Every bit as adorable as Fangirl. 4/5 stars.
The blurb: 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, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story—but far, far more monsters.
This left me with a serious case of the warm fuzzies. Possibly the most serious case since I read Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda. After Fangirl gave me similar feelings, I’m starting to think it’s Rowell’s specialty.
There are many things to like about Carry On, which is a fun fantasy adventure in its own right as well as a homage to Harry Potter and other “chosen one” YA series (but, let’s face it, mostly HP). The plot was sufficiently complex and well-handled, the secondary characters were well-developed and likeable/intriguing, the pacing was great once we got past the set-up in Part 1. But who really cares about all that because the highlight of this book is the relationship between Simon and Baz.
I’m such a sucker for a good story which involves two people who are clearly meant for each other but either can’t see it or stuff keeps getting in the way… until it doesn’t. Note I said “good story”: this formula doesn’t always work, but Rowell is rather good at it. I like her writing style: it doesn’t draw attention to itself and allows character and plot to grab all your attention (I found myself saying something similar about Leigh Bardugo last week – I’m glad to see from the Acknowledgements that these two are friends. If they ever collaborated I’d queue to get a copy of the book).
And I want to say: points to Rowell for nailing the Britishness. I was looking out for anything that would give her away and there wasn’t a single thing. I’m pretty sure if I ever tried to write a book set in the US a sneaky “wardrobe”, “motorbike” or “biscuit” would give me away.
Overall: if you enjoyed the short snippets of Cath’s Simon Snow stories in Fangirl, I would encourage you to pick up Carry On. It’s fun, absorbing and cute. To give you an idea of just how cute: I’m still smiling while writing this 🙂