Review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Name: Carry On
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: Macmillan's Children's Books
Date published: 2016
Rating: 4.5/5
Spoiler warning: Major

Simon Snow just wants to relax and savour 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 or savour anything.
- From Goodreads.

Carry On was very much a page-turner, even though it had a bit of world-building and explaining to do at first, that was still interesting and did not make the book dull or boring. There were also beautiful descriptions of magic and emotions, especially in regards to how Baz and Simon made each other feel; the part where Baz narrates as Simon shares his magic and they see the stars together is gorgeous.
In terms of problems, I do think the book had a few small ones. I felt like the structure of the plot could have used a bit of work, the story was good and interesting, but something about the pacing was not as good as it could have been. As well as that, I am not sure if it broke my heart or just really annoyed me that Simon never knew the whole truth about Lucy and the Mage, and that there were other questions left unanswered. I know sometimes ambiguity works well in stories, and it did for most of the book, but I am not sure I liked that there was still quite a few things that I did not know at the end.
I also was not sure if I was heartbroken about Ebb's death or just felt it was unnecessary, but then maybe if none of the characters that I liked (and I really liked Ebb) died then I probably would not feel like the threat was serious enough, and it did make me realise the lengths that the Mage would go to, to do what he thought was right, and how skewed his sense of what was right was.
Additionally, I had a complicated relationship with the character of Agatha; sometimes I really disliked her and could not understand her, while at other times I could sort of see why she felt how she did. Ultimately, I do not know if I disliked her because I was supposed to or because I felt she did not add much to the story.
I think Penny made up for that though because she was so awesome. She was a great friend to Simon, and although it took her some time to get used to the idea that Simon and Baz were sort of friends because of their truce, she did accept that and got on with it, and when she realised that their's was a romantic relationship, she did not react against it but understood it in a way that helped her to understand her friends in a way that she did not before.
The other things that I thought were positive about the book include that, considering it was written by an American author, it captured England quite well, and it did feel like the action was actually taking place here and that the characters were from here. As well as that, the sad and angrier parts if the book were balanced out well by the wittiness and funness (that is a word, right?) of it and, speaking of wittiness, Baz was brilliant. He was intelligent, and funny and full of emotion and bad in the best way.
Despite the few flaws that it did have, I think the good parts of Carry On far outweigh the not-as-good, and it was so enjoyable, and fun to read. I would definitely recommend giving it a read, especially if you liked Fangirl (which you can read my review of here). The love story was so wonderful and the magical world and system were so inventive and full of love for the significance of language and it was such a lovely book to read. I am so very glad Rainbow Rowell expanded on the world she started in Fangirl.

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