Review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

~Book Haiku of Carry On

Title: Carry On

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Pages: 517

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance, LGBTQIA+

Summary:

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.

Rating: ★★★★★

Review:

This book was both what I expected, and not. It was so much more than what I thought it was. I knew it was romance, which is my least favorite genre, but it broke through that boundary.

At first, I found it quite classic, a boy going to a magic school, they use wands to cast spells like HP. Typical. Then I saw how their magic worked, I found it quite a peculiar twist. The spells are in english, and they depend on everything that is said, by Normals, anywhere and ever. The most used phrases make the most powerful spells, which makes sense.

Then to the world building: The school itself is nothing special, and the creatures aren’t either, besides things called Merwolves and Worsegers;

(“Like badgers, but worse”)

But fairly fast an element of mystery creeps up, as in a certain character appears through POVs that get longer as you keep reading. You wonder who and what and when and why, while at the same time you get to know the characters through their own POVs that mirror their different personalities and how each of them thinks. The writing style is conversational and light.

As the story progresses and you get to know Simon, you get to understand and sort of relate to his worries and insecurities. (After all, we’re all finding our way through the world.) He is constantly under pressure because of high expectations (Which is something I relate to), he feels like he’s not enough, and that he has to answer to a purpose tailored for him long before his birth. He feels ashamed of not delivering.

I liked how you could see Simon and Baz develop and try to figure out the world and each other all while trying to unravel the secrets of the past, and what is to come in the future.

There’s a plot twist at the end, which I partly saw coming quite early, but it still gripped me and didn’t let go until the very end.

Now, for what I wasn’t crazy about: I felt the story kind of dragged at the middle, right before the plot twist when the figurative dominoes start falling. There is also one character’s POV which I honestly did not enjoy reading, because I felt it was unnecessary, and came up more often than its role in the story.

Regardless, the ending was so meaningful and cute! It was encouraging and hopeful and teaches you that whoever you are and however little you accomplished, you deserve a happy ending 💙

📚📚📚📚📚📚📚📚📚📚

All in all, you might want to read this book if you enjoy a sweet story with a unique take on magic, diverse and lovable characters, a calm before the storm, then an action-packed finale with a hopeful ending!

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