Fiction · Romance

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

What is it about?

The World of Mages (think Harry Potter meets Shadowhunters) is on the brink of a three-way war; a) between the aristocratic magic families and the magickal government, b) between the mages and the dark creatures (e.g. vampires), and c) between every magical creature and a being known only as the Insidious Humdrum – who is quickly sucking all the magic out of the world. Simon Snow has always been told that he, as the Chosen One, will resolve all these wars simultaneously. But how is he supposed to do that when he’s got a forth war going on; between himself and his evil vampiric roommate, who may or may not want to kill him – or perhaps kiss him.

Is it any good?

I went into Carry On with sky-high expectations after reading Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl (to which Carry On is a spin-off; I would recommend reading Fangirl first) and it just didn’t quite live up to them. Don’t get me wrong – I loved it! Simon and Baz are just perfect together, with just about the right mixture of snark and sweetness. The novel is littered with pop culture references that are genuinely funny and effective, and the use of magic as a metaphor for wealth/class is also very well done. However, the first 150 pages or so – before Baz crops up – are tedious and dull; I was going mad waiting for Baz to show his pale-as-death face. When he did, though, he didn’t disappoint; his sarcasm was savage, his back story was well-written, and his unwavering (secret) love of Simon felt so real. That’s not to say that Simon himself is boring – just somewhat less interesting when he isn’t bouncing off of Baz. My other major issue with Carry On is the massive overuse of stereotypical British idioms that no British person really uses – it’s like reading a bad Doctor Who (or maybe Sherlock) fanfiction written by an American teenager. But if you can live through the hamming up of the Britishness, and the first 150 pages of (I suppose) necessary boredom, then Carry On really is brilliant.

Rating: 7/10

How long did it take to read: five days

For fans of: Twilight, Harry Potter, Cassandra Clare, fantasy, enemies-to-lovers stories, feminist undertones

This book tastes like: peppermint candy canes


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