone at all seems kind of impossible.

Magicians are rallying against each other, the creatures are stirring, and the Great Mage is who-knows-where. In this adventure, we follow Simon as he tries to navigate through magickal high school, and along with that: friendship, love, and discovering who he is. All the while, he must fulfill his destiny, and defeat an evil being who wears his face. Who says being a teenager isn't hard?

I was completely thrown off by this book. It's so incredibly different from what I've experienced from Rowell's stories, but it's entirely her at the same time. I love, love, love this book, and it made me realize just how much I missed her writing.

At the beginning of the story, the plot moved kind of slow. This was largely due to the fact that we are introduced to Simon's story in the middle of his adventure, instead of starting it with him. A large portion of the introduction is filler information in order to get to know the world the story is set in, the characters, and other background information. For those that do not know, Simon Snow is a fictional character set in another book by Rowell titled Fangirl. I've yet to read it, but perhaps reading Fangirl could be helpful. It's not that I felt lost at any point (I was captured into the world quickly), but it may cultivate a more familiar reading experience (like meeting an old friend, instead of being introduced to a stranger).

The rest of the book is 300 pages of BEAUTIFUL. It made me laugh, tear up, and everything in between. It was well paced, with the right bits of fantasy and romance mixed in. It really is a page-turner.

Spoiler Alert! (Click to view)

ALSO, did anyone else get Drarry feels?!


Tell me I'm not the only one! ★★★★

The characters in this story were remarkable. Each one is distinctly different and unique, and actually, vaguely reminiscent of the Harry Potter characters, which I enjoyed. Each one made an impression on me. They were all developed well, with their own problems and separate stories to tell.

Simon (like Harry Potter) is unsure of his title as the Chosen One. He's lovable as a main character. Penelope, his best friend, is much more intellectually inclined than the hero (like Hermione), but they make a powerful duo. She is the voice of reason of the two. Then we have Baz, the rival (DRACO), who is strong, arrogant, and much more than the tough front he puts up.

I really enjoyed the backstory of each of these characters and how they are tangled up with the main plot. Character interaction is fantastic! ★★★★★

The story is told through multiple perspectives, and admittedly, I did get confused a few times about from whose perspective I was reading (I'm not usually too fond of novels that have more than one point of view -- two at maximum!) What did help though, was that the majority of non-Simon POVs are fairly short, and did helped me to better understand the story in general.

I enjoy reading Rowell's writing a great deal. I find that she is an incredible storyteller. But like I mentioned at the beginning of this review, this book is very different from what's she's written before. Fortunately -- not surprisingly -- I loved the way this story played out! It's amazing how well she was able to blur this line between the genres of fantasy and contemporary. ★★★★★

Overall, this was a fantastic read, and I have a small itch to read it again. I think it appeals to a wide range of readers, and everyone should try it!

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