Expectations vs Reality // Book Review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

9:30 AM


Title: Carry On
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Paperback edition, 522 Pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Published: October 2015
2/5 stars

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27187955-carry-on

Simon Snow just wants to relax and savor his last year at the Watford School of Magicks, but no one will let him. His girlfriend broke up with him, his best friend is a pest, and his mentor keeps trying to hide him away in the mountains where maybe he’ll be safe. Simon can’t even enjoy the fact that his roommate and longtime nemesis is missing, because he can’t stop worrying about the evil git. Plus there are ghosts. And vampires. And actual evil things trying to shut Simon down. When you’re the most powerful magician the world has ever known, you never get to relax and savor anything.

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.


So if you're not familiar with Rainbow Rowell or this book yet, let me explain. Rainbow Rowell writes a book, Fangirl, that has this character named Cath that is obsessed with Simon Snow series, which is basically a retelling of Harry Potter. This book is about Simon Snow. But not the original book. It's like Rainbow Rowell's own fanfiction about Simon Snow. So it's basically a book, that is based on other fictional book, that is based on other fictional series.

Now let's get started before you have a headache.

Expectations:
A story just like Harry Potter, full of magic, friendship, interesting characters and amazing world building.

Reality:
I'm dissapointed. Again. It's like Fangirl all over again. I kind of enjoyed the plot, but I would've enjoyed it more if it weren't for the characters. I mean magic? Solving a murder? Defeating the big bad wolf? I love that kind of story. But the characters are completely immature!

Simon Snow is the Chosen One. He's the main character. But here's the thing: he is not interesting at all as a character. He depends too much on the Mage. He runs to him everytime he faces a problem and didn't try to solve it by himself. He doesn't make his own decision. He said it himself, he only do what he's told. He sits around and wait while his friend Penelope make the stratedy. And he's obsessed with his room mate, Baz. All he's doing is stalking him. Becaus he has a feeling that he's evil. Why is that? Because he is evil he said. Well then.

Baz is more interesting. Well I guess. Compared to Simon, I love his chapters more. He actually did something. He's the typical bad-boy-with-horrifying-past and I-am-mean-to-you-because-I-like-you. But I still feel like he's underdeveloped.

Penelope is okay I guess. She's smart, but she doesn't afraid to jump head-first into action. And she actually cares for Simon. And she doesn't care about Normal or not. And she doesn't easily trust people (unlike our main character).

Agatha. I don't even know why is she even in this book. What is her purpose? To add drama I guess?? Did she do anything? Nope. She didn't do anything? Nope, literally. She cries and then run away. Well good for her. Why is she so obsessed with Lucy all of a sudden? No one knows :):):)

No spells??? It relies on normal words/phrases like There's nothing to see here! or Take a break, have a kitkat. We just "pour magic/our will into the words". And we don't really know about the magickal world. What is the Coven or how the Mage and his men works, or why the old families have their own Coven. What is the Humdrum's goals?

And it was supposed to have monsters! But we barely get any monsters. We only get numpties (trolls basically) and story about how Simon got attacked by Chimaera. Baz as a vampire doesn't count. WHERE ARE MY MONSTERS???

We have no closure. I mean no one is bother to say the truth about what happened to each other. spoiler Baz didn't tell Penelope that the Mage is evil. Penelope didn't tell Baz about Davy and Lucy. Simon is basically in the dark about The Mage being evil. spoiler ends So is The World Of Mages. I can't see the dynamic and team work within them and it frustates me. What about Nicodemus and Ebb?

And the romance? What romance? I feel no chemistry between them. No fluff. It came out of nowhere, after years in each other's throat and trying to kill each other (I mean really, you try to feed your crush to a Chimaera???) and suddenly they're kissing???

It's not all that bad though. I mean, there are some moments that I actually liked, like how close Penelope and Simon are, when they actually work together and figure everything out, and Lucy's povs. But still it wasn't as good as I hope it would be.

Conclusion:
It doesn't feel like a YA book to me. It feels like a Children's Book because of how immature the characters are, and how rushed evertyhing is. I kinda like the plot, it has so much potential. But the immature characters ruined the plot, steers it to the other way. UGH. To be fair, it's only one book with 522 pages. But then maybe Rainbow Rowell shouldn't put so many things to be solved in a book. It feels unfinshed. It's like Harry Potter but less magical and more rushed.




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6 comments

  1. Nice review! I'm currently in the middle of Carry On, and I feel the same way. So far, the only thing keeping me going is Simon's humor at times - and sometimes that's kind of offputting! Love how you've critically written this review, instead of just bashing it :)

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    1. Thank you! Let me know what you think of this book when you're finished! :D

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  2. I thought that Simon was overly narrow-minded towards Baz at times, which really frustrated me. I didn't like Agatha at all - she was just annoying and useless. The romance between Baz and Simon seemed a bit rushed, though I did like Baz's POV when he was talking about Simon. Hehe ;) Overall, I liked the book, but I can see the flaws in it too :)

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it :) I also can't see what's Agatha's role in this book... Me too! I can see that Baz has crush on Simon, but Simon's feelings just came out of nowhere. It confuses me! :D

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  3. TBH, the thing that saved this book for me was Baz' perspective and all the HP and HP fanfic references (though I can see how that doesn't work for everyone, because not everyone has read that?). I thought some of the aspects of the book were ridiculous (like the numpties) and it did feel a little underdeveloped. I almost fell asleep during the first 150 pages and then liked it when Baz arrived. I'm sorry it didn't work for you!

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    1. Yeah, the beginning was boring since nothing happened at all! It's just weird reading all the HP elements in a different book...

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