Review | Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Carry OnTitle: Carry On
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Release Date:
October 6th, 2015
St. Martin’s Griffin
YA, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 522 (Hardcover)

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 sets 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 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.

I really struggled to get into this book. There was so much hype and excitement and praise for this book that I couldn’t help having fairly high expectations. I must say, I was quite disappointed. I found the first half of this book to be really slow and, if it was any other book, I might have DNF’d it. It definitely wasn’t all bad, though! I actually really enjoyed the second half.

I think the main redeeming factor of this book for me was Baz. I had a hard time liking most of the characters, but I loved reading about Baz. Most of the time, I got bored reading Simon’s chapters. I’m not sure why I didn’t like Simon, I just didn’t – maybe he was too dull? I found Penelope a bit annoying, and Agatha was just exhausting. So yeah, the only really good character for me was Baz. It’s probably to do with the fact that I love sarcastic characters, and Baz was exactly that. He was delightfully passive-aggressive, yet up front, and just overall really fun and interesting to read about. I must admit to getting excited when the next chapter was from his POV.

Now, with the story itself, I had a hard time getting on board. When I was reading Fangirl, I thought that Simon Snow was in place of Harry Potter, until it was revealed that Harry Potter also existed along side. I hate to say it, but Carry On felt a bit like a tacky version of Harry Potter. At least to begin with. The magic system was pretty average, and then the whole ‘magic school’, well I don’t need to explain that, do I? I will say, though, that once I got further into the book, I did begin to appreciate this world as it was, instead of comparing it all the time. I came to understand why they used the magic words that they did, and it is quite cool. I think if I were to read this book again, I would definitely appreciate it more.

I wasn’t really a fan of the climax of the story. It didn’t make a whole lot of sense, to be honest. I won’t say too much because of spoilers, but it seemed a bit forced. I did like some of the stuff leading up to it, though, like the chapters from Lucy’s POV.

By far, my favourite aspect was the romance – I still think Rainbow Rowell does romance really really well. I loved seeing Simon and Baz’s relationship develop in the second half of the book, though it did feel a little rushed. However, because this book is set in their eighth year at Watford, and they’ve known each other that whole time (and we were given a few little insights into some of the time), I’ll let that slide. But, yeah, I got a lot of warm fuzzies reading about these two.

I’m not saying this is a bad book – I would have given it a much lower rating if I thought that – I just think that fantasy isn’t Rowell’s strongest suit. I do think this book is an interesting take on the long fantasy series – by just cutting to the end of the overarching story, we get to see the characters as who they’ve become, without having any past bias. Overall, I loved the relationship between Baz and Simon, and how these characters developed through the book. However, I didn’t enjoy everything else nearly as much.

I’m sure most have you have heard of this book, so I’m not saying don’t read it, but maybe don’t have such high expectations. I went in with quite high expectations because of all the praise I had seen and I was disappointed. If you approach it with more realistic expectations, you may enjoy it more than I did. Who knows, maybe you’ll absolutely love it and disagree with all my criticisms >.<

If you’ve already read Carry On, what did you think of it? Did it match up with your expectations?

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8 thoughts on “Review | Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

  1. SciFi and Scary December 5, 2015 / 4:52 PM

    Hmm, its nice to see a non-“OMG THIS WAS AWESOME” review of this book. Gives me both views. Thanks


  2. SarahClare December 6, 2015 / 2:02 AM

    I’m currently reading this book and I’m feeling pretty much the same about it. I really like the writing, but I’m struggling to get passed the fact that it’s like a HP mirror.. Great post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fafa's Book Corner December 15, 2015 / 11:59 AM

    I am happy to see that you enjoyed this! And yeah I did some research on Simon Snow a few months back and I thought that it was Rowell’s own version of Harry Potter. I didn’t know until now that Harry Potter existed in her books. Have you read Eleanor and Park? I’ve heard that one is much better than her other books.

    Great review 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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