I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Release date: October 6th, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
Simon Snow just wants to relax and savor 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 and savor anything.
I absolutely loved Eleanor and Park, but haven’t read anything else by Rainbow Rowell and jumped at the opportunity to read Carry On when it appeared on NetGalley. What I did’t realize was that this book is a spin-off of Rowell’s third novel Fangirl. The characters in Carry On originally appeared in fan fiction written by Cath, a character from Fangirl (so like a story within a story). To me it was very, very similar to Harry Potter. Actually, it felt like I was reading a confusing Harry Potter fanfic. Confusing is the key word here, well that and boring. The plot went absolutely nowhere. The last 80-100 pages were an improvement, but the rest was just bland. It was a huge struggle to finish.
My main issues with Carry On were:
- The reader is thrown into a fantasy world that is already prebuilt. This is supposed to be the seventh book in a series and therefore you should already know what everything is. It’s also way too similar to Harry Potter. I cannot stress enough how much it bothered me. It completely lacked originality.
- The main characters, Simon and Baz, are basically Harry and Draco, but like a lot of fanfics, they are in love. The love/hate relationship was predictable and nothing new. I felt nothing for these characters and actually found Simon’s obsession with Baz to be very irritating.
- The supporting characters were underdeveloped. Penny and Agatha served no real purpose. I also didn’t get to know them or believe that they actually had a friendship with Simon. It was all rather forced.
Rainbow Rowell is an excellent writer. I have no doubt about that and will still read her other novels. Carry On has tons of hype when it was released and many people did seem to enjoy it. However, this book was just not for me.