Simon Snow is heading back to school for his final year at Watford School of Magicks, but nothing is as it should be. His room mate and arch enemy Baz hasn’t even bothered to show up, and there’s rumours that the insidious humdrum is still on the rampage. Simon is the only one who can stop him, but he can barely perform basic spells at the best of times, and Baz could appear at any moment and ruin his plans like he usually does. Will Simon be able to rid the world of the Humdrum once and for all, or will the Humdrum succeed in ridding the world of magic forever?
THIS IS IT. THIS IS THE BOOK THAT HAS KILLED ME.
My best friend insisted that I read this book and i’m so glad that I listened to her! As a huge fan of Harry Potter I was so glad to find a book that seemed similar to my favourite fictional universe. I loved reading Fangirl, and after reading the synopsis for Carry On, I was interested to find out if Rowell would be able to change her writing style from contemporary to fantasy, and oh did she manage it!
Carry On is set in a magical boarding school in the UK, and follows protagonist Simon Snow, the most powerful mage in the world, who according to his room mate Baz, is the worst chosen one to ever be chosen. I found the layout of the book to be interesting, as instead of being from Simon’s point of view throughout the novel, it changes between different characters so that we can see their perspective of things too, which I loved. Telling a story from first person is always a problem as we only ever know what the protagonist is thinking, but Rowell expertly got around this problem by giving different characters their own chapters which worked out perfectly.
The first 150 pages of the book were torture! There is a huge build up to Baz’s first appearance, and Simon doesn’t let us forget about him for one minute. He is constantly on the edge about where Baz is, worrying that he’s plotting his downfall and that he could appear at any moment. Simon and Baz have been enemies ever since their first year at Watford, and Simon is convinced that Baz is going to attempt to kill him. However when he was able to stop worrying about Baz, the narrative of what had happened in previous years at school was explained perfectly. As the book starts with Simon going into his last year of school, there is a lot of back story that needs to be covered to explain what has happened during Simon’s seven years at Watford. I was worried this would get a little dull and use the method of telling rather than showing, but I was completely hooked and wanted to know everything about what had happened to him and his friends. By the time Baz finally appeared, I felt that I had been reading about Simon Snow for years and that I had been with him every step of the way through Watford.
I adored the characters in this book! Simon himself was extremely witty and funny, and I loved how he was so unsure of himself despite being the chosen one. I loved how he didn’t think of himself as being better than others, yet he didn’t back down from his destiny and bravely fought on for what he thought was right. Penny, Simon’s best friend was an amazing character! I always love when a strong character looks a little different and wears glasses, and Penny was all that and more. I loved reading the chapters from her point of view and seeing Simon and Baz from a different perspective. However I was not overly keen on Agatha, and although I could see where she was coming from in her decisions and couldn’t really blame her for them, I just didn’t have any sort of emotional connection to her.
I think it’s time that I talk about my favourite character, Tyrannus Basilton Grimm-Pitch. Even his name make him seems like a posh asshole, and for some part’s thats exactly what he is. But Baz is also one of the most complex characters i’ve ever seen in a YA fantasy novel. From the moment he stepped into Watford I was in love with him. His mixture of arrogance and vulnerability made me want to wrap him in a blanket and hold him. There was a specific part where Baz started getting his own chapters and talking about Watford from his point of view where we see his thoughts and feelings and see his vulnerability, and I just knew from that moment he was going to be my favourite character. It was so unexpected and emotional I was literally almost brought to tears.
I always love when characters who have been enemies are forced to work together, and Simon and Baz were no exception. I loved watching their relationship change and progress until it was completely different to what it was at the start. Although this is a fantasy novel, Rowell’s expertise at writing contemporary novels definitely helped her in writing the relationship between Simon and Baz.
There was never a dull moment in this book and although this is a pretty lengthy book I ended up reading it in just three days. I am generally a slow reader so this was pretty quick for me! I didn’t want to put this book down, and just when I thought things were slowing down enough for me to put it down for the night something huge would happen and force me to continue reading until it was resolved, only to be faced by an even bigger problem. I can’t recommend this book enough and I urge everyone to read it!!
If you’re still reading i’m guessing that you’ve read the book. If you haven’t then FOR THE LOVE OF BAZ LEAVE NOW BECAUSE SPOILERS ARE ABOUT TO GO DOWN!!
I did initially want to keep this review spoiler free BUT I HAVE TO TALK ABOUT SIMON AND BAZ LIKE YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND HOW MUCH THIS IS KILLING ME. This review is going to be extremely unprofessional from here on. Ok so onto Simon and Baz.
THEIR RELATIONSHIP WAS THE CUTEST THING I’VE EVER SEEN OH MY GOD. I was not expecting such a beautiful romance to occur in a YA fantasy book and I swear they broke me. I was in no way expecting Baz to say he was in love with Simon and that was the moment I knew this book was going to be gold. So there’s just a few things I have to talk about one of them being their first kiss. I WAS NOT EXPECTING SIMON TO KISS BAZ FIRST!!! That was just really unexpected and that whole scene was the cutest thing I couldn’t even cope. Snowbaz is just the cutest relationship and I loved that they went from arch enemies to boyfriends. Their relationship progressed beautifully and nothing seemed unnatural or forced. Every kiss was perfectly written and even them doing simple things such as sharing food was too adorable for words. I am so extremely happy that this book exists and that we have protagonists in a YA fantasy novel that are in a gay relationship this is all I ever wanted and more!! I also loved that although Simon questions his sexuality, he never really defines it. He knows that he has feelings for Baz, yet he never gives himself a label. I thought this was a brilliant thing to do as teenagers are often pushed into defining their sexuality when it really shouldn’t be a big deal. We shouldn’t have to put labels on ourselves, we should be free to fall in love with whoever we want to. I wish I could personally thank Rainbow for giving us such a beautiful book. I have my standards set at Carry On now and hope that other authors will take a leaf out of Rainbow’s book and write books similar to this!