Review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

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Title:Carry On
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
My Rating: 4.25 stars
Goodreads rating: 4.35

Summary (Goodreads): 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.


Cover: 4/5

It’s really eye catching and lovely to look at. And when you take of the jacket *giggles* it gets so much better.



Review: When people say that they flew through the pages of a book I think yeah yeah course you did, but Crowley, when I was reading this book I was on page 109 one minute and 259 the next. It felt like magic, how could of have only been reading for an hour and made such progress? So when I say this is a fast paced book- I seriously mean it. I had to make a conscious effort to not read for long periods of time just so I stretched out this novel a bit. I could of easily finished this on Tuesday, but a hung on a bit longer and I am very glad I did. This book was highly amusing and fun to read! I was smiling stupid while reading it!

Plot: If I said the chosen one, a smart best friend, a sworn nemesis, a ‘wise’ mentor, a magical school, wands and a magical war you would probably think Harry Potter. And you would be right to think that, but now two names are going to pop up into my head: Harry Potter and Simon Snow. These are only a few similarities with Harry Potter that I pointed out. It’s like Harry Potter with a fresh in cast and a new adventure to follow. Sometimes I felt myself rolling my eyes in a half joking matter and other times gasping in shock because I thought they were going to take the simple and predictable route, but took a different turn. So to put it simply- Carry On isn’t a carbon copy of Harry Potter, but more like a heavily Harry Potter inspired story.

I will stop talking about Harry Potter now because it wouldn’t be fair- this is a new novel in its own right.

There are many POV changes during the book (seriously, one line then another POV) but they are never really infuriating (maybe Agatha’s towards the end) and I loved getting inside other characters brains so quickly and then leave a moment later, which made the book very quick to read. The book is definitely character driven and I could tell this because whenever someone asked me what the book was about, I felt that I had to tell them all about the characters to explain the plot (does that makes sense?). Nothing really wrong with that but after I finished the book it did make me wonder what the hell I read for 517 pages. All of the action seemed to happen in the last 100 pages so what happened to the other 417 pages? But it did feel like a lot of stuff was happening- it now feels like an illusion.

Even though all of the ‘action’ was taking place I felt hollow. I don’t know what that means because I did really enjoy reading the book, it’s just that the story didn’t hold my head under water, like other stories do. But because it is a character driven story I will talk about this more on the character section of this book.

Lastly, I loved how they cast spells in this book and all of the British and pop culture references, those were appreciated!

Characters: Simon Snow is a typical chosen one, brave, naive, too trusting and rather special in everyone’s eyes. Simon was a pretty likable character overall, I never felt his character was annoying and I rather enjoyed reading his POV chapters because those chapters had bucket loads of world-building unlike some (cough cough Lucy cough cough).

Penelope was pretty likable and 5 points to Rowell because she was half Indian and English and not just a full on English gal she could of easily been. Her witty comments were really appreciated! I wish I could of learned more about her and her life because she did seen genuinely interesting.

Baz. Oh how I loved Baz’s character! He was funny, smart and dark and yes yes YES! The whole vampire part was not roadkill in my opinion but nicely written for his character. His and Simon’s conversations were entertaining to read and I don’t think you can’t help but like Baz though he can be a bit rude and lovey dovey and angsty.

HOWEVER, even though I am saying all of these nice things, I didn’t feel connected to any of these characters. I wish there was much more deep character development. They stayed flat and I hate flat! And with this being a largely character driven story I feel that I should of felt more for these characters.

What I liked:

  • How fast paced the book was
  • The writing was on point! Smooth and enjoyable.
  • The twists and turns of the plot
  • British and pop culture references

What I disliked:

  • That the characters didn’t have many layers to them
  • How the plot seemed missing sometimes
  • (Too many Harry Potter-like things?)

Verdict: A great, quick read with some light hearted and dark moments mixed in together, though the flat characters and missing plot sometimes let it down slightly. But I still recommend this novel to fans of romance, fantasy and maybe Harry Potter!

-Astra

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11 thoughts on “Review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

  1. Trisha Ann says:

    Love your review! I’m glad you liked it! I bought the book despite of not being a fan of Simon Snow while reading Fangirl. But since this is Rainbow Rowell, giving it a try is worthwhile I’m sure. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Evelyn @ Books With Chemistry says:

    If I’m right I think Carry On is a Harry Potter fanfic! I’m excited to read this and your review is great! I need to read all about the British pop culture references for myself xD

    But I’ll also still be wary since you said the characters aren’t so layered
    Bummer! But otherwise, I’m still excited. Have you read Fangirl?

    Liked by 1 person

    • A Stranger's Guide to Novels says:

      Yes I did read Fangirl, a few weeks ago actually and I did a review of it you want to check it out and I really really liked it! Thank you for reading my review and you should read this book straight away. It’s probably because Cath was such a relatable character, I just didn’t feel as connected to these characters- even though they are really fun to read. I was so surprised there were so many pop culture references which is different to Harry Potter where there are literally none. It is a Harry Potter inspired book you can just see it so clearly, but it is t necessary a bad thing. Just because one person wrote about a magical school doesn’t mean no one else can and that’s what people have to remember I think. But yeah a total recommend this book 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. victorialoder says:

    You say that you’ll stop talking about Harry Potter because Carry On is its own story…but it is so obviously Harry Potter fanfic that can you really say that? I’m hesitant to read it because it ISN’T its own thing–it is a story based on the framework of Harry Potter. So I’m kind of confused as to how you can say they’re separate but the same at the same time…

    Liked by 1 person

    • A Stranger's Guide to Novels says:

      I think I mean that Carry On is a good story in its own merit even though it has many similarities with Harry Potter. I still definitely recommend this book to everyone because it is a really good book. I think it’s hard to describe this book to someone who hasn’t read it without using the word Harry Potter. The framework is very Harry Potter inspired but the actual adventure and storyline is different in its merit. I hope that cleared it up.

      Liked by 1 person

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