I started Carry on
at 3am right after finishing Fangirl. My hype for this book was already very high, but after reading about Simon and Baz in Fangirl, it literally skyrocketed.
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 Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.
Carry On is a love letter to love stories and the power of words – to every ‘chosen one’ who ever had more on their mind than saving the world…
The thing is, you can read this book without having read Fangirl first. But my personal advice would be to read Fangirl first if you think you might want to read it in the future anyway, because it will give Carry on a lot more context.
Carry on is such a meta book. Let me explain it a little bit:
-“Simon Snow” is a fictional series within the world of Fangirl, written by the fictional author Gemma T. Leslie. In Fangirl, seven out of eight of the canon books are out, and the eighth is about to be released.
-In Fangirl, the main character, Cath, has been writing Simon Snow fanfiction her whole life, and is one of the best known fanfiction writers online. She starts writing her own “eighth book” with her own headcanon, wanting to complete it before the canon book is out. The title of her eighth-book fanfiction is “Carry on, Simon“.
-Rainbow Rowell was so taken with these characters that she wanted to write her own Carry on, so she wrote a book that is a work of fanfiction within a book she wrote, and that in the real world is kind of like her fanfiction of her own characters.
Kudos if you’re keeping up. Anyway.
See it as fanfiction or not, this reads as fanfiction. And I say that in the best way possible.
But I think it’s something you definitely need to keep in mind when thinking about things like world building and pacing: this book is a standalone that needs to give the reader enough context to understand what happened in Simon and Baz’s previous 7 years of magical school, and in my opinion it did a great job.
Now about the plot: is this whole book supposed to remind you of Harry Potter? Yep. Did it bother me? Hell no.
Look, the “canon books” by Gemma T. Leslie are a Harry-Potter-style books. They follow Simon (Harry), the Chosen One, in his years in Watford (Hogwarts), while fighting the biggest threat to the magical world, the Humdrum (Voldermort), while also being stuck with a roommate he hates, Baz (Draco). That’s how Raibow Rowell created this world in Fangirl, when she probably didn’t know she was going to eventually publish her own SnowBaz book. At that point it’s not like she could have changed it to make it look like it wasn’t a Harry Potter rip-off. And honestly, having read Harry Potter my whole teenage years, this book felt so familiar and it made me feel at home.
So, the plot was overall predictable, but, as with most fanfic, what you’re looking forward to the most is the romance. And it was just the best. The way RR writes kisses and cuddles is something to die for, let me tell you. And these boys are so #precious you just want to #protect them.
In a parallel universe, where I have endless time for reviewing, I’m quoting every single thing I highlighted in this book. Which is basically EVERY (HIGHLY SPOILERY) THING. So in this universe with finite time (and finite review space), I will quote NOTHING although my fingers are itching to do so. *cries*
The writing style was superb.
The best thing was how you could see Simon’s feelings (that he doesn’t even acknowledge himself) through the writing.
Crowley, I love this book so much. I predict it will be something I’ll want to re-read again and again for a long time. Me and this book, we match.