Themes: Magic, Destiny, Romance
Audience: Young Adult
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Released: May 9, 2017
This is my second time reading Carry On, since I wanted to reacquaint myself with it before picking up the sequel. Much as I enjoyed this book on my first read, I appreciated it even more this time around. Rainbow Rowell planted the seed for this story in her novel Fangirl, which is probably my favourite of her titles, although it’s hard to choose. So, having already been introduced to Simon and Baz and their adventures at the Watford School of Magic, I couldn’t wait to dive into this.
Perhaps it’s little wonder I loved this book, given my lifelong soft spot for school stories. What was so unique about this one, however, was the extent to which I felt I knew the characters before even opening to the first page, as though I were reconnecting with a group of old friends. I was already familiar with Penny’s brilliance and no-nonsense attitude, with Agatha’s disdain for her own magic, and of course with Simon and Baz’s turbulent enemies-to-lovers romance.
I’m not generally a reader who finds vampires inherently sexy. I never swooned over Edward Cullen or Stefan Salvatore, or even Stefan’s bad boy brother Damon. Baz, on the other hand, is another matter entirely. I’m not sure whether it’s his don’t-care arrogance, the ever-present air of danger, or the hint of vulnerability that occasionally shows through the chinks in his armour. Whatever the reason, I fell hard for this particular vampire and drank in every word of his and Simon’s developing relationship.
One aspect of this novel that really appealed to me was Simon’s utter incompetence as a magician. True, Harry Potter isn’t exactly the best student to pass through the Hogwarts education system. In fact, beyond Defence Against the Dark Arts, his performance is decidedly average. Simon, though, takes this to a whole new level. Despite being the so-called Chosen One, destined to rid the world of the magic-sucking Humdrum, he can barely heat the contents of a teapot without cracking the china.
For a first foray into fantasy that has all the romance and wonderful characterisation I’ve come to look forward to from this author, Carry On by Rainbow Rowell gets 10/10 rainbows.
About the Book
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, and a mystery. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell novel — but far, far more monsters.
About Rainbow Rowell
Rainbow Rowell writes all kinds of stuff.
Sometimes she writes about adults (Attachments and Landline). Sometimes she writes about teenagers (Eleanor & Park, Fangirl). Sometimes — actually, a lot of the time — she writes about lovesick vampires and boys with dragon wings. (The Simon Snow series).
Rainbow wrote her first graphic novel, Pumpkinheads, last fall. And she’s thrilled to be writing Marvel’s monthly Runaways comic, now in its third year.
She lives in Omaha, Nebraska