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 starts 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.
I have spiraled. Spiraled into the fandom, the phenomenon that has become Simon Snow. Although it’s the fourth book (first audiobook ever, funny enough) that entered my life this new year, I’ll most likely remember it as the first. Carry On is exploratory, whimsical, but filled with teeth–ready to strike when you’re still reeling from the highs of Simon and Baz’s journey.
In public or under the covers?
Carry On is tame on the scale of hotness. The tensity, however, pushes this novel towards the latter. Too many barks of laughter, stomach clenches, and escaped tears will have you wanting to read away from the public eye. Once you get to Chapter 84, you’ll thank me.
Main Character- nay or yay?
What can I say about Simon Snow? Honestly, for me, he prattled on a bit much in the beginning, telling us about his childhood, every summer he’d spent away from Watford, which of his friends thought of this and that. The inner monologue kept me from truly enjoying it until I sat myself down and powered on. When I did, I’d come to appreciate his witty thoughts. He’s hard to describe with words, which is ironic for a character who doesn’t “use his words.” I can say he’s like that annoying little sibling you can’t help but to tolerate. Friendly. A Daredevil. The right amount of clingy. Always talking about something over and over (in his case, Baz). He can’t be anyone but himself and that’s more than enough.
Getting Over “Tyrannus Basilton Grimm-Pitch”:
is impossible, even with a name like that. I’m a sucker for sarcasm and it poured from Baz in spades. There’s something about antagonistic sweethearts–his gruff snapbacks, but soft whispers. (The audiobook is worth it!) In all, I forgive him for not showing his face until Book Two of Four. Most of all, he surprised me from his first chapter to the epilogue.
Rainbow surprised me with the multiple point of views, especially for the non-essential characters. There are too many of them to rant about all of them, so here’s short reactions to my top five:
- Penelope—Yes girl! Represent.
- Agatha— You annoy me, but I’m glad you got what you wanted.
- Lucy — I haven’t recovered. I simply haven’t. (Chapter 84)
- The Mage — You confuse me.
- Ebb +Nico — Sighs. I hate when this happens.
From The Writer’s Table:
As a writer myself, I experience flash freak-outs over other writer’s dialogue and techniques. (I’m hoping I’m not alone.) For the two novels I’ve read by Rainbow, it happened more often than I’d like to admit. Again, the swapping POVs within one chapter. I rarely see it done so well, carrying the right amount of tension and perspective of the character who’d deliver the punch the most. More than that, it’s the whole concept of Simon Snow itself. My brain hurts thinking about how it came into being. A friend of mine explained it perfectly—a story with a fandom that was in a story that was pulled from that story to become it’s own story with real fandom. If I haven’t broken your brain yet, let’s move on with the notion that Rainbow Rowell is a goddess among writers and I have much to learn from her.
So. Much. Is. Left. Unrevealed.
Don’t Judge a Book By Its Cover:
All of Rainbow’s covers have that colorful eye-catching minimalism. The hardback for Carry On is no difference. I’m even more ecstatic for the paperback edition come out in May (shown right). Check out the Buzzfeed article that gives the big reveal. You can pre-order it for ten dollars on Amazon.
Song of The Bookish Soul
Castle on The Hill, Ed Sheeran’s newest release, works well to explore the nostalgic tone of Carry On. We all have a Castle on The Hill–a reminiscence of lost youth with people who have shaped you and events that have changed you. It’s a bittersweet journey and this ending carries that weight.
Companion Novels/Suggested Readings:
If you haven’t experienced Simon Snow’s origins, check out ‘Fangirl‘ by the same author. For another perfectly matched LGBT couple, I recommend ‘Simon vs. the Homosapien Agenda‘ by Becki Albertalli. (Different Simon, but still unique in his own way.) For a hilarious take on the chosen ones, also check out ‘The Rest of Us Just Live Here‘ by Patrick Ness.
Overall, this book gets Five ‘Golden and Blue’ Stars or as we like to say around here, a Matt Bomer. The apex of all charmers. Despite everything against it–the slow start and that whole “Harry Potter” debacle–the characters and the scenes have you flipping pages at an alarming rate. (In my case, pressing pause only for necessary bathroom breaks and not-so-nutritious refuels.) Chapter 84, curse you! Chapter 48, shivers. Four books and an epilogue and none of them were enough. Sighs.
Let me know how you felt about this one? What worked for you? What didn’t work? That chapter 84…did it kill anyone else? I’m tackling the final book of the Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare next, so I’m excited to share my thoughts on that too.