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.
Oh. My. God. This book. It has been so long since I actually read it since college absolutely consumed my life this semester, but this honestly has to be one of my favorite books ever. I just loved everything about it: the characters, the setting, the plot, everything. I’m not even exaggerating when I say it’s become one of my all-time favorite books!
So I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this, but Rainbow Rowell is definitely one of my all-time favorite authors. She is so good at writing relatable characters and entirely believable romance, and I just completely love her writing style. I read “Fangirl back when it came out, and I have to say that I don’t think I have ever related to a main character more than I did with the protagonist of this book. And when I heard that Rainbow Rowell was writing a book based on the characters that Cath wrote about in “Fangirl” I literally screamed. And then when it came out I started reading as soon as the pre-order came in and stayed up until past one in the morning reading it on multiple consecutive nights. I was that obsessed. And in all honesty, I’m pretty sure I still am. This book is hilarious, emotional, well-written, and pretty much everything you could want from a book.
WARNING! SPOILERS FOR “CARRY ON” BEYOND THIS POINT!
Let’s start off by talking about the whole premise of this book. I feel like this book was very much written for people who grew up reading “Harry Potter”, because it takes so many aspects of that series and completely reconstructs them. Now that’s not to say that this book is a knock-off of “Harry Potter” because it absolutely is not, (the characters and setting and stuff are pretty much unique to this universe), but you can definitely see some parallels.
So now let’s talk about the magic system within this world, because I honestly thought it was the coolest thing. I was a little apprehensive of the whole using common phrases as magic spell things at first after reading the fanfic excerpts in “Fangirl”, but once it was explained it was literally the coolest thing. Like this magic system seriously pleases the English major part of my mind that hasn’t been completely desensitized by academics. There’s the whole thing about how the effect of different spells changes as language changes, and that the effect depends on how familiar someone is with the phrase, and that there are different spells within different languages, and I just loved how the whole thing worked!
And then there’s the characters, one of the coolest parts of this book is that it’s told from the point of view of literally almost everyone. POV switches can be hard to follow sometimes, but this book honestly does them so well. You get to hear from so many perspectives, and it was a really amazing way to tell the story.
Anyway, the characters in this book were honestly one of the best parts. For one, I just have to say that Penelope is my queen. She was so unapologetically individual, and she cared so much about her friends, and I loved how her relationship with Simon ran really deep but it was still 100% platonic, she was just all around an amazing character. And all of the other characters were so done as well! Some did frustrate me at times, and one did infuriate me at a few certain points (AKA. THE BLEEPING MAGE), but everyone was so well written and well developed, it was absolutely wonderful. (Special mention goes to Aunt Fiona, because she was so wonderfully snarky and I could read so much more about her.)
Ok, now that I’ve talked about all of that, let’s focus on the best part of this book…
SNOWBAZ SNOWBAZ OH MY GOD OH GOD OH GOD NEW OTP I CAN’T SNOWBAZ FOR LIFE
Okay but in all seriousness, the relationship between Simon and Baz has to be one of the best written romantic relationships I have ever read in my life. Like honestly, we have a bit of a slow burn at the beginning, and it develops so well through the first half of the book, and then there’s the whole scene with the trees and the fire and then SIMON KISSED HIM FIRST and everything was just so perfect and amazing and I can’t even form coherent words about it, I loved it so much. I was literally fangirling all over my apartment at school. I am complete trash for the “enemies to friends to lovers” dynamic, as well as the whole “person A has secretly been pining for person B for years” thing, so you can imagine how invested I was with this entire relationship! Plus both characters were so well developed on their own, I honestly want all eight books in this series, just so I can see more of these two and their developing romance, because I bleeping loved it so much.
The ending was so well done too. There were sad elements that entirely ripped out my soul, but then the epilogue happened and almost everything was happy, and Simon and Baz were together, and it treated their response to everything that happened to them realistically, and it was
I honestly would die to have another book about what happens to the characters after this one. Like does Simon ever get his magic back, because it was so important to him and I would love to see that happen. You know, I would read a whole series on just on Snowbaz’s domestic life together. And I would love every second of it, because I just entirely adore these characters and their love. It has honestly just become one of my favorite things ever.
I should probably stop myself here, because otherwise I could probably go on forever about the glorious thing that is “Carry On”. In all seriousness, this book is kind of hard to describe, but it is definitely one of my all-time favorite books. I have been relentlessly pushing this book on all of my friends, I don’t think I’ve shut up about it since I read it back in October, and I am probably annoying everyone around me with my obsession, but it is honestly amazing. Ten out of ten, would recommend to absolutely everyone.
Well that’s about it for now! See you next time and thanks for reading!