Friday, November 6, 2015

Carry On

by Rainbow Rowell

Summary from GoodReads

Rainbow Rowell continues to break boundaries with Carry On, an epic fantasy following the triumphs and heartaches of Simon and Baz from her beloved bestseller Fangirl.

Simon Snow just wants to relax and savor his last year at the Watford School of Magicks, but no one will let him. His girlfriend broke up with him, his best friend is a pest, and his mentor keeps trying to hide him away in the mountains where maybe he’ll be safe. Simon can’t even enjoy the fact that his roommate and longtime nemesis is missing, because he can’t stop worrying about the evil git. Plus there are ghosts. And vampires. And actual evil things trying to shut Simon down. When you’re the most powerful magician the world has ever known, you never get to relax and savor anything.

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.

Thoughts on the Book

I loved FanGirl, so when I heard Rowell was actually going to write Carry On I couldn't wait for it.  I was so intrigued by Simon Snow within FanGirl, as well as Baz.  Only getting glimpses into that world was such a tease.

My Review

This book is about Simon Snow entering his final year at Watford.  After being apart from everyone for an entire summer Simon didn't quite know what to expect coming back to Watford.  The past year ended on shaky ground with his girlfriend, his best friend had been abducted along with him and he didn't know how she was before her parents whisked her away and he was put into Normal seclusion.  Then there was his roommate, Baz, who constantly plots to kill him and who is missing.

Can Rowell write the full Simon Snow series?  Pleeeeeeease.  Or Simon Snow series from Baz's point of view, I'd love to see how fifth year was for him, so much angst and torn feelings, it would be amazing! 

When I started reading this book I was kind of hoping for a satire of Harry Potter, since in FanGirl Simon Snow was the Harry Potter equivalent.  I wasn't expecting (stupidly - how many Rowell books have I read now? Sheesh.) such an amazing completely unique story.  The only Harry Potter similarities were that at the age of 11 Harry/Simon was informed they had magic(k)al abilities and were sent to a boarding school where they befriended the smartest girl in school and the animal caretaker and became enemies with a powerful dark boy from a long line of powerful and dark magic(k)al family.  They also were prophesied to bring about the downfall of a major threat to the magickal/wizarding world.  Other than that totally different.

For my character assessment:  Simon was pretty great.  He was smart and honest and when he set out to solve something he followed through, doing his due diligence in research and planning.  Simon was a little to Mage obsessed at first (that mustache?  Just picturing it - gross! Why would Simon ever want it? Thank Crowley he can't grow facial hair!) but fortunately he got over it, or at least toned it down a lot.  Simon was also a little too obsessed with Baz and what he was doing, in a paranoid sense.  According to Simon everything Baz did had the ulterior motive of killing him.

Penny I found to be a little annoying, she just decides who she wants to be friends with (she could have no more than 5 people that she cared about, and that was encroaching on too many) and she was obsessed with lists.  I loved when she got so excited about finding information for Simon and Baz, only to find out they had solved the larger part of the puzzle and were about ten steps farther than her.  I also really enjoyed that it wasn't her that solved the Humdrum mystery. 

Agatha was very blah.  She hated herself, she wanted nothing to do with the Magickal world and just wanted to be Normal.  I don't get it.  I get not liking being looked down on for wanting Normal friends and not being allowed to marry a Normal, but to turn against everything you are?  Then all she wanted to do was run away since that will solve all of life's problems.  I did like how Agatha really tried to shut Penny out, but unfortunately she was one of Penny's 5 people and therefore Penny pestered her to the point of it was easier to just put up with her than to try to cut her out.

Then there was Baz.  Tyrannus Basilton Grimm-Pitch.  I freaking loved him.  The second he showed up he became my favorite character.  Then there were the chapters from his point of view, and I loved him even more.  And like I said, I just want Simon Snow and the Five Blades from Baz's point of view.  Baz was such a deep complex character, and once you found out his biggest secret it just all made sense.  I love at the end, if I remember correctly it was the last line of Penny's last chapter, when Penny was, essentially, like "Ooooooooooooooooooh, that explains so much." As a bad guy Baz was awesome, he looked and acted the part perfectly.  As a good guy, Baz was awesome, so smart and strong and helpful.

As for the story, it was great!  The world was a little silly, or at least the spells were silly.  Clever, but silly.  You can't touch this only works if the person the barrier is against knows the song, that totally made me laugh out loud (luckily I was just home with the animals and I'm used to them giving me weird looks).  But the Insidious Humdrum, clever name for what it was, and I loved the resolution of it.  It made perfect sense, and fit perfectly into when the dead spots formed and why Simon is only ever attacked at school.  I also loved how Baz's story fit into the main story line with the Humdrum and Simon's past.  I love how the prophecies fit into everything too. 

The Lucy chapters were a little bit odd, they were like an aside to the reader and it didn't affect the characters or the story at all.  It almost would have been better as a post series prequel.  It actually would have been much better as that because we still don't know what happened to her how is she what she is?  Her story arc left a lot of unanswered questions.

The other part of the book that didn't sit quite right with me was after Simon and Baz's trip to London.  Explaining this without being spoiler-y gets a bit difficult...but, I'll say it would make more sense if it had been Baz.  Simon was just out of the blue with no explanation.  Even afterwards when Baz was trying to get an explanation Simon didn't have one.  But despite that I was still fangirling (pun intended ;-) ) pretty hard at that point.

I give this a 10/10.  I loved every bit of it!  I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes a good YA fantasy read, or who likes Harry Potter regardless of if you've read Fangirl or not.  And, of course, I recommend it to everyone who has read FanGirl, but honestly, if you've read FanGirl and you haven't read this or even have it on your TBR what's wrong with you?  GET IT! READ IT!

1 comment:

  1. Glad you liked this!! I've been meaning to read it since it came out, but just haven't gotten to it yet. It sounds great... and confusing. I've been having a hard time figuring out WHAT the book actually is. Is it Fanfiction about Simon Snow, or is this one of the actual Simon Snow books?? Or is this Cath's fanfic (because hers was called Carry On)?? And why does it start in the middle of the series?? I guess some of my questions will probably be answered when I read the actual book!!