by Rainbow Rowell
I read Carry On for my mom’s club book club. We’re not discussing it until October, but I loved Rowell’s novel, Eleanor and Park, so much that I was very excited to read another one of her books. I literally knew nothing about the plot or characters, so I was genuinely surprised to start reading and discover it was a fantasy novel. As I just finished reading the first Harry Potter book, I was struck with how similar the two were at first, but then I was reminded a lot of the Twilight series (disclaimer, I’ve only seen the movies, not read the books). I love Rowell’s writing style, so I was quickly drawn into her novel and caught up in her clever, intriguing plot. I was rooting for the characters from the beginning and I was totally blindsided by the twist at the end! That being said, this book is not a favorite. I think the biggest drawback for me was the story line between Simon and Baz. Carry On was the first book I’ve read with a gay couple, so I found relating to it difficult. Honestly, I didn’t hate it, but I also didn’t love it.
Simon is a magickal student at Watford who has never known his parents. He has a difficult time controlling his magic even though he has more magic in him than anyone he knows, other than the Mag who runs the school and has taken Simon under his wing. Simon’s roommate is a vampire named Baz and the two are sworn enemies and his best friend is Penelope. They are all in their final year of school, but this year is different because the Insidious Humdrum is making magic disappear all over England in circular pockets, and they must stop him. The book follows their journey to stop the Humdrum and keep peace within the magickal world. The parallel story line follows Simon and Baz who shift from enemies to lovers and friends when they realize that they need to work together to stop the Humdrum. Spoiler: in the end they figure out that the Mag fathered Simon to make the most powerful magician in order to bring peace. But the Mag has let power get to his head and instead of allowing Simon to defeat the Humdrum, he wants to take all of Simon’s power. Simon figures this out and is able to give all his power to the Humdrum, thereby destroying him and healing the holes (that were actually caused by Simon using so much magic). Simon is left with no magic, but it’s okay because he has Baz and peace is achieved. I definitely loved the tidy, sweet ending . . . yes, I’m a sucker for happy endings . . . we all know this by now! 😉
Summing it up: I loved Rowell’s writing, but as I didn’t love the story, I would not necessarily recommend it.
All the best, Abbey