Book Review: Carry On

Summary: Carry On, by Rainbow Rowell, is a fantasy, wizard-ey, magical adventure novel starring the famed Simon Snow characters from Rainbow Rowell's realistic fiction novel, Fangirl. Simon is the Chosen One, the Greatest Mage, and he has the most power any magician has ever had. Unfortunately, he's never been very good at using it. As he begins another year at Watford School of Mages, he expects things to be normal, or at least, as normal as they ever are when the Humdrum is around. But when his roommate Baz goes missing and then mysteriously reappears a few months later after Simon has been visited by Baz's mother returned as a ghost with some mysterious instructions for her missing son, he finds himself caught up in what can be inferred is a classic Simon Snow adventure, full of magic, romance, and mysteries.

Review: So I should start this review by saying that I went into this book with VERY high expectations. I'd heard awesome things about it on book tube and from book bloggers, so I was really hyped for this book. I love Rainbow Rowell and I enjoyed Fangirl quite a bit, so I was really excited (but a little nervous) about this spinoff "fan fiction".

And I have to admit, I was disappointed.

Ok please don't attack me if you loved this book I'm sorry let me explain:

So for starters it was....a fan fiction. Basically. A really well written one for sure, but still, a fan fiction. Now don't get me wrong, I think fan fiction is an awesome thing. I have read some fanfics myself and I have friends who are very into fan fiction. I'm in no way trying to say fan fiction isn't an awesome art form that many people are into. But when I pick up a book from the library, a hardbound book by an esteemed author, I expect it to have a little more quality, a little more substance, than the average fan fiction. And this book just...didn't. I was essentially just a really really well done fan fiction. If this was a review of fan fiction then I would've given it five stars no sweat. But seeing that this was an actual published book, I had to go a little harder on it.

The characters themselves were very flat. Although I loved Baz and Simon, almost all the female characters in this story (especially Agatha) were just...not everything they could've been. And even Baz and Simon had pretty much one-track minds without many grey areas in their thinking, which I find add so much dimension and intrigue to a character. I wish Rowell would've built their characters a little stronger. Moreover, the plot of this book was incredibly predictable. I liked the Humdrum concept, but I foresaw it way earlier than I should've. I'm a big fan of really complex plots, so for me the lack of interesting plot sort of ruined the book for me. This is a specific Vivian quirk though, so I think that readers who enjoy more basic plots could've found this book very enjoyable.

The whole idea of the story itself was very much a Harry Potter knockoff. All the characters and the settings were essentially mirror images of the Harry Potter universe. I don't know, I for one feel like one Harry Potter is enough Harry Potter, I didn't really need this random, single novel other one. It just felt unoriginal and like, wow, I'm reading this again? But with new names? Weird.

As for Baz and Simon's relationship I have mixed feelings. Let's start with the bad-- TOO MUCH KISSING. Honestly, all they did was make out for like three chapters. It became excessive for sure. Not to mention they jumped from sworn enemies to boyfriends in like three sentences tops. It was impressive to say the least. I would've enjoyed seeing the relationship have been built up more intentionally, to give it a firmer grounding as well as make it more interesting and realistic overall.

But the good; I'm sorry but Baz and Simon are freaking adorable. I ship it so hard to be honest. If I'm speaking from my fangirl side (not my scholarly literary nut side) BAZ IS SO AMAZING I LOVE HIM SO MUCH. So yeah, he's rad. I mean, come on, he's a VAMPIRE. It's too good to not like. I found him a more likable Draco. I certainly enjoyed reading about Baz wayyyy more then I ever enjoyed reading about Draco.

Sort of leading off of that, this book was overall...cute. I don't really know how else to describe it. The story and the spells and the settings were all super cute. It was a warm, fuzzy, cozy book to read for sure. Like, the Insidious Humdrum? I cannot think of a more cute name for a villain. It's adorable and makes me want to read this book while wearing bunny slippers and drinking tea or something.

So overall I have mixed feelings about this book. I went into it expecting something and got something totally different, and I'm not sure how I feel about it. Was this book predictable and a bit redundant? Yes. Was it a cute, warm, fuzzy book that made me want to draw Baz fan art? Also yes. So I suppose you'll have to read this book and decide whether you love this style of writing or not. For me, personally, it was probably my least favorite Rainbow Rowell book so far. But that's just my opinion.

What did you think of Carry On? Did you love it like most readers? Do you disagree with everything I just said? Do you ship Baz and Simon as much as I do (like a lot a lot)? Comment below!


  1. i'm sorry you didn't love it vivian! :( it's so disappointing when you go into a book with high expectations and then it lets you down. i haven't read any of rainbow rowell's books yet, but Fangirl is kind of on my tbr!

    enjoyed reading this post!!

    1. Ah well, they can't all be favorites can they? I do like Rainbow Rowell most of the time though, I would recommend Eleanor and Park most, as that was my personal favorite of her books that I've read. Fangirl is great too though!

  2. Even though I loved this book, I do see what you mean about it being like fan fiction :-)
    I love Baz, too! And I also ship Baz and Simon so hard!
    Great review!

    1. Thanks Jollygirl! Glad you enjoyed it--yessssss ship them so muchhhh ahh so cute haha. Baz is the bomb XD