December 20, 2015

Book Review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

December 20, 2015

Carry On
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publication Date: October 6, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Genre: YA (Contemporary) Fantasy
Page Length: 522 pages
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.

The more I think about this book, the more I love it.  When I first finished Rainbow Rowell's Carry On, I felt pretty neutral about it.  I definitely liked Rowell's story, but I didn't have any strong feelings or praise to tell prospective readers.  Now, there's lots to tell!

Although Carry On may seem like a piece of Harry Potter fan fiction (at first), there's something unique about what Rowell has created.  Yes, this is a story about wizards in modern society, but I believe Rowell has gone ahead and created a whole new genre, a blend of her expertise, YA Contemporary and my other love, YA Fantasy, to create something totally new and totally "Rainbow Rowell" -- YA (Contemporary) Fantasy.

Carry On is what you get when you take Rowell's classic cute contemporary romance and shake it up in the modern world.

The ("Magickal") Storyline:

I wasn't too impressed with the storyline.  For a considerable chunk of the beginning of the book, I was quite honestly -- bored.  These first chapters were simply dedicated to world building and filling in the holes for readers.  However, once Tyrannus Basilton "Baz" Grimm-Pitch is introduced to the story, the enjoyment level of the book multiplies tenfold.  So if you're turned off by the beginning of Carry On, I plead you to continue on!  Many exciting scenes are ahead, so weary readers, tread on.

It took me awhile to get into the book and be familiarized with Simon and Baz's "magickal" world.  At first, I couldn't help but draw judgement between Harry Potter and Carry On, but eventually these judgements ceased and I began to think of Carry On as an entirely new entity.  For example, a humorous difference: the wacky, zany, (a bit silly) spells in Carry On -- a definite plus.  It may sound ridiculous, but in the context of the story, they actually make sense.

I speak clearly: "Twinkle, twinkle little star!"

By the time I get to the end of the next phrase, the room around us is gone, and the stars feel close enough to touch.

"Up above the world so high!"

Even if you disliked Cath's Simon Snow fan fiction excerpts in Fangirl, you should still give Carry On a read.  Carry On is like nothing you would've expected.

Simon & Baz:

Yup.  Simon Snow and Tyrannus Basilton "Baz" Grimm-Pitch were the absolute BEST aspects of the story.  Simon Snow is often related to Harry Potter, but unlike Harry, Simon is "the worst chosen one who's ever been chosen."  Simon has an unbelievable well of "magickal" powers, but he can't control himself and often destroys things.  Simon's fun and slightly quirky personality set him apart from Harry.

Baz, who's often related to Draco Malfoy, is NOTHING like his less likable counterpart.  I love Baz.  He's the dark, brooding character with misunderstood intentions, and he's what made the story for me.

Together, Simon and Baz are extraordinary.  Even with contrasting personalities, they are a perfect pairing -- like no relationship I've ever read.  Every shared scene made me smile.  The cuteness is on another level.

A Few Quotes:

“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.” 

“Magic separates us from the world; may nothing separate us from each other.”

"That's it.  I'm going to have to spell this imbecile away from me.  My last deed will be to save Simon Snow's life, and my whole family will be ashamed."

So what are you waiting for?  Read the book!

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Julia Anne

I'm a teen with a refined taste for good books and great writing, currently living in Honolulu, HI. I'm a reader. A dreamer. And an aspirant writer. One day I have hopes to travel the world, but for now, I'll settle with venturing through the written works I read.


  1. I can't wait to read this book, soon! It will be the first I pick up next time I go to the bookstore. There's something so unique about the story! Great review, Julia Anne!

    1. Yes, I really liked this one! Hope you do too. :-) I look forward to hearing what you think!

  2. I can't believe I still haven't read this!! I preordered it and everything! >.< It's on my MUST-READ-NO-MATTER-WHAT in 2016 list. :)


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