Here’s my review for the latest Rainbow Rowell book, Carry On.
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I’m very new to the whole Rainbow Rowell ship. Her work only came to my attention when I heard of Fangirl and, before Carry On, that was my only contact with her books. She is a very well acclaimed author though, with many (mainly) romance books out.
Let me start this review by saying that all the Simon Snow bits were my least favourites in Fangirl. So, why did I pick up this book? Well, I wasn’t really planning to. But the UK edition was a read now title on NetGalley and my curiosity got the best of me!
Simon Snow is a very popular teen wizard book series (does that sounds familiar?) in the world of Fangirl. Snow is the chosen one, the most powerful magician of all magicians. In his last year of school, things go really bad: his girlfriend breaks up with him, his mentor wants to hide him away and his roommate/nemesis is missing.
In Fangirl, Harry Potter exists so, “technically”, Simon Snow and HP are different things. But we all have eyes and we know SS is just another rewash/fanfiction about the most popular chosen magician on the world of literature. So it’s impossible to read this title and not constantly make comparisons. Because, honestly, things only make sense if you have some kind of knowledge of the HP universe and the characters dynamics and relationships. Don’t try to sell me this book as a separate thing because it’s not. The plot may be, but not the entire concept of Carry On.
The most disappointing thing about this book to me was how much it felt like the last book in a series I didn’t care enough to pick the first books but still wanted to read. Because that’s what this really is. The author does her best to set up the world and explain all the past events (the writing itself on this book isn’t actually bad) but it just comes out as info dropping and too much world setup. And she uses a lot of flashbacks, which is my current pet peeve in books. I want to experience things first hand, not being told about them, thank you very much.
I didn’t understand the dynamics between the protagonist and his enemy, Baz. They hate each other for no apparent reason (at least, it isn’t explained) and then all of a sudden all that obsession turns into love, making them become a couple?? What the hell? It made no sense. It’s not like they have enough reasons to love each other either (spoiler I guess). There wasn’t any specific moments that made me think “oh yeah, they’re secretly in love with each other”. Honestly, they’re relationship was just weird. I’m a bit of a sucker for gay guys in books but these two did nothing for me, everything about them was fake and forced.
I simply couldn’t care about any of the characters. Simon is kind of a jerk and a sexist (what’s up with the whole rant of having to kill whoever his ex is in love with so she can love him back again? what the hell was that about?!). Agatha, Simon’s ex, was just there. No personality, no real motive to be in the story. Penelope’s function was to clarify any the plot details that weren’t too perceptive. Baz was the most bearable character, by far.
The plot just didn’t fascinate me at all. A big chunk of the beginning of the book consists on Simon saying dumb things and obsessing over Baz’s disappearing. And after he comes comes back, the story kinda becomes messy. There’s too many things happening. Ghosts, vampires, obsessions, villains.
I absolutely hated the constant changes in POVs. There’s characters whose views add literally nothing to the story. And then some segments are just a sentence long! And keep changing back and forth, constantly. Ugh, what a headache. I generally love different POVs in books, I’m always the one listing them as a plus when others don’t. But they were completely overused in here.
Getting through this book was a real pain for me. I’m convinced it was only published as an easy cash-grab. Of course fans of Fangirl would buy this. But honestly, it’s a big big letdown (and I wasn’t expecting anything from it, mind you). I know I’m on the minority here but the only slightly thing good about this is how much you can see that Rowell tried to make this work. Maybe fantasy isn’t her thing, I can’t tell those because I don’t know her work that well. Anyway, I wouldn’t really go for this title.
Here’s a particularly nice quote:
You have to pretend you get an endgame. You have to carry on like you will; otherwise, you can’t carry on at all.
Anyway, what did you think of this book? Most of you probably have read it by then!
See you soon,