Carry On by Rainbow Rowell – Book Review

Carry On

Rating: 4/5 stars

Goodreads Description:

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 starts 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 – The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow 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 story – but far, far more monsters.

My Review:

Carry On is my first Rainbow Rowell book.  I did not realize it was a spin off of Fangirl, which I have on my Kindle but haven’t yet read.  I feel this book does well as a stand-alone book, but reading Fangirl first would surely have added to the fun and enjoyment of the book and also explain the backstory of the book a little better.

I have to say that I was worried that I was not going to enjoy this book as much as I hoped for.  It dragged on for the first 170 pages (that’s a lot of pages!)  I looked up some reviews and when it was compared to The Magicians by Lev Grossman I thought, “No wonder I’m not getting into this book.  I hated The Magicians!”  Thankfully it did pick up after this point and I was able to get through the rest of the book rather quickly.

Now I know that Fangirl is about a young woman who is obsessed with a series of books that are a takeoff of Harry Potter.  Rowell takes the characters from that fictional takeoff of Harry Potter and gives them life in Carry On.  Simon Snow (Harry Potter) is an orphan who finds his way to Watford, the school of magick.  Instead of wizards their are mages.  Simon is the most powerful mage to have ever been born and is supposed to be the savior in an upcoming war of all mage wars.  Baz is his roommate (Ron Weasley) but they are not best friends.  In fact Baz is a vampire who Simon views as his arch-enemy.  Then there is Penelope (Hermione) who is brilliant and Simon’s best friend.  The three of them will eventually come together to battle the true enemy and try to save the world as they know it.

Now knowing that this book is a spoof on Harry Potter it is easier to accept it’s not so wonderful attempt at world-building (which J.K Rowling was so superb at) and to concentrate more on the actual characters, their friendships, animosities, and love lives.  I enjoyed the interactions between Simon, Baz and Penny and the ultimate ending.  The plot line and mystery held me and I couldn’t wait to see how it would end.

Fangirl has moved up on my TBR and I look forward to reading it now that I have been drawn in to the world of Simon Snow.

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