books · reviews

carry on: book review

23734628.jpgCarry On // Rainbow Rowell

genre: YA, fantasy, romance, LGBT

rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ (5 stars)

edition: firdt edition, hardcover, 522 pages

publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin (October 6th, 2015)

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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.

EY.  I JUST REREAD CARRY ON.  LET’S TALK ABOUT HOW MUCH I LOVE THIS BOOK AND RAINBOW ROWELL.

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In case you didn’t know, Carry On was first born when it was mentioned in Fangirl, another one of Rainbow Rowell’s fabulous books.  It’s a semi-Harry-Potter-rip-off-slash-alternate-universe-fanfic.  In Fangirl, Carry On was a fanfic that the main protagonist wrote Simon Snow (aka the rip-off Harry Potter) about what if the chosen one fell for his enemy?  And Rainbow Rowell was like, “Whoa what if I turned this into an actual book?”  Instead of Harry Potter and Hogwarts, we have Simon Snow and Watford, the School of Mages.  Instead of Draco, we have Tyrannus Bastion Grimm-Pitch.  Oh, and they’re in love.  At least not yet.  I love this.  Though some argue that this would not exist without the original Harry Potter series, I myself as a true Potterhead, enjoyed reading Simon and Baz’s journey immensely.  Rainbow Rowell did a fantastic job taking this story into her own hands and giving it her style and twists.  Carry On is absolutely not a children’s novel, but rather a revived plot for those who have grown up reading the stories and simply crave for more.

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The characters in Carry On are a cornerstone of the entire tale; they direct, produce, and act in their own production.  Simon Snow is the “Chosen” One, but Rainbow Rowell flips the personalities around from what you may expect from Harry Potter.  Simon can’t control his powers, and he’s possibly the crappiest Mage around.  Baz, the glorious “pureblood” from a elitist family line, is a vampire.  The Mage and headmaster of Watford, is far from the righteous Dumbledore, and has questionable intentions.  The irony is real, guys.  Some things haven’t changed.  Like that Simon and Baz don’t get along despite being roommates.  Or that Aunt Fiona, the equivalent of Bellatrix, still kicks butt and wears combat boots.  Aside from that, I loved the characters.  From Ebb the shepherd to Penelope the sidekick, each one contributed to the tone of the story with their spunkiness and humor.  All of the dialogue was pretty much on point.  I loved reading Simon and Baz’s banter.  It was unceasingly entertaining to read as Baz drops sarcastic remarks and Simon just growls in response. *swoon*  Their romance just makes me too happy and I totally would rant on about my ship but that would take at least 1000 words.

” I cross my arms, too.  ‘All right,’ I say, ‘just…sit down, okay?’

‘Why should I sit down?’

‘Because you’re making me uncomfortable.’

‘Good,’ he says.  ‘You should be glad I’m not making you bleed.’ ” (Rowell, 207)

Maybe it’s just me, but these characters flew right off the darn page.  They felt like these real, tangible beings that exist in real life.  Yes, that’s how well-written they were.  Seeing Simon, Baz, Penelope, and Agatha work together and bond and develop to defeat the Insidious Humdrum was worthwhile.

 

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Carry On, of course, is set in England.  The world building wasn’t too significant; a lot of it went unsaid since the reader could reference it back to Harry Potter, and I quite liked that.  The book is easy to fall into because I’ve read a world similar to it before; the slight changes, like their spells (up, up, and away! or U can’t touch this!) and their source of magic made me smile.   The backstories that were offered were interesting to read, like the flashbacks Lucy would tell.  It frees the reader from the baggage of long, droned-on descriptions and let’s the primary focus be the characters.

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What made Carry On what it was the way it was written.  Rainbow Rowell’s style is fluid, whimsical, and full of dry humor and pop culture references.  Her craft is one of a kind, and perfect for young adult readers.  I can never get tired of her wit and writing.

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Miss Rowell, thank you for writing this marvelous story.  I couldn’t have enjoyed it more.  Also, shoutout to the cover designer for making such a beautiful dust jacket.

Do I recommend Carry On?  Heck, yes!  I do suggest reading Fangirl first, however, and if you’re a Potterhead like myself, this read will be nothing but entertaining for you.

Signing off at the beep,

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