Book Review – Carry On

November 13, 2015 Reviews 10 ★★★★½

Book Review – Carry OnCarry On by Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Date Published: October 6th 2015
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 528
Rating: four-half-stars
Description: #1 New York Times bestselling author! 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 starts 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 - The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow is a ghost story, a love story and a mystery. It has just as much kissing and talking as you'd expect from a Rainbow Rowell story - but far, far more monsters. as you'd expect from a Rainbow Rowell story - but far, far more monsters.

Lynnpic Lynn’s Review:

Simon is the “Chosen One”.  “The worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.”

Who else but Rainbow Rowell would write a brilliant book based on her own fan fiction characters from Fangirl.

Carry On is both fantasy and romance. Magic plays a huge part in the plot. Simon is the most powerful mage who ever existed. But he has no clue how to actually use or control his magic. Hopefully, it’s not to spoiler-y to say that Carry On is also a romance. Baz is in love with Simon, and has been for years. I love this passage of Baz’s.

“I feel 15 again, like I’m going to give in if he gets too close – kiss him or bite him. The only reason I got through that year was that I couldn’t decide which of those options would finally put me out of my misery.”

Baz and Simon are roommates, have been since the first year of school. And they have been trying to destroy each other ever since. But this year, Baz and Simon form a truce. To help Baz find his mother’s killer. And to help Simon fight the Humdrum.

I started out having some issues reading Carry On. The first being that I kept comparing all of the characters and scenes to the Harry Potter books. The second issue is slightly related, in that Carry On takes place during Simon’s last year at Watford. And that is really like reading Deathly Hallows, the last book in a series, without having read the previous six. But once I let both of those ideas go, the reading was much smoother. Let me just say, the only things Carry On and the Harry Potter books have in common are the setting of a magical boarding school and a chosen one. Don’t compare Simon to Harry or Baz to Draco. You will only be shortchanging yourself as a reader.

The first section of Carry On was very slow for me. Loads of Simon obsessing over why Baz hasn’t returned to school yet. But not doing anything about it besides wandering the grounds of Watford hoping Baz will turn up. But then Baz Open Sesame‘s the doors and blasts his way into the story, and into my heart. I imagine it was a bit like this: 

(Oh, by the way, all the spells are common phrases.) (And Ms. Rowell uses tons of parenthetical sentences.) (Both of which I LOVED.)
But once Baz returns to Watford, I found the pace of the story picked up considerably. And I was much more interested in reading it. I think Baz is one of Ms. Rowell’s best book boyfriend creations. He pines for Simon, is also Simon’s arch-nemesis, is a not-so secret vampire, and is totally dreamy. 

As for the plot, the reveal seemed obvious to me, and I am not one of those people who normally guesses what is coming. I felt like shaking Simon and his friends and yelling at them as they never did figure out the whole of it.

I want to share some of my favorite spells with you. As I honestly think these are superb:

These aren’t the droids you’re looking for – to hide Simon’s magical wings and tail.


Easy come, Easy go. Little high, little low. It would be a spoiler for me to tell you what this spell is for. But seriously QUEEN lyrics!


Paper beats rocks – to fight of the numptie trolls.


Come out, come out, wherever you are! It’s show time! Scooby-Dooby-Doo, where are you! – while Simon is looking for Baz

These are just an example of some of the spells. They are all really aces.

And the last line of Carry On was just perfect.

Do you need to have read Fangirl to read Carry On? No, I suppose not. But you should read it anyway! And you should read Carry On. As a stand-alone. As a companion novel. Whichever. Just read it. 

(And sorry, not sorry, for all the Harry Potter Gifs. I know I said not to compare the two, but until there is a Simon Snow movie, this is all I have to work with.) 

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Rating Report
Overall: 4.5

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10 Responses to “Book Review – Carry On”

  1. Kayl

    I’ve been wanting to read this for a while, but I was a bit confused on the plot. Thanks for clearing that up for me. I haven’t gotten around to reading Fangirl yet, but I love Rainbow Rowell so it’s great to know that she didn’t disappoint.

    I think we need more wizards in the world of books.

    Great review!
    -Kayl @ Kayl’s Krazy Obsession
    Kayl recently posted…What to Do If a Book Sucks

    • Lynn

      I agree with you on all points, Kayl. And Fangirl is my favorite Rainbow Rowell book. But Carry On is second!

  2. Julie S.

    LOL the spells sound really funny and sounds like this one has a lot of pop culture easter eggs, which can be lots of fun. But if it was a slow start for you, I would probably not be able to handle it lol. You probably also need to have read Fangirl first, right? Which I still need to do.

    • Lynn

      Nah – I don’t think you NEED to read Fangirl first. But you should read it anyway! And yes, the beginning was really slow. You just have to power through!

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