This review is spoiler-free!
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Release Date: Published October 6th 2015 by St. Martin’s Griffin
Format: Hardcover, 522 pages
Rating: 5/5 Crabapples
Find it here: Goodreads || Book Depository
Simon Snow just wants to relax and savor his last year at the Watford School of Magicks, but no one will let him. His girlfriend broke up with him, his best friend is a pest, and his mentor keeps trying to hide him away in the mountains where maybe he’ll be safe. Simon can’t even enjoy the fact that his roommate and longtime nemesis is missing, because he can’t stop worrying about the evil git. Plus there are ghosts. And vampires. And actual evil things trying to shut Simon down. When you’re the most powerful magician the world has ever known, you never get to relax and savor anything.
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.
Alright. So. I was so unbelievably excited for this book, I can’t even begin to explain. Fangirl was one of my favorite books of all time, mostly because I could relate to Cath so well, but Carry On? Carry On is my dream. I want to do this one day, be able to write “fanfiction” of a world from another of my own books and publish it. Rainbow Rowell is basically my hero.
(I might even throw up an impromptu review of Fangirl sometime, even if it’ll be less review and more me just talking about useless details in the book. But we’ll see about that.)
I’ve been writing fanfiction since I was 10 (I didn’t know it was that at the time, I thought I was just writing my own stories about the books I read), so for something that’s meant to be fanfiction in another book’s world to be published on its own just makes me ecstatic. I can’t even explain it correctly, but I’m sure there’s another fanfiction-writer out there who gets what I’m talking about. I’ve never been nearly as successful in my endeavors as Cath has, but this publishing still had me bouncing off the walls with excitement. When I finally got my hands on it, I read through it as fast as I could.
Was it everything I wanted, though?
Yes and no. I had my issues, just like I always will (everyone has an opinion and they’re all going to be different), but overall I couldn’t have been more thrilled with it, in essence. I loved this book. I loved learning the characters and their world, loved the absolute cliche of Baz and Simon’s romance (I won’t spoil that), and though the ending left a little to be desired for me, I really enjoy how all of this was executed. The writing style, be it Rowell’s herself or a twist on it, is something I just can’t seem to get enough of.
Sure it kind of read like a Harry Potter knock-off, but that was part of what made it fun to me. The reading was so smooth, the style that reminds me so much of real fanfiction (and some published works, but let’s be honest, fanfiction tends to read differently than anything that’s actually been published. Or, up until now, I guess. Besides the point.), that I was able to power through the book like it was nothing. And I loved that. But I also hated it. It was over far, far too soon.
On the note of it reading like fanfiction, there was a slight gap. While there were very strong, strong elements of fanfiction prose to it, there was also an obvious note of “hey, this is published, you most likely paid for it” to it. It didn’t ruin it for me, not really, but I just had moments where I was very conscious of the fact. And that’s okay.
I know people are going to rag on it for how it’s composed and how it reads, but, in my opinion, you have to go into it understanding that this is meant to be a fanfiction by Cath, not so much like a novel all on its own. Was it intended to be a novel all on its own? Maybe, but it certainly won’t work if you go into it thinking like that. Possibly an error on creators’ parts (author, published, editor, etc.), but since I knew what to do, I didn’t have a problem.
And, finally, all babble aside. Would I recommend this book? Hell fucking yes I would. Especially if you enjoyed Fangirl. Since I tend to recommend Fangirl anyway, I’ll just now be slotting this book in as something to read when you’re done with Fangirl, since you really need to read the source before reading the next.
If you’ve read this or you plan on reading it, let me know!
Thanks for reading!