Friday, January 7, 2022

Book Review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Title: Carry On (Simon Snow #1)
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publication Date: October 6, 2015
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Pages: 528
Add to Goodreads

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 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.

When I reviewed Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, I said that my least favorite bits of the book were the parts about Simon Snow and that I'd probably never read another of her books. I guess all I needed was three years of separation, because I am absolutely in love with Simon and Baz! I picked up this series during the B&N 50% off sale after Christmas and I'm so glad I did!

After several months of reading only fanfiction, I guess it's only fitting that I jumped back into "real" books with a book about characters that existed in fictional fanfiction. Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who can barely use his magic without blowing everyone up. He and his archenemy (roommate) Baz have a complicated relationship that leaves Simon non-functional when Baz fails to show up at the beginning of term. He's sure that Baz is a vampire, even though vampire magicians don't exist. And I absolutely adored their relationship in every single form. I loved all of the secondary characters as well, perhaps with the exception of Agatha, who I could have done without.

I was a bit worried that this book would be as plotless as Fangirl, but I was so wrong! Simon's purpose is to defeat the Humdrum, a magical baddie who is sucking up all the magic. This book had mystery and adventure and I was enthralled. It wasn't fast paced, but I found myself glued to every page. When characters teamed up to plot and defeat the Big Bad, I couldn't wait to see how they'd succeed. 

I know people didn't love the second book as much as this one, but I will be starting it immediately because I can't get enough of these characters! I can't wait to see how they continue to grow and what they get into next. If you've been avoiding this book and you're here for lighthearted fantasy that pokes a bit of fun at normal fantasy tropes, you definitely need to give Carry On a try!