Friday, October 16, 2015

Book Review: Carry On (YA)


Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Goodreads Summary:
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.

Background:
I loved Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl, and I am obsessed with Harry Potter. I always love books with fictional books within them: A Wedding in December and The Fault in Our Stars are two books that come to mind. I always want to read those books! In Fangirl, Cath's Simon Snow fan fiction is like reading Harry Potter only "Harry" (Simon) and "Draco" (Baz) fall in love. It makes sense. And I really wanted more of that story. Carry On is that story, and I couldn't wait to read it. It took me over a week to read this book, and that kind of killed me. I had a lot going on with NerdCon, but I really just wanted to be reading this book. All. The. Time. Anyway...

My Review:
I don't read a lot of fantasy, other than Harry Potter. Maybe because I love Harry Potter so much. It's kind of hard to top J.K. Rowling. And other books that are too similar seem to be trying to hard. But the great thing about Carry On is that it's kind of supposed to be Harry Potter fan fiction in a way because of it's origins in Fangirl. And that made the similarities OK.

And there are a lot of similarities. Simon Snow is prophesied as The Chosen One, he goes to a boarding school to learn magic, he has a brainiac best girl friend, he has a sworn enemy, there is an evil character he must fight in the end, and he even has an adult friend who loves animals.

But there are also a lot of differences. The World of the Mages is not set apart from the Normal world as much as the Magical world of Harry Potter is separated from the Muggle world. The adults in this story all have real jobs, but also happen to do magic. Everyone has cell phones and talks about pop culture. And the spells are spoken in everyday English. British English. But still English.

I loved how Rainbow Rowell was able to create this fantasy world within our real world. And as always in her books, the characters were amazing.

The story is told in first person in chapters with alternating narrators: Simon, Baz, Penelope, Agatha, The Mage, etc. I loved getting inside their heads. It added so much more depth to the story of The Chosen One. Even the minor characters have complex motivations and back story.

I'll be honest. I was a little worried about the gay romance. But I loved it! Reading Baz's thoughts about Simon. And about Simon questioning his sexuality and giving into his desires. It was all so good. I love a good unrequited love story, and Rainbow Rowell does love so well.

There is so much more I could say, but I don't want to give anything away.

I know this is a book I'll read over and over again.

My Rating: 5 Stars
Understand my ratings.

4 comments:

  1. I loved Fangirl, too, but I'm not sure I'll be reading this one. I don't think I can take the "gay romance" aspect of the story, but I'm intrigued by the rest of it!

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  2. So is this supposed to be the fanfiction that Cath was writing or is it the Canon that her fanfiction was based on? I'm assuming given the romance, that it's Cath's story, right?

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    1. It's actually neither. But it's closer to Cath's story. There's an author's note at the end of the book, and Rainbow Rowell says she just couldn't let the characters go and wanted to see what she could do with their story. I'd say she did a good job. I loved it.

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