Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy
Page Length: 522 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
About Carry On (via Goodreads):
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.
First of all, it's a Rainbow Rowell book. Which means that I was going to love it, even though I didn't like it at the same time (which somehow happened with this book, even though it doesn't make any sense). So let's talk about the good first.
1) The romance *heart eyes* My gosh, I absolutely ADORED the romance. Simon and Baz were amazing together. That is all.
2) The writing style. I love Rainbow Rowell's writing. She's a brilliant writer.
3) Baz himself. Such a fantastic character. He's just so precious and I loved him to death. Honestly, if he were real, this would be me if/when I met him *holds him close and doesn't let him go*
4) Rainbow Rowell had me feeling all the feels for these characters. (Carry On is one of my good friends' favorite books, and she can attest to my flailing when new things were revealed, and characters came back into the story, and when people made horrible decisions, etc etc.)
5) It was an incredibly fun book to read, despite all it's flaws. 5/5 stars for sheer entertainment purposes, but there were still tons of issues I had with it.
Now for the negatives.
1) While I enjoyed the writing style, I also didn't think it was the best choice for fantasy. It felt like exactly what it was, a Rainbow Rowell book. What does this mean, you ask? By this, I mean it felt too much like a contemporary. I do love Rainbow Rowell as a contemporary novelist (she's one of my favorites!), and I was really interested to see what she'd do with a fantasy novel. However, I was kind of disappointed. Fantasy requires extensive world-building, and with that, the story fell flat.
I'm not saying that the magic system and world were bad, per se, it just felt like they were really underdeveloped and rushed. Something about it just wasn't fantasy enough for me. Not to say there can't be all different types on the fantasy spectrum, but based on what she was trying to create, I was expecting a lot more.
2) Onto the plot/pacing. Not only was the world-building rushed, but so was the plot. She crammed 7 or so years of backstory into a single book while somehow speeding through the present plot and the final battle and all that. Even when they were battling, it seemed like there wasn't much going on. It's honestly hard to explain, but Rowell would brush past all the seemingly fantasy-esque parts of the story and all the action. And I said before, I adored Simon and Baz. But their relationship did seem a bit awkward and rushed like the rest of the book, and it seemed to consume way too much of the plot.
3) The secondary characters were kind of boring and predictable. Even the ones that were supposed to be a mystery were easily crackable. I just did not care about them and thought they could have added a lot more to the story, based on what little information Rowell gave about them.
4) There was a lot of hype throughout the book leading to the final battle, and it was probably the most uninteresting and anticlimactic event to ever take place. So maybe there were some bumps in the road to victory, but they were pretty much tiny little speed bumps rather than the mountains young heroes typically need to cross to accomplish their goals. It was rather disappointing, considering how much they seemed to fear the Humdrum.
5) The ending was extremely disappointing. Like the final battle, it seemed so anticlimactic and boring. I was not pleased.
6) I know this book was a spin-off of the world she created in Fangirl, and it was supposed to have huge parallels to that of the Harry Potter world, but I would have liked for it to have been more unique. I liked the concept of the Humdrum and that creative bit, but I feel like there could have been more of a Rainbow Rowell flair to it, even though she did write a wizarding school story.