Publication Date: 6 October 2015
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
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.
I really liked reading Carry On. Once I got through the first 150 pages that were a little slow, I found it to be such an enjoyable read.
“You were the sun, and I was crashing into you.”
Carry On is about a wizard named Simon who is the chosen one and must defeat an evil monster called the Humdrum. He also has a brooding and condescending roommate named Baz who is missing from their final year at the Watford School of Magicks.
I think the content and characters were better than the plot. I did not care so much about Simon defeating the Humdrum because I’m more of a fan of romance than fantasy, and I kept wanting Simon and Baz to have a scene. Nonetheless, the fantasy elements were entertaining and easy to follow.
Does the premise remind you of anything? The Harry Potter references are glaringly obvious. Even if you haven’t read Harry Potter, you will still understand the references. It took me a while to come to a decision about whether I enjoyed them or not, and I still don’t really know. On the one hand, they were funny and help the reader picture the setting more clearly. On the other hand, they were ridiculous and distracted me from the plot. I liked that Rowell was parodying the whole chosen one trope, and hopefully that is obvious to other readers.
Along with the Harry Potter references, I also noticed a Twilight reference. I haven’t seen anyone else write about this, but I know I can’t be the only one to think that a particular scene was influenced by Twilight. This is the scene:
“I know what you are,” I snarled.
His eyes locked onto mine. “Your roommate?”
I shook my head and squeezed the hilt of my sword.
Baz stepped into my reach. “Tell me,” he spat.
“Tell me, Snow.” He stepped even closer. “What am I?”
I growled again and raised the blade an inch. “Vampire!”
So this is clearly a parody of Twilight. Am I seriously the only one to have noticed this?! Probably not. But anyway, I think that the main plot with Simon and the Humdrum and the overall setting is supposed to be Harry Potter, and the romance plot is supposed to be Twilight. Overall, I thought these aspects were just really cool. It was not like anything I have ever read before.
My absolute favourite part about Carry On was the romance between Simon and Baz. It followed the trope of hate to love, which I love. In the beginning, the readers do not know where Baz is, which really made me want to find out where he was and have him interact with Simon. I think this was a good plot device, but it did go on for perhaps too long (about 150 pages). Simon and Baz were such a great couple.
Both Simon and Baz were great characters. I think I preferred Baz, even though he was a dickhead. I liked Penny, but thought Agatha was a bit annoying at times.
The conclusion to the story was quite strange; I didn’t really understand it. My stupid romance brain couldn’t picture it in my mind, but I never can with fantasy/adventure books. I also predicted the plot twist because I could sense the hints fairly early on. It made me wonder whether authors should hint at these things or not, but it does give the reader the satisfaction that they guessed the plot twist.
The main reason why I didn’t give it anything higher than 3 stars is because of the writing. I don’t like to criticise an author’s writing very often, but this writing was pretty average. I couldn’t connect fully with the world because of how the story flowed in a very jumbled way. Because of the references to Harry Potter, I also couldn’t help but imagine I was reading FanFiction. And if you’ve ever read FanFiction, you know that you don’t read it for the quality of the writing. You read it more for the entertainment and scenes that most authors wouldn’t deem good enough for their books.
Lastly, this novel is briefly mentioned in the other novel by Rowell called Fangirl. You do not need to read Fangirl to read Carry On. I read Fangirl about two years ago and skipped over all of the FanFiction about the (fictional) book Carry On is based on, so I didn’t even remember much about it. Although, it did help me understand what Cath in Fangirl was so excited about.
I have rated Carry On by Rainbow Rowell 3 stars. While I have not rated it highly, I still think it is an extremely entertaining read. I would recommend it to fans of fantasy, FanFiction, m/m romance and Harry Potter.
- Have you read Carry On by Rainbow Rowell? If not, do you want to?