Once again Rainbow Rowell has pulled through and written one of my favourite novels. Carry On is a book based off a fanfiction written in another book that is based off a series that is based off Harry Potter? Kind of. Sort of. It’s hard to explain. But regardless of the controversy that surrounded this one, I couldn’t help but absolutely adore this novel.
This book is by far one of the most magical, cute, funny and heartfelt novels I have ever read, and definitely one of my favourite books of 2015.
When Simon Snow returns to his eighth year Watford, a school for magical school, he becomes suspicious that his archnemesis/roommate did not show up for term. With tensions running high, Simon can’t help but think that Baz is planning something.
When Baz finally returns, things begin to change. Instead of hating Baz, Simon is concerned. And instead of wanting to kill Simon, Baz wants to kiss him. As the world around them begins to crumble, Simon and Baz realise that they probably work better as a team than as enemies.
Officially, Carry On is described as “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” (x) and I can’t help but think that its a perfect description.
There is a lot of kissing. And it’s flipping adorable.
I loved the multi-POV in this novel! Often it’s nearly impossible in YA to distinguish between different perspectives, but even with relatively basic writing Rainbow Rowell made the transition between characters seemless. I didn’t have any difficulty remembering whose chapter I was reading and was able to pick up mid-chapter and continue with no worries.
I thought the magic system in this one was very original, and while it probably wasn’t always functional (heck, they used nursery rhymes to cast spells) I did think it worked well for the feel of the story, and it often made me laugh out loud which I always appreciate!
There was such a large cast of characters in this one. There were definitely more characters than in Rainbow’s other stories, but there was such depth to all her characters that did not go missing on me. I love her ability to create an in-depth backstory for each character, no matter how important. I really appreciate rich characters and I definitely admire Rainbow’s ability to do so.
My favourite thing about this novel however, is obviously the romance. Rainbow Rowell is the Queen of YA contemporary fiction in my mind, but even though Carry On is her first ‘fantasy’ novel it did read like a contemporary novel to me. Which is by no means a bad thing. I absolutely adored the romance in this one. Any books with an unrequited love story give me all the good mushy feelings, and this one did not disappoint!
My only real complaint about this book was the lack of Baz in the beginning. Baz grew to be one of my favourite characters I read about in all of 2015, and it was such a shame that it took the amount of time it did for his character to be introduced properly! I would have loved reading more about him, but what can you do.
In the end I truly loved Carry On, perhaps more than Fangirl which inspired it. Rainbow Rowell played with fantasy tropes really well but was also seriously able to make me laugh out loud at times. It’s not often that all these things happen while reading a single book.
Definitely recommend reading this one, and if you’re hesitant, just dive into it and hope for the best!
“Just when you think you’re having a scene without Simon, he drops in to remind you that everyone else is a supporting character in his catastrophe.”