Friday, August 3, 2018

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Release Date - October 6, 2015
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  522 pages
My Rating - 4/5

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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.
This is a chosen one story. It's exactly what you would expect a Rainbow Rowell chosen one story to be like. Fans of Fangirl and those who loved the fanfiction parts in particular, will recognize that voice with these pages. It's both a love letter to the stories that inspired it and something entirely its own.

Rainbow Rowell goes for emotion and nostalgia over intricate plot in this one. It's a simple, straight forward story that allows the reader to get lost in what the book is making them feel. It also looks at the genre this book is an homage to and points out the well known paths they must tread.

Simon, the main character, is insufferable at times but in a lovable, recognizable way. As someone who would occasionally get frustrated with Harry when he let his own hype go to his head, I found myself with similar feelings for Simon. I loved that Simon was written as imperfect. The story being told demands it, but the character also works better as a result.

The fact that magic is conjured with spoken words or phrases that have strong pop cultural significance was a delightful touch. For a story that celebrates fandoms in such an loud way this detail folded into the story perfectly. It was an element of the world building that I felt really worked to enhance the story. The power of words is undeniable and this story embraces that fully.

The romance is, surprisingly, sweet. There were moments I found myself swooning over some of passages in the Baz sections of the book. Him talking about Simon may even be better than the kissing scenes. There is nothing like longing when conveyed perfectly and Rainbow Rowell captures that longing and makes it look effortless.

The side characters are all pretty fascinating. I wanted to know more about Penny and Agatha in particular. Agatha had, in my opinion, the more interesting story arc after Simon and Baz. Following her journey was fascinating and I wouldn't mind an entire book or series about a character going through what she goes through. I wanted it explored and flushed out more because the idea is intriguing. I also loved Baz's Aunt so much!

My only slight issue with this book is the pacing. It, for me, really only picked up once Baz makes his appearance. Baz is, hands down, the best part of this novel in so many ways. His snark and voice were exactly what this book needed. I also felt the book was a bit uneven in terms of the ending. It felt rushed in a way that I cannot really put my finger on. It felt like parts of the story were missing to make it feel whole. It's an otherwise enjoyable read and I am not sure if others would even feel the same way.

A perfect book to ignite some Harry Potter nostalgia. It's a book that I predict will not be for everyone. If the fanfiction parts of Fangirl were not your thing than this will not be either. However, if you love stories about whimsical worlds, main characters who are chosen to save the world, and a really great romance than I would recommend picking up this one.

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