16 January 2017

REVIEW: Carry On

CARRY ON
by Rainbow Rowell


Pages: 518 (paperback)
Publisher: Macmillan
Publication Date: February 25th 2016
ISBN: 1447266943
  


Summary 

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 Watford School of Magicks, and Simon's infuriating nemesis didn't even bother to show up. 

Review

Anyone who knows me knows I'm a massive Rainbow Rowell fan! I can't even pretend I don't fangirl over her and when it came to Carry On I was so excited to sit down and read it. Fangirl is my all time favourite contemporary read and when it was released that Rainbow was writing the book Cath spent so much time swooning over I couldn't help but do my happy dance... yes there really is a dance. I wasn't able to get around to reading Carry On when it first came out due to uni commitments but I FINALLY get to share my thoughts on Rainbow's latest books... there will be gushing, you have been warned.

"Sharing a room with the person you want most is like sharing a room with an open fire."

Carry On follows the narratives of a group of wizards, also know as mages, as they try to complete their last year at Watford. However, Watford isn't any normal school it is a school where magic is taught and magical greatness is made. Over the last six years Simon Snow and his roommate Baz have tried to kill each other countless times and the reason for this is simple. Baz is evil and Simon is the 'chosen one' - even if he is useless at the job! However, in their final year at Watford everything changes and as in any good 'chosen one' tale there is a big bad wolf character out to blow down the world of mages... his name... the humdrum!

Okay, so to start with I wasn't actually that sure about Carry On and being a massive fan of Rainbow that is really hard to say. It felt a little on the babbley side and I struggled to get into it.


HOWEVER, it may have taken me a month to read the first 150 pages, I read the other 368 in less than twenty-four hours. I think the reason for this is that to begin with there is a lot of setting the scene (and rightly so) because as a reader we have to be filled in on the last 6 years of these characters lives before we can really get to the present day. But once I hit book two - it's in four sections - I was hooked and didn't want to put it down. I NEEDED to know what Simon and Baz where up to and that is one of the signs of a great writer.

The story does have a Harry Potter element to it, I mean HP has filled our lives - and hearts - for the last decade and a bit, so any story about witches and wizards at a wizardry school sparks comparisons. You also have the orphaned chosen one and school nemesis from a well known wizarding family. However, saying that there is a lot of originality to Carry On, especially when it comes to the way Rainbow creates magic. Rainbow plays with words, with her magical language built up of cliches and well known phrases. The theory behind the magic being the normals (that's us muggles by the way) give words meaning and the more they say certain saying the more power they give them. Things such as, Carry On, Take a Break Have a KitKat and even old nursery rhymes are spells and I have to say I loved that! Rainbow isn't an english author however, the continuity was perfect and the references were relevant which made me smile... especially the little nod to Ant and Dec!

The parts I really want to swoon over are total spoilers so I'm not going to say too much more. What I do want to talk about though is BAZ. Keeping in mind I'm now 24 it feels a tad strange gushing over an eighteen-year-old vampire but thats just what happened. Baz is one of the funniest and most sarcastic bastards I've ever read. He's a hat tilt to all the misunderstood baddies we've come to love to hate and he's just this bundle of sarcastic yummieness.


Overall though I really did love this book, yes it had a rocky start in my opinion but once I got into it it was perfect. Carry On is a love letter to fan fiction and just reading it you can see how much the author loves books. The references as perfect and the little nods to other well know books are effortless and respectful. I'm so happy Rainbow decided Simon and Baz's story needed to be told after Fangirl because as well as being a great stand alone book I also now understand Cath from Fangirl better. Mostly because I'm now fangirling with her!

"I know Simon and I will always be enemies...
But I thought maybe we'd get to a point where we didn't want to be." 

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