Title: Carry On
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: October 6th 2015
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.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
My Thoughts On…
I feel like there was a lot of hype surrounding Carry On, not only was it built up in Fangirl there seemed to be so many bloggers and reviewers eagerly awaiting this book. Carry On is what finally prompted me to read Fangirl, just so I could go on to read Simon and Baz’s story. I loved Fangirl and in my opinion Carry On was so much better. It more than lived up to all the hype surrounding it and cemented Rainbow Rowell as one of my favourite authors.
Simon Snow has returned to Watford for his final year. He is unsure what exactly it will hold for him but if it’s anything like his previous seven years he can expect more plots from his roommate Baz and more creatures sent after him by the Insidious Humdrum. Simon looks forward to going back every year, but he does not look forwards to seeing Baz again. However, when he gets to Watford and as classes start Baz is notably absent.
Weeks pass and Baz remains missing but Simon can’t let his roommate’s disappearance go. He is paranoid, constantly thinking that Baz is out there somewhere plotting against him. He tries to find out why Baz has failed to return to Watford for his final year, speaking to teachers and the Mage, but no one seems to know what’s happened.
The Veil is lifting and Visitings are happening. Ghosts with unfinished business are coming out to speak to their family to pass on their secrets. While Baz is missing his mother appears to Simon with a message for her son.
When Baz finally returns to Watford Simon tells him of his mother’s Visiting, he can’t keep something like that a secret, and offers his help to find out the truth behind Baz’s mother’s murder. Together with Penelope Bunce, Simon’s best friend and the smartest person he knows, they start to uncover what really happened the night Baz’s mother was murdered and Baz was turned into a vampire. Baz always believed it was the Insidious Humdrum who sent the vampires to Watford, but as they dig deeper the three of them start to realise there is another villain much closer to home.
Simon has had the pressure of being the Chosen One on his shoulders since he was 11, but he doesn’t feel like the Chosen One. His magic isn’t reliable and it’s more likely to go off like a bomb. He isn’t the smartest person at Watford; he doesn’t seem to think more than a few minutes into the future and if he doesn’t like something he’s more likely to simply ignore it. Simon is destined to defeat the Insidious Humdrum but the last time they faced off Simon would have died if Penelope hadn’t been there.
Baz is a dark character. He has been forced to hide the fact that he is a vampire from everyone since he was turned as a child. His father and aunt protected him but Baz knows they probably should have killed him instead. As a member of one of the old families Baz is against everything Simon and the Mage stand for. He and Simon have had a tense relationship since they met but, even though both of them know they may have to kill one another one day, Baz never really seemed to go out of his way to actually hurt Simon.
While Simon doesn’t think about his feelings for Baz until the two are kissing Baz has been in love with Simon since he can remember, though he only realised his feelings in their fifth year. But even after the first time they kissed the two do not have an easy path to follow. Baz’s family still hate the Mage and Simon, and Baz knows one day he will have to face Simon on the opposite side of the battle field. Even though the Insidious Humdrum is a threat, the families are starting to rebel against the Mage, meaning Simon and Baz are on opposite sides despite what they feel for one another. Simon is optimistic but Baz is more realistic (pessimistic) about their chances.
Carry On is told from multiple points of view, and at first I thought that meant the character development would be lacking. However hearing about Simon, Baz, Penny, and Agatha through Cath in Fangirl built a lot of the groundwork for this book. We already know about Simon’s history and his relationship with Baz before opening the very first page. We already know Cath’s fan theories and her take on the relationship between Baz and Simon.
The setting was the only part of this book I was a bit so-so on. Carry On is set in England unlike Fangirl, and while most of the English aspects were clearly well researched and written there were some words used that seemed off. When Simon and Baz use the word ‘snogged’ for example. I honestly don’t think I have heard anyone use that word, I have certainly not used it, since I was in primary school, and Baz and Simon are supposed to be 18.
I really loved Carry On, it had everything I enjoyed from Rowell’s Fangirl but set in a world with magic, vampires, and dragons. If you loved Fangirl, or any of Rainbow Rowell’s other works, then I would highly recommend picking up Carry On.
What did you think of Carry On? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.