Carry On: Book Review

carry on 2

“Aleister Crowley, I’m living a charmed life.”

I’m ashamed to say, I only recently read this. I got it around October, a week or so after its release, and yet I didn’t get to it until now. But it’s safe to say, I finished it in a day. ~ Gee


In case you don’t know, author Rainbow Rowell has written snippets of this before, scattered around in her other book, Fangirl. Now this is where it gets meta. In Fangirl, the main character of the book, Cath, is writing fan-fiction based on the books about Simon Snow in her world. So we get snippets of the “actual” books and of her fan-fiction. But Rainbow didn’t want to leave it at that, so she made the Simon Snow story in her world into a book and story of its own. There, technically those snippets do not count as “canon” since they were written through Cath. Therefore, you may be familiar with the idea of the story, but nothing more specific is happening. So no, there’s no need to read Fangirl before this.

Still with me? Alright, good.

So the story follows Simon Snow, a 16-year-old boy who is said to be “The Chosen One”, the one to save the Magickal world from a “great evil”, as the prophesies say. Simon Snow himself, though, sure does not feel like one. He barely acts like one too. Baz, his roommate and sworn enemy since they were 11, thinks he is “the worst Chosen One who’s ever been chosen.” Sure, he could be the most powerful person the world has ever seen, but that mostly means he sets a lot of things on fire by accident, himself included.

Simon causes a lot more trouble by trying to help than staying out of it. So he has no control of his powers, his wand seems to hate him, and he gets to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders, since he’s the Chosen One. And if all that is not enough, there is also a powerful monster on the loose, a force that nobody has ever heard of, that sucks the magic out of everything around it, human and place alike, leaving “dead” (magic-less) spots on the map.

Worst yet, it looks exactly like an 11-year-old Simon.

In this world of monsters and creatures and snobby Magicks, it’s the cherry on top. The Mage, head of the Watford School of Magicks and Simon’s mentor, is the one that found him and hid him in the school to protect him from…well…everything. But he has troubles of his own, as the powerful families in the political world try to overturn him and as there are several wars going on, and Simon is left without anyone to turn to for advice.

Plus, his arch nemesis Baz didn’t even show up for class. That always means trouble.

One thing I really liked on this story is how nicely Rainbow Rowell has mixed the “magickal” world  with the modern world. In most books I’ve read about magic and stuff, I kept seeing how anything magical tends to keep away from the normal, how magical people keep to themselves because they look down on the technological advances of the human world.

In Carry On, the magickal world depends on the normal world. It’s believed that words have power, and the more a phrase is said the more powerful it is. That’s the reason why the spells they use are actually catchphrases, common slang said over and over by humans. Or, in more powerful spells, nursery rhymes, said and passed on by generations. I hope I’m not the only one on this, but I like little details like that a lot.

That is all I can say about the plot without spoiling anything.

Carry On has a good deal of humor, sass, feels, and kissing, sprinkled with a great deal of magic and monsters.

Overall, I will give this book 4/5 stars solely because it has left quite a few questions unanswered. If you are familiar with the author’s writing, you know how she tends to do that, just in smaller bits. But judging from this book, I would say that this was intentional, and there’s another one in the making soon. At least…one can hope. One can go so long without having their dose of Simon and Baz in their life.



“What you are is a fucking tragedy, Simon Snow. You literally couldn’t be a bigger mess.”
He tries to kiss me, but I pull back- “And you like that?”
“I love it.” He says.
“Because we match.”

Woo boy.

In case you haven’t figured out from the quote above, things get gay. Like, really gay. And I absolutely love it.

But more to that later.

Let’s talk about Baz for a minute here. I didn’t give him the attention he deserved on the non spoilery bits because spoilers, but I’m free to rant about him now. Holy crap I love him so much.

We don’t even see him right away, (literally 150 pages in) him being the absolute diva he is. Alright, no, he was taken hostage, but his entrance was spectacular.

Everyone: *minding their own business*

*doors fly open out of nowhere*

Baz: *swaggers in 6 weeks late with Starbucks* SURPRISE B*TCHES, BET YOU THOUGHT YOU’D SEEN THE LAST OF ME.

You cannot tell me that’s not how it happened.

And, you know, Simon set up the whole Draco Malfoy mood for him until he showed up. “Baz this, Baz that. Baz would have done this. Baz would have said that. Baz Baz Baz.” I can’t blame him, though. Baz has all the characteristics that make him one of my favourite characters. Snarky, sassy, grumpy, done with life (Literally. He’s a vampire) and gay. So very gay for Simon it fills my heart with joy.

I was pleasantly surprised when I saw how early on that was brought to attention, not going to lie. Usually, characters like Baz get really angsty and broody at first and we don’t actually find out their true feelings until the very end. But not Baz. It was a nice change. I was also pleasantly surprised when Simon didn’t nope his way out either. We don’t know Simon’s feelings for Baz, if they are romantic or not, until he kisses him. Simon kissed him first. And then my life was complete.

Right, yes, on to other characters.

She told me later that her parents had told her to steer clear of me at school.

“My mum said that nobody really knew where you came from. And that you might be dangerous.”

“Why didn’t you listen to her?” I asked.

“Because nobody knew where you came from, Simon! And you might be dangerous!”

“You have the worst survival instincts.”

“Also, I felt sorry for you,” she said. “You were holding your wand backwards.”

If I had a Penny in my life, everything would be better. Which proves how much of a tragedy Simon truly is, because he has her in his life and it’s still not enough to help the poor guy. Honestly, she’s goals. And I love the sassy-not-so-friendship she develops with Baz when they plan out what to do.

Agatha. I may not entirely like her, but admittedly she was the most relatable character. The most realistic one, in a sense of accuracy. For me at least. But she was also brave, in her own ways. I have trouble fully disliking characters when I understand where they come from. Same goes for the Mage.

The Mage’s storyline was a little bit predictable for me, after a few hints. It was still kinda heartbreaking when it was confirmed, though. Especially since Simon never found out about his parents, and he still thought he was an orphan when the Mage died in his arms. Not to mention the fact that the Mage made him out of necessity, not out of love. Screw you man. He does not need that in his life anyway.

Right. Ehem.

All in all, it was a good book. Despite all the questions left unanswered, I was fairly satisfied with the end. But I won’t call it an ending, since I still hope there will be more. Hopefully some more backstory too, with Ebb and Lucy and Fiona because I would love to see those ladies back at it full force.

Like I said, one can go so long without having their dose of Simon and Baz in their life.

Snow kissed me last night until my mouth was sore. He kissed me so much, I was worried I’d Turn him with all my saliva. He held himself up on all fours above me and made me reach up for his mouth—and I did. I would again. I’d cross every line for him.
I’m in love with him.
And he likes this better than fighting.

~ Gee


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