Carry On | Rainbow Rowell

Carry On (Simon Snow 1) by Rainbow Rowell published 9 May 2017

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.

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How was it?

The way I found my way to this book series was so random. I saw a post on instagram about book three: Any Way the Wind Blows coming out, the cover made me think they might queer characters and someone in the comments confirmed it so here I am.

To anyone who wants to read this, hold on! It gets better. The beginning is not very engaging, just enough to keep me reading. It’s a lot of reminiscing that sort of teach you about this world and its characters but it’s not that effective, yet I still picked up a few things. The book becomes a tad more interesting when Baz shows up.

If I didn’t know it was a queer book Simon’s obsession with Baz would have clued me in. It seemed innocent at first but it steadily got obvious just as the story started to get better because Baz made his appearance. The dynamic between Simon and Baz is one of the most entertaining things about this book, I learned more about this magical world through their interactions than the “recap” I had slog through in the first few chapters. It might sound like I prefer Baz to Simon, which is not true but the slow and rough start told through Simon’s eyes did not help. He also annoyed me at times, for example when you get a message from the the other side you tell it!

Besides that I enjoyed a lot of the characters, Penny among them of course, even Agatha and the mage. I even came to like the weird way the spells are constructed but the cute romantic scenes between Basilton and Simon made a huge difference in my experience of this book. It’s full of banter and a ton of double entendra, a whole that needs to be field? Seriously? maybe it’s my filthy mind reading into things but they are there.

If you grew up reading and/or watching Harry Potter you might inadvertently compare this book to Rowling’s series. I did that at the beginning but it was more to make sense of Simon Snow’s world in comparison to something similar that I know. I wouldn’t call the series a Harry Potter Fan fiction because I shed that idea from my mind once I got familiar enough with Simon’s world. However I’ll admit that there’s a bunch of similarities and yet I don’t think they’re the same. Nevertheless an easy way to describe this book would be “Harry Potter but a lot gayer, without queerbating or subtle homophobia” or “What if Harry dated Drago?”

Since I got book two and three as well before reading the first I’ll be read the rest but I probably won’t rush.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Carry On is available on The Book Depository, Amazon, Audible and other book retailers near you.

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