Title: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Release Date: October 2015
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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 deals with the characters from the fictional book series that Cath loved in Rainbow Rowel’s Fangirl. I was not a fan of Fangirl or of the inserted portions of Simon Snow. In fact I don’t think I’m a fan of Rainbow Rowell books. However as this is a fantasy book I felt that I should give it ago as a fantasy fan. It has left me feeling very mixed.
There are a lot of things I like about this book. For one thing, it did make me laugh in places and it did warm my heart with some lovely moments. Simon and Baz were great character perspectives to follow. Especially Baz who is quite frankly a special little snowflake. He created some wonderful dynamic. Penelope also certainly had her great moments.
Plot overall was also rather good once it got going. It was interesting to see it unfold in the world it is set up in. The enemy wasn’t quite who they were expecting, and I liked that twist. I did see it coming though, but that didn’t really take away from enjoyment.
However there were also some things that I disliked about this book. The start for instance dragged incredibly. Not a lot happens at the start. The first 100 pages or so I wondered if I was going to be able to finish this book. It got a lot better after that. Actually specifically after the introduction of Baz. Like I said earlier. He created some great dynamic.
Another point I have is that the world building is lacking. It is technically the eight book in the series. There is a lot of background on these characters plus a whole lot of world for us to discover. It banks a lot on us knowing the Harry Potter world and book set-up and the snippets of Fangirl which is a bit of a shame really. It took a long time for it to become clear what this Humdrum was doing to their world for instance. And there is still a lot of background that we don’t know or don’t know enough about for me to really have a grasp on this world.
Then there is the writing. Like in Eleanor and Park there are some chapters that jump between character perspectives in a scene. For instance there is a paragraph from Simon’s perspective, the one from Baz, then one from Simon, and so on. It jolts me out of the story in a horrible way. I like spending at least a chapter in a characters head when it is first person point of view. There were also chapters in other people’s first person point of views that I didn’t feel were necessary. And some chapters were very short. Like one was one sentence long from a character that wasn’t revealed who she really was and what her role was in the story until the end. Because of that I had no interest in her chapters.