Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Posted July 30, 2020 by Amber in Reviews / 0 Comments

Carry On

Carry On

by Rainbow Rowell

Series: Simon Snow #1
Publisher: Wednesday Books on October 6, 2015
Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQ+, Romance
Target Age Group: Young Adult

Rating: ★★½

Check out this book on Goodreads

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.


To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure what all the hullaballoo is about re: Carry On.

This is my first Rainbow Rowell book, and all her novels seem to be held in such high regard by the community as a general rule (except for Eleanor & Park, a discussion for a different day).  This is one of those situations for me where I guess… I was like, “It’s fine?  I guess?”  I’m not convinced.  I definitely don’t understand all the extra excitement.  In my opinion, this book is, at best, incredibly average?

As I’m reading, on one hand, I’m trying to understand why, and on the other hand, I found myself constantly looking at Carry On as officially published Harry Potter fanfic.  Because lets be real – this is a Harry/Draco slash fic.  The entire point of this book is so Simon and Baz can fall hopelessly in love.  The plot and characters outside of this purpose are pointless and underdeveloped.  Heck, I’ll even go so far as to say that Simon and Baz themselves are underdeveloped.  Especially Simon.  If you’re here for a proper adventure story, don’t bother.

If you’re here because you want a bit of ridiculous, light, fluffy m/m romance in a sort of barely passable magic situation, then okay fine.  Here.  Take Carry On.  This is one of the few times that I’ll say the romance in a book was fun.  It was shallow and easy and didn’t take many sensible turns, but if you just want to dig your heels into a cute love story, then Carry On is decent.  It’s like… the one thing I felt went well, honestly.

Structurally, this story had too many unnecessary POVs.  Many characters, like Eb, were utterly wasted, whereas we spent time on others (Agatha) that offered nothing substantial to the story.  The Mage was the worst, the fact that this entire, powerful magical society let him rule it with such ease made no sense.  The entire world hinged on the idea “I say so, so it is”.  Accept it reader, and enjoy.  Doesn’t have to make sense!

I like my books to be a bit sensible.  Even the fantasy ones.

The magic system really really really bothered me.

Okay, so, how come a catchy turn of phrase has magical power?  And that students can all randomly create spells from catchy lyrics, but they probably won’t stick because pop culture fades or something?  I like a concrete magic system with definitive rules and a sensible foundation.  I found the spellcasting to be infuriating.  PARTICULARLY when we start talking about Simon’s casting.

I just. … Pfft.  I liked Baz, I guess.  I didn’t believe his character much, but I felt he had the most potential.  That’s about it for me.

I don’t understand why people love this outside of the romance.  Maybe I need to read Fangirl to appreciate it more.  Maybe people are jut here for the slash fic.  Seriously though, I’ve read better structured Harry/Draco fic back in the day that engrossed me much better.

Ratings Breakdown

Setting: ★★
Characters: ★★ 1/2
Writing: ★★
Pacing: ★★★ 1/2
Narrator: ★★★★
Personal Enjoyment: ★★


Have you read Carry On?  If so, did you enjoy the story or the characters… what drew you to this one?  I’d really like to know, so hit me up in the comments!

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