Book Review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

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The author’s note mentions that this book is inspired by all the Chosen One stories she has read but we all can guess from page one that this is based on Harry Potter. This is also definitely an ode to all the shippers of Drarry in the fandom.

Simon is the greatest mage the magickal world has ever known but he doesn’t know what to do with all the power. He is a flawed Chosen One, a very directionless teenage boy upon whom a huge responsibility has been thrust. He fights evil only because everyone expects him to and just hopes that he will have a secure future with the beautiful Agatha after the whole war is done. Baz is the heir to one of the oldest and powerful families and behaves as such – being all snobby and rude but he is hiding a lot of feelings and a terrible truth behind that rough exterior. Penny is a great friend who just wants the best for Simon and whose organizational skills just made me feel inferior. Agatha is a simple girl who wants to lead a quiet life without any adventures.

This is a fantasy novel but there isn’t much world building. We get to know a little about the school and the magickal system but how/why the evil guy is evil is never truly explained. The way the spells work is vague but also hilarious. I loved the idea of a spell’s power being dependent on the usage and frequency and sometimes, even the metaphorical meaning behind the words. The story also occurs during Simon’s final year at Watford, so we only get to know about his past adventures and his eternal enmity with Baz in passing.

The strength of this book is definitely the relationship between Simon and Baz. The story doesn’t even get interesting until Baz actually shows up after a quarter. They hate each other, want to kill the other, keep bickering all the time, always look for where the other is in the room and feel very very restless when the other is nowhere to be found – you can see where this is going – you can actually feel all the UST flowing through the pages. I shipped them hard even before Baz showed up and then it was absolute fun watching them get together. Baz’s superior magickal skills and steadfastness are well complemented by Simon’s (sometimes) cluelessness and conviction to just do good.

There are a lot of POV’s and many side characters here but we can see how difficult it is to actually flesh out so many of them. That’s one reason why, though I liked a lot of characters like Penny, Fiona, Ebb etc, I couldn’t really care a lot about any of them and none of the bad things that happened towards the end actually affected me. The climax is also very rushed and I couldn’t wrap my head around why the evil got created and what Simon was really supposed to vanquish.

You might be wondering now why I gave this book 4 stars when I’ve mostly just discussed all it’s negatives. But I really did have a lot of fun reading this one. I’m a huge fan of fanfiction and I can’t describe how much my life changed after discovering AO3 and tumblr. So, I went into this book expecting a slash tribute to my favorite literary characters and I got just that. The plot is obviously a lot different from HP but I was so entertained trying to figure out which character from this book corresponds to characters from the Potterverse. The writing is also very funny and the dynamic between Simon and Baz is precious. I totally loved going on this adventure to Watford with them.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

22 thoughts on “Book Review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

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    1. This is definitely a lot of fun… especially if u treat it like a fanfic… 😊😊😊 I’m sure that’ll be easier for u since u read Fangirl first !!!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I read this first and loved it… then I got to Fangirl and wasn’t that much in love with it though 😊😊
      I hope u love Carry On too !!!!

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  1. I have heard so many good things about this book! I didn’t know it was a fanwork and I didn’t know it was a fanwork created by the main character of Fangirl! and that is the sole reason why I want to read it haha I think that sometimes we just want to have fun and enjoy a light reading and fanworks are just for that! so I do understand why the 4 starts haha

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    1. I actually read this first and then Fangirl… so it was fun reading the short snippets of this book in Fangirl… and I totally agree, this was light fun entertaining to read… and the characterization of the two main MCs is awesome… as long you love them, you will enjoy the book 😊😊😊

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      1. Haha I bet it is fun! I am so dying to get it but most likely I will get them until next year haha I love crossovers and even though this is not exactly that, I bet it is all exciting!! Haha

        Liked by 1 person

  2. You read my mind with this one. I looooved Simon and Baz’s relationship (it was hilariously cute) but otherwise, I was quite miffed by the lack of world-building or fleshing out of side characters. It just felt so muddled and rushed, and I wish the author had taken the plot aspect a bit more seriously or taken more time to do that. Hmm. But I agree with you, the main characters are most definitely the strength of the book! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nice to see someone else who thought the same… I guess the author just expanded on the story of Simon and Baz after Fangirl and just wove some story around them… it wouldn’t have worked if it wasn’t for their hilarious banter and will they/won’t they aspect 😊😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, that’s exactly what it felt like. The book was entirely written for readers to fangirl about Simon and Baz (which it did a great job I will admit haha), but the plot was half-baked. But I did fangirl pretty hard, so… 😉

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