Carry On is enjoyable and light urban fantasy with lovely M/M romance, Harry Potter vibe, and interesting combination of love story, ghost story, and mystery.
Carry On (Simon Snow #1) by Rainbow Rowell
Publication Date : May 9, 2017 (first published October 6, 2015)
Publisher : Wednesday Books
Read Date : May 15, 2022
Gernre : YA Urban fantasy / LGBTQ
Pages : 522
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.
Carry on is interesting combination of love story, ghost story, and mystery
Carry On is revolves around Simon Snow who is chosen to save the Magick world from an enemy who is sucking magic from the world. The story is about friendship, ghost story, revolution, obsession, revenge, and love.
Writing is witty, entertaining, and fast paced with multiple narratives from the perspectives of Baz, Penelope, Agatha, and mainly Simon. There is also an intermittent ghost perspective that made the story more interesting. This is based on ‘Fangirl’ book’s main character’s fanfiction series. I haven’t read it yet but I think not knowing anything about this world and characters before added more mystery and intrigue to story and kept me wanting to know characters and world more.
That synopsis is perfect. I enjoyed the beginning with the introduction of characters and Watford School of Magicks with Harry Potter vibe. The setting or the idea is similar but that’s where the similarity ends. This is a lot different than Harry Potter with weird and amusing magical phrases and this is on the lighter side. Characters are the charm of the book. They literally keep the plot going and main characters grow on you as the story progresses.
I liked main characters. Some secondary characters didn’t add much to story (I’m looking at Agatha) but some gave interesting pieces of world and helped in knowing Magick world better. My most favorite secondary character is Penelope, Simon’s best friend. She is everything I would want in a friend. She is unapologetic, smart, kickass, loyal, confident, and tenacious. I liked her for staying by Simon’s side in all conditions and even went against her parents’ wish.
Simon is interesting but he is not my favorite. His brain is stuck in self-pity and if not there then in thinking about what his roommate, Baz, is plotting. In a way, I get why he is thinking like that. It was sad he was raised among normals in care homes and was whisked to the world of mage without knowing anything about it. There was no one to guide him since he was a kid and The Mage who brought him in the world gave him less attention. He is the most powerful mage the Magick world ever had but he cannot control his magic. His wand wouldn’t work right and he relies more on his sword. He is also too trusting and doesn’t get the politics as Baz and Penelope do. Often I agreed with Baz, “He is the worst Chosen One who’s ever been chosen“. But I liked him. He is funny, caring, loyal, and selfless. He cared for the magic world and the people around him. He is bisexual but he didn’t know about it until second half of the book.
Can you guess my favorite character? Of course, Baz! Who doesn’t like vampires and who is also handsome, cocky, sexy, smart, and aristocratic! His character art on cover is perfect. I have always liked misunderstood bad boys who are actually nice and has vulnerable side that they keep perfectly hidden and Baz is exactly that. I’m usually not fan of guy acting jerk just because he can’t express his feelings right but with Baz, it didn’t irritate me, in fact, I could understand his reasons for acting jerk, starting a feud, and choosing to be nemesis than lover in the beginning but his feelings are clear from the beginning.
I felt for him reading how his mother died, how his father and aunt totally ignored the fact he is a vampire, and how much his mother’s death is affecting him. Even he had a tough time accepting he is vampire. I can’t imagine how he survived knowing less about vampires and keeping that big part of himself secret from the world that cast all vampires out of magical world.
The world is interesting and different from all magical world I have read so far. I liked how magic worked for the mages and how anyone who aren’t from the line of mages could have it or be born with it, making magic like an atmosphere, tied to the places, and how normal people are important to Magick world. It was amusing how they created spells with phrases, songs, and rhymes. More famous words among normals and in the world, stronger the spell. I loved that part but the world isn’t that developed. I kept feeling there is something missing with the world.
Apart from the characters, best part of the book is ghost story and romance. I’m definitely jumping on the ship of SNOWBAZ. I loved how their relationship changed from ready to cut each other’s throat nemesis tolovers who can’t get enough of each other. It’s cuddly romance. I loved how they understand each other and stayed by each other’s side even after the big revelation.
The mystery of who is humdrum, how he came into existence and how Simon is so powerful, the secrets of the Mage, and what villain is planning is all another best part of the book. All twists and turns are well written. Some I could see coming while some are surprising. Climax is action packed. Everything happens too fast from this point. Lot of things are revealed here and I liked that last battle but end somehow felt dull as characters didn’t talk about what they discovered and they didn’t react to all revelations as I was expecting. I’m hoping there is more next book of the series.
Why 3.5 stars-
The beginning is great but we are plunged into the world with almost no information. World is revealed bits by bits and it sure makes story interesting but at the same time it gives the feeling of nothing is happening for long time. Story actually picks up pace and becomes more interesting once they start working on who is responsible for Baz’s mother’s death that is around page 150.
I still don’t get why Simon was with Agatha. She didn’t add much to story and she is coward. She literally turned away when Simon was in trouble and she even refuse to help him on their face. What kind of girlfriend and friend acts like that! I know she doesn’t like magic or being in world of magic that is full of danger so why she was trying to hit on Baz! And when Simon started being friendly with Baz she had problem because Baz is dangerous! It doesn’t make sense. It also makes baseless love triangle.
Like I said plot and world isn’t that strong. And I didn’t like the end or the way it ended without any reactions or discussion from characters.
One last thing Simon’s change in behavior towards Baz and feelings felt too sudden. One minute he hated Baz, didn’t trust him and next he is kissing him and after that he is so much into Baz. I don’t get when he realised he liked Baz in that way or when exactly he realised he is bisexual.
I can see why fans of author didn’t like this as much but I’ll still Carry On reading this series.
Overall, Carry On is enjoyable, fun, entertaining and light urban fantasy with lovely M/M romance and Harry Potter vibe but it isn’t as good as I expected.
I recommend this if you like,
Chosen one trope
Harry Potter vibe and yet different
Magical school setting (almost similar to Harry Potter)
Unconventional magic system
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