Charming, Imaginative and Perfect for the Harry Potter Generation (Review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell)

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co Carry On by Rainbow Rowell | Rating: ★★★★☆

You have to pretend you get an endgame. You have to carry on like you will; otherwise, you can't carry on at all.

Rainbow Rowell triumphantly returns with her latest release, Carry On; taking characters readers were already familiar with in her bestselling novel Fangirl and spinning into a story of their own. I think we’re quite lucky with this one because in spite of its flaws, it is VERY fun and nearly impossible to put down. As always, Rowell’s writing is so on point and full of emotion, wisdom and angst, you can’t help but to see the sparkle in even the most simplest of ways.

She has a gift with words and an even bigger one with breathing life into those words.

Originally a story within a story Carry On is a promising and thrilling ride from start to finish filled with fantastical rides of thrills, romance, chosen ones, danger and unexpected twists. Reminiscent to the Harry Potter series it may be, and legions of its fans will either love or hate that fact, but ultimately it is a story of its own.

And a damn good one at that.

Simon Snow, they (mostly Baz) say, is the worst chosen one who has ever been chosen–and that’s not far from the truth. He is no different from the hundreds of chosen ones we've seen throughout literature, film and television. It's okay, though, because he is charming an utterly clueless way. Long story short: as a chosen one he isn’t a very good… but who would be in such situations? In spite of this… it’s easy to see why our leading lady in Fangirl spent so much time pushing herself into that world and the minds of those characters.

Even in its vague turns, there’s something rich about these characters. Rich, dark, humorous–all the makings of a true Rainbow Rowell creation. While there are moments that seem utterly ridiculous, and others that are laugh out loud funny, there’s an undeniable charm to these characters, in particular Simon, Baz and Penny.

I liked when the three banded together to try and solve things. They were an odd little trio but a delightful one nonetheless. I really enjoyed seeing their kinda-sorta friendship go from one thing to another, the development was light and enjoyable and full of a lot of epic banter.

Ultimately, I liked that they worked together because of their differences and eventually grew to care and respect for one another.

It also helps that Baz and Simon are the sort of OTP you want to wrap around in a blanket and keep safe. There was just something so cute and upbeat about them… without being upright. “I hate him!”–okay, maybe it’s just me, but I find the sorts of ships that are in denial.

Double okay, that’s not entirely true. But in Carry On, it is. Simon and Baz are all kinds of squeal worthy OTPness and I enjoyed every moment of it. I was sad to see them go but so very thrilled that their relationship progressed in the way it had.

That being said, I kind of wish we had more to go off of in the novel. I know, I know, we were terribly lucky to get what we did–who would have guessed it?–but I still at times felt a little lost and confused. I needed to know more of the history of Simon’s world, I wanted to know more about Penny and Agatha and how they all met, I wanted to know more about Baz and his family and in particular his badass mother.

I would also like to hear more about Agatha's life after leaving the magical world they live in. I think that she was such a minor character who's actions may not be seen in the greatest light by some readers, but boy is she fascinating and strong. I quite liked her and wish we had seen more of where she went and all that jazz.

Overall, Carry On was an excellent read but will not be for everyone. By that I mean, those who haven’t read Fangirl may have a bit of a difficult time following, but for fans who–like me–have been here for a while, the story that unfolds is both heartwarming and entertaining.

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