Hello hello and welcome or welcome back to my little bookish corner of the internet. Today I’m bringing you my review of the first in the Simon Snow series by Rainbow Rowell, Carry On. This enemies-to-lovers fantastical adventure was an absolute riot, and I’m so pleased to be sharing my thoughts with you about it. I’ll be reviewing the whole series to celebrate the recent release of the third and final book in the trilogy, Any Way The Wind Blows, which was kindly sent to me by MacMillian Children’s Books earlier this month.
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.
What I really enjoyed about the whole concept of this book was that it started off in the final year of a magickal school, with a mystery to solve but building towards a conclusion so that the rest of the series could go on to answer the questions we always wonder about a series: what happens next? It’s a unique take on a ‘Chosen One’ trope and I really loved it.
The book is told from multiple perspectives, switching between several characters to give us a full vantage look at the story. Because of this, we end up with more information than Simon himself; the reader is all knowing, and gets pieces of the puzzle that Simon doesn’t, which, again, is a unique take on such a trope, and made for a really interesting read.
Each different voice was clear and defined, which is a real achievement when writing for so many characters, from those that took up half the book and those that only had the odd chapter. It really made a difference to the impact of the book, and there were some stunners of quotes that made me well up with tears and laughter at times. It was a brilliant balance of emotions that came through the pages.
Another thing I really enjoyed was the magic system that was in place, using things like nursery rhymes and familiar phrases as spells, and different magical objects such as rings and belt buckles (that was hilarious) as a way of casting them, as well as wands. I’ve written about some different magic systems I’ve enjoyed before, but I would absolutely add this one to the list if I was writing this post again now!
Thanks for stopping by today. Be sure to come back again for daily blog posts with a slection of themes, all bookish in some way! I’ll be reviewing the rest of the Simon Snow series soon, too, so if you’ve enjoyed this one in particular, keep an eye out.