Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Audiobook review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

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

Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story—but far, far more monsters.

Flo's Review
Carry On has been on my TBR for years. It was gifted to me by one of my Secret Sisters, and I placed it on my shelf with all the best intentions to get to it ASAP. Well...you know how the best laid plans go. Especially when it comes to TBR piles. Fast forward to the announcement of the second book Wayward Son. "I need to read Carry On before Wayward Son comes out!" I told myself. Then fast forward again to the Book Con announcement of Rainbow Rowell's attendance. "Yes!" I said. "Carry On is on my list to read before the beginning of June!"

So...here we are at the end of July, and I've just finished it. Still before Wayward Son, so I'm going to give myself a pat on the back for that. Shout out to the IGGPPC BookWorms for finally getting me to bump this up to the top. I'm so glad I finally read it!

It took me a little bit to get into the story at first. The beginning of the book felt like a huge info dump to me. I think that was unavoidable because we had to be introduced to a new world and a new magic system, so there might not have been any better way to do it. Simon was obsessed with Baz, but unnaturally so, and it didn't read as anything other than weird.

Carry On is divided into several books, and I really started to enjoy the story in Book Two for two reasons. First, the story really came into its own. Up until then, it read as similar to Harry Potter. I didn't mind that so much because I love Harry Potter, but nothing really felt new, storywise. I felt I knew all the characters and the school, etc etc. But with the start of Book Two, the story really took off in directions that are nothing like those in Harry Potter. I really started feeling the story here. Second, my favorite character to read was introduced in Part Two. I don't want to spoil anything about the book, so I won't say who, but guys...my swoony, swoony heart.

One thing I really enjoyed about Carry On was how Rainbow didn't take herself or the story too seriously. It reads like she was just writing to have fun, and this really shines through in her words and her tone. In some ways, it even reads a little bit like a parody. But while the magic spells are just fun -- nursery rhymes and song lyrics -- there is actually a deeper element to it. The magic depends on intention. The magician has to really believe, really feel, really want the spells he is doing. This is a great analogy for life. It's classic Disney: "There can be miracles, if you believe." And because I am a word nerd by profession and hobby, I love the nuances that language, history and language, language and society all have on the magic system.

The reveals were also done really well in this book. It might be the type of situation where people figure out what is actually happening before it's spelled out for the reader, but I never get that stuff, so of course I didn't. How the different characters reveal things in sync with what's happening in the story and with what other characters learn as they learn it was brilliant. 

I am so looking forward to Wayward Son! Come on September 24th!

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