Review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell


Rating: 3.5 Stars

I love Rainbow Rowell, her writing is fantastic and reading it is like getting a big warm hug, this book was no exception. 

Rainbow Rowell wrote Fangirl, a novel I loved. It was about Cath, a fan of the 'Simon Snow series' by 'Gemma T. Leslie'. This is a fictional series, which is clearly based on Harry Potter. If you haven't read Fangirl you can read more about it here (this won't spoil Carry On at all). In Fangirl, Cath writes Fan fiction about Simon Snow called Carry On Simon Snow, and there are excerpts throughout the book. This novel, Carry On by Rainbow Rowell is not the fan fiction that Cath wrote, but it is essentially Rainbow Rowell's meta-fan fiction of the fictional Simon Snow series. You do not have to have read Fangirl to enjoy this novel, but it might help to appreciate it further. 

Carry On is about Simon Snow, and his last year at Watford School of Magicks. Simon Snow is the 'chosen one', he is the most powerful magician to grace the world in a long time, problem is he has all this power and has no clue how to use it. According to his vampire roommate Baz (Full name: Tyrannus Basilton Pitch) he is the worst chosen one who's ever been chosen.

Baz and Simon have had a hate-hate relationship. throughout their past 7 years at Watford, but when infuriating Baz doesn't even show up to the last year of school with no explanation, Simon is determined to prove that he is plotting with the Insidious Humdrum. The Insidious Humdrum is 'sucking' the magic up from areas leaving magic deadspots all over the UK, and for some unknown reason he looks exactly like 11 year old Simon. But everyone is convinced that Simon being the 'chosen one' will be the one to defeat the Humdrum.

Overall it was an enjoyable story. It was difficult to get into at first, until I got to book 2 (it was split into 4 books and an epilogue) and it was written from multiple perspectives (I think there were 8 different character POVs) which I didn't really enjoy that much. It was a slow moving story throughout most of the book then everything seemed to happen at once at the end. 

One reason why I couldn't give this book anything higher is that it relies on another authors story. To understand Watford, it really is better if you have read Harry Potter. For the first 100 or so pages it felt like I was reading a Harry Potter fan fiction and I couldn't stop comparing the similarities and differences. 

The characters were really great though, writing fantastic characters is one of Rainbow Rowell's skills. My favourite character was definitely Baz.

Have you read this? What did you think?

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  1. This is on my TBR out of obligation- I loved Fangirl but didn't feel any real pull towards Simon's story. But, admiration of Rowell and the desire to chat about Carry On with my booknerd friends won out in the end and I've put it on my list with some wariness.

    1. In that case you may be pleasantly surprised. I heard so much hype for this and stories of people re-reading it multiple times in a week that I had such high expectations and was ultimately let down. It was an enjoyable read, the writing was funny but it was just lacking something overall.

  2. I felt similarly about this book as you. Baz was great character and wriitng was really good but story itself did no bring anything new or special when it comes to paranormal/fantasy genre...

    1. Exactly. But I still love Rainbow Rowell and I'm interested to see the next book she puts out.


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