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, 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.
WARNING!!!! This review contains relationship spoilers paragraph will be marked with **
Welcome to another foray into the writing of Rainbow Rowell, and as always she did not disappoint me. I have read two – well three – of Rowell’s other novels Fangirl and Eleanor and Park and I enjoyed them both, admittedly Fangirl was for me the better out of the two. I do however plan on reading her other works Attachments and Landline. This is Rowell’s first time stepping into the world of fantasy, as a avid fantasy reader and fan of Rowell’s writing I was eager to get my hands on and read the novel which is why it is was at the top of my December TBR.
Carry On: The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow was first introduced in the novel Fangirl. Simon Snow is the series that Cath – the main character in Fangirl – is obsessed with. I originally thought that Carry on was the fan fiction that Cath is writing during her novel as it has the same name or the seventh book in the series. However after doing some research Rowell states that it is her take on Carry On not writing as Gemma T Leslie or Cath. I personally feel that is a combination of the two, regardless I LOVE IT.
Carry On follows Simon Snow, in his final year of Watford School of Magiks, trying to defeat the Insidious Hundrum and save the World of Mages and find out what his ‘evil’ roommate Baz is plotting. It is semi reliant on the world of Harry Potter created by J.K Rowling; maybe inspired by is the better way of putting it. I am not sure how I feel about that but while reading it I never thought OMG that is a Harry Potter rip off or reads like Harry/Draco fan fiction. It does stand apart from Harry Potter although on reflection you can see similarities.
There are events that are eluded to in previous books/years which could be a little confusing to some. I didn’t mind too much that there isn’t an in depth explanation because as this is a ‘stand alone’ novel Rowell had to give us the background of the characters in this book as well. She cleverly used some of the characters past to push forward the plot so you weren’t reading half a book of background information. This made the first ‘book’ – it is divided into four books or sections – a little slow on the read and the fact that Baz didn’t turn up till 150 pages in was seriously cutting into the Baz/Simon time.
This novel is definitely a character based story rather than plot driven, which I have found is common with all the Rainbow Rowell books I have read. I think if it was the other way around you would fail to connect with the characters the way that you do. Let’s face it Rowell is very good at writing relatable characters that you can’t help but fall in love with.
Simon Snow is the main character of the novel and is ‘the worst chose one to ever be chosen’ according to his roommate Baz. He is a bit of a reluctant hero as he can’t really control his magic. I really like Simon as a character he is a little cynical and slightly obsessive and is a fun character to follow. He kind of just goes with the flow and doesn’t really question anything and just accepts things which is quite entertaining.
His best friend is Penelope is the ‘Hermione Granger’ character and reflecting on the novel their relationship with Penelope being the amazing mage that she was while Simon was a little bumbling definitely reminded me of the Harry and Hermione’s relationship in the Harry Potter Series. She is intelligent and protective of Simon and is accepting of Simon and his fault or mistakes.
Baz is Simon’s roommate and ‘arch enemy’ and the love interest of this book (it is a LGBT novel). He is probably my favourite characters, maybe due to Simon’s obsession with Baz. Baz is snarky and determined and his love for Simon really shows a softer side of his personality.
**This is my first LGBT novel and it has definitly inspired me to read some more – I have a few saved on my Goodreads shelf. The love story between Simon and Baz is so fricking adorable! They are one of my favourite couples. Malec – Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood from The Mortal Instruments – is my OTP, and I am really happy to have read a novel where the main characters are gay not just minor or non-main characters. I am definitly shipping Baz and Simon SO HARD!!!! I love them as a couple Simon’s reaction is funny and sweet especially when he asks Baz if he can be his ‘terrible boyfriend’ all the feels my friends. They don’t just fall into a lovey dovey relationship they still snark at each other and Baz still calls Simon ‘Snow’ which is quite funny really.**
There were definitly elements of the story that I felt could have been ended differently, I am on the fence on whether or not Simon should have found out about his parents or not. Also what happened with Ebb, I think there should have been something for her at the end of the novel (I won’t tell you what happened cause too many SPOILERS) but I feel that is ended a little bit abruptly. The Mage also had a ‘skip’ in character as well, I understood the situation I just wished their was a small chapter that just had a little insight of his feelings at the end of the novel. Finally not that I really care but what happened to Nicodemus?
The ending of this book gave me all the feels! I would love to see what happens to Simon, Baz and Penelope – does she marry Micah? I would love to read a follow on novel about their time in the real world or Normal world. I don’t think that will happen however so I won’t hold my breath about it. This is a definite second on my Rainbow Rowell list as Fangirl wins! I would definitly recommend it, it was a enjoyable read and I fell for the characters.