I had seen this book in bookshops and on many recommendation lists but never actually took the time to read the blurb and see what it is actually about.
When I saw it was the fanfiction from ‘Fangirl’ written as a whole book I knew i had to pick it up and give it a go.
‘Carry On’ by Rainbow Rowell was exactly what I expected- a good read but nothing groundbreaking or exceptional. It is, however, a new take on the typical hero and embodies a lot of fanfiction elements.
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.
‘Carry On’ gives us more of the world of Baz and Simon that we got glimpses into through Rowell’s previous work , the widely popular ‘Fangirl.’ In a world of magic much akin to that of ‘Harry Potter’ we watch Simon, the Chosen One, battle both his inner and outer demons while attending the wizarding school Watford.
The villain of the story is the ‘Insidious Humdrum’, a mysterious figure that drains the magic out of the atmosphere, leaving dead spots, while sending dark creatures to attack the students at Watford. The Mage runs both the school and is the leader of the Magical World, guiding Simon in his battles against the Humdrum. Simon is also surrounded by his best friend Penelope (who is very Akin to Hermione, but was born into the magical world) and his ‘Girlfriend’ Agatha- who he dreams he can have his happy every after with (again, akin to the relationship Harry has with Ginny). And i cannot forget Baz, the mysterious roommate that Simon feuded with for all of their years at school. They all soon realise that there is something going on in the Wizarding world-conspiracies, betrayal and murder that is way bigger then they are, and they must put aside their differences and work together to defeat the Humdrum once and for all.
Simon, to me, is the a little bit of an antithesis of the typical Hero (Harry Potter for example). He is not the best at magic, realises that he does not want the stereotypical heroic happy ending, goes against his mentor and his life plan, and ends up with someone everyone never expected. This was probably my favourite part of the book (apart from Simon and Baz’s interactions). That Simon was breaking what everyone expected of him-and it is my favourite part of all the HP fanfics i read, when Harry breaks from what he thinks everyone wants for him and does.
The plot twist at the end, and the heartbreaking though rewarding ending, makes this book worthwhile to read. While it is not the most groundbreaking book-there are no new ideas or spin on the classic ‘Wizarding School’ setting, though the new way of how wizards cast magic is interesting, it was a fun read.
Throughout this review I made constant allusions to Harry Potter-which is neigh impossible to not do as ‘Carry On’ is fanfiction of the ‘Simon Snow’, one that is so influenced the HP series. This book (and Fangirl), to me, is a tribute to fanfiction- it is light hearted, romantic and the two characters that probably did not get together in the canon Simon Snow series, do get together in the end.