Review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

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“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 acomplete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts 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 – The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow is a ghost story, a love story and a mystery. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story – but far, far more monsters.”


I wanted to start by saying this was supposed to be my Hype or Like Friday post, but I unfortunately didn’t finish the book in time. I’m sorry! It’s here now, so better late than never right? I wanted to make sure I gave credit to this lovely group on Goodreads because without their selection I never would have picked up this wonderful, wonderful book. This Friday meme is co-created by by Jill @ Rantandraveaboutbooks, Britt @ Geronimo Reads and Larkin @ Wonderfilled Reads.

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thoughts

I was hesitant to read Carry On. It sounded silly and just not something that was at the top of my TBR. People seem to be in love or hate camps for this book. When I started reading it, I thought that there was no way I was going to understand the love for this book. It was silly, outrageous and reminiscent of Harry Potter fan fiction. It was entertaining enough and I have a hard time not finishing books, so I carried on (Pun intended 🙂 ). And oh my goodness, am I glad I kept reading! I adored this book! Seriously, my heart felt happier after finishing this story and I have a feeling I will go back and re-read it when I’m feeling sad.

As you may already know, the story follows Simon Snow, a very powerful magician and The Chosen One. I know some people say the plot is Harry Potter fan fiction. I understand this point of view, to an extent. It seems like there are some intentional similarities: the chosen one, Watford the magical school, seven years of school, Simon’s group of friends. It’s also very silly. The spells are common phrases like “Cat got your tongue” and “Get well soon.” The names are also quite absurd- the main villain is the Insidious Humdrum. The thing is, I don’t think it’s meant to be taken that seriously. Once you read further into the book, it becomes it’s own unique and adorable story and in my opinion, loses the Harry Potter feel. The story is very much about Simon Snow and his magical adventure.

We start the book with Simon’s last year at Watford. He is a powerful mage, but he can’t control is magic and tends to ‘blow up’ and cause more damage than good. His roommate Baz, also happens to be his mortal enemy and they have been tormenting each other for years. As Simon returns to Watford for his final year, Baz is not there. Baz is the top of his class, so why isn’t he here? Doesn’t he still have to plot against Simon? Simon becomes obsessed with Baz’s disappearance, claiming he has to know what Baz is up to. When Baz finally does come into the story, their relationship takes a turn for the better, and not in a way Simon was initially expecting. I love love love watching the relationship develop between Simon and Baz. Guys, they were so cute and I seriously think they are my new OTP. I want to go back and re-read every scene with them because it just made my heart happy. Fangirling really hard over here.

“He’s not a monster. He’s just a villian. He’s not a villian. He’s just a boy. I’m kissing a boy. I’m kissing Baz. He’s so cold, and the world is so hot.” Page 343

The story continues with Simon at school working with his friend Penelope (and later Baz) to figure out who killed Baz’s mother, the previous headmistress of Watford, and learn more about the evil Humdrum. I won’t go too much into the plot, but know there is plenty of mystery, magic, vampires, dragons and ghosts to go around. 

Why did I love this book so much? It’s about magic and adventure, but it’s also a coming of age story. The title, “Carry On,” isn’t mentioned until the end, but it does have its significance. The characters each learn more about themselves and that it is okay to be yourself, as weird and different as that may be. Its about the relationships they formed, unexpected but fulfilling in every way. Simon learns that he doesn’t have to be defined by his magic, and Baz doesn’t have to be defined by his family or past. This story is about love and acceptance and it made me so insanely happy.

“But– I wanted to tell you that I’m going to carry on. As I am.” Page 500

I also really enjoyed all of the alternating points of view in the writing. Sometimes it was from our main characters: Simon, Baz, Penelope and Agatha, but was also from minor characters or characters we haven’t been introduce to yet, like Lucy. It added to the complexity and mystery of the book.

I highly recommend this book if you are looking for something to cheer you up. Simon and Baz have such an adorable relationship and I loved watching it develop over the course of the story. Yes, it’s silly and outrageous at times but for me, that really just added to the charm of the book. This book gets 5 stars from me. I feel like I’ve been giving a lot of 5 star reviews lately, but I can’t help it if I am loving every book I’m reading! I’ll just leave you with this one last quote 🙂

“What you are is a fucking tragedy, Simon Snow. You literally couldn’t be a bigger mess.”
He tries to kiss me, but I pull back- “And you like that?”
“I love it.” He says
“Why?”
“Because we match.”

5/5

Did you guys enjoy Carry On? Did you love Simon and Baz as much as I did? Tell me about it in the comments!

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15 thoughts on “Review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell”

  1. I think I seriously misjudged this book. Your review really makes me want to finish it. I marked it as DNF on Goodreads and so did a few others, but I think I’ll open this one back up. I think what annoyed me most in the beginning is all the narrative about the past and the Harry Potter references. I haven’t marked a book as DNF in months. I was really hesitant to do that with this one. I honestly think it’s because I’m up to my eyeballs in ARCs and didn’t have that much patience with my move and everything else. I really like your review, Alex! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I saw that a bunch of people had marked it DNF and I was hesitant to read it. I totally agree that the Harry Potter references were annoying at first and I was honestly thinking that there was no way I was going to love the book. But it really did become its own story and I realized it wasn’t meant to be taken that seriously in terms of the spells, names, etc. The plot was actually very well thought out too! And Simon and Baz 😍 those cuties were the highlight of the book. It was just so happy and I really enjoyed it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I didn’t realize it was supposed to be a joke because I didn’t read far enough into the book. I wasn’t sure what to make of it. I also didn’t realize Simon and Baz get together. I thought he liked that one girl friend of his. Or at least she seemed to like him. It sounds cute though. I’ve read so many mixed reviews lately.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review, Alex! I’m enjoying it so far too. But I think it helps as I knew going into it that it was Rowell’s version of a fictionalized version of Harry Potter fanfic (if that makes sense?). I think it’s pretty funny and you can totally tell that it’s almost making fun of itself which I appreciate. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a great review Alex, and I am so so glad you enjoyed this book as well. Carry On is a favourite of mine as well and it’s a book I pick up whenever I need something to cheer me up, or whenever I have nothing else on hand I feel like starting, or just whenever I want to re-read it basically! I love the relationship between Simon and Baz the best but also all the character individually were great especially Penny she was probably my favourite. It’s a cute story and yeah definitely parallels to Harry Potter but a fun read overall.
    Great review! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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