Monday, October 26, 2015

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Carry On
by Rainbow Rowell
Read: October 8 - 9, 2015
October 6, 2015 by St. Martin's Griffin
Source: Purchase
Category: YA, fantasy, HP fanfic/spoof, romance

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.

Goodness, gracious I loved this book so much and I didn't expect to, which is always the best surprised. I wasn't all that interested in the Simon Snow part of Fangirl because of how much Cath's story spoke to me + the romance with Levi. Also, I love reading (obviously) but I've never done the fan-fiction thing. I'm usually a cannon girl. And I don't know why but it took me seeing a copy of Carry On in the store to realize that it's a real and serious book, and a long one. Of course now that I've actually read this, I'm obsessed with Simon & Baz - and Penelope too. 

I adore the way Rainbow Rowell puts words down on paper. Her writing is always a favorite element of her stories, with vivid characters and fantastic dialog. As per usual, romance was definitely my favorite part of Carry On. Whew, I get the Simon and Baz thing now FOR SURE. The tension between them and the way their relationship built work very well for me. The magical world surrounding them was fun, though the way that all turned out didn't completely surprise me, and there were parts of the story - especially in the first 30% - that were slow. Still, I enjoyed this take on Chosen One tales. 

I know many people are confused about what exactly this story is, and I will say you don't have to have to remember the Simon Snow part of Fangirl, or even have read it to enjoy Carry On (I'll admit to skipping some of those Simon sections in Cath's story *hides*). Basically this is Rowell's own interpretation of the Simon Snow character she created, and her own personal ode to books like Harry Potter and TwilightIn some ways, this book does read like a spoof/fanfic of Harry Potter where everything is twisted around differently. But it worked well for me - maybe because it's so clear about that? - though I think what was key is that I was able to see these characters and this story as it's own thing. Once the seeds of the romance started, I was all in. Carry On amused me so much, but in a clever way - not at all cheesy or ridiculous. These characters and the whole story very much hold their own, and I couldn't stop reading, which is always a sign of how much I love something. 

Love Triangle Factor: Mild (highlight for spoiler: Despite what Penelope says about a Simon-Agatha-Baz love triangle, I didn't see one at all. Simon and Baz only have eyes for each other, though Simon can be an idiot sometimes. Simon is still dating Agatha when this begins, but it's clear he's not that into her, and thankfully they break up not too far into the story. There's only one person Simon's obsessed with and you will be as desperate as Simon was for Baz to return to school. Watching them together is a delicious experience. That said, this story did act a bit like a triangle until it was all figured out.)
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone


  1. I've been on the fence about this because of the reviews but you make me want to read it today!! I love your review. I actually enjoyed the Simon parts of Fangirl (though Cath and Levi were my real favorite parts!!) but I was curious how it would translate to such a long book. It sounds like a lot of fun and I don't think there's anything wrong with spoof especially when the book and author acknowledges that's sort of what it is. Plus I am all for a good ship and romance! I think I'm 18th in line at the library for this, boo. Hope I get it soon!

  2. I just recently read Fangirl - yeah, I don't know why it took me so long - and I really did enjoy Cath's story. I have Carry On and I hope to read it ASAP. I'm even more excited because it's nice to hear when someone isn't sure about a book and still loves it.


  3. I'm reading Fangirl now...and I'm skipping the Simon / Baz parts, too. This sounds interesting.

  4. Great review! This book was so awesome. I loved the Simon Snow parts of Fangirl, so I knew I wanted to read this book as soon as it was announced. I agree about the Harry Potter spoof, but that was kind of the point. And I loved it for it. I was amazed with how well Rainbow Rowell did with fantasy. I loved how the magic was hidden in the normal world. So different from Harry Potter in that way.

    Check out my review:

  5. Gorgeous review Lauren. <3 I'm so glad you enjoyed this book so much :D Yesss. I also loved it the very most. <3 Romance was SO GOOD :D But aw. I keep seeing everyone saying it was a bit like Harry Potter.. and I just, I didn't feel that way, lol :) I re-read Harry Potter in July. And I thought Carry On was even better, hah :) But I also understand why people are comparing them. Sort of. Maybe. Aaanyway. Your review is gorgeous sweet girl :D So happy you loved it. And yess. There was no love triangle at all. A bit of Agatha being stupid, but that was all :p

  6. I was surprised with how much I enjoyed this book too. This was my second RR book and I really love how addicting her writing is. Great, realistic characters too. Great review! So happy you loved it.

  7. This. Book. I loved it SO MUCH and totally didn't expect to. Like you, I wasn't the biggest fan of all the Simon and Baz excerpts in Fangirl but the anticipation of waiting for Baz to finally show up and then the sexual tension once he did...IT KILLED ME. It was definitely very fanfiction-y in the sense that it was definitely catering to audience wants and needs, perhaps more than a typical novel would, but I loved it precisely because of that. I also completely agree that it stood on its own separate from the Harry Potter books and the characters were definitely unique which is why I fell so hard. I'm also glad you threw in that note about the love triangle because it really doesn't exist at all despite the fact that the word "love triangle" is in the book. Gorgeous review, Lauren--so glad we both fell in love with this.

  8. Wow!! Leave it to Rainbow Rowell to come up with a story like this. This is the perfect book for fans of fantasy stories, and especially for anyone who loves a good twist on LGBT fiction.

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