This book is EVERYTHING. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell is an anomaly of a book for even getting the opportunity to be published. The story’s inception happened in the popular YA contemporary novel Fangirl (also by Rowell – also a favorite of mine and you can read my review here LINK) about a fanfic author named Cath who has serious feels for the characters in the Simon Snow series. Cath writes slash fanfic about Simon Snow (very similar to Harry Potter) and Baz (very similar to Draco Malfoy) and Rainbow’s newest book Carry On picks up in their eighth year at Watford as the supposed final novel in the series. Us as readers have insight into their world through Cath’s Fangirl fanfic and knowledge of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
I had already fallen in love with Simon and Baz through Cath’s intense love for them so while I was skeptical about Carry On, I was always planning on reading it and hopefully enjoying it as an extension of Fangirl. Carry On ended up being so much more than that. It’s a story in it’s own right and I’m amazed at how Rowell was able to pick up the story as if seven others books has already been published and read by fans picking up this one. The worldbuilding is phenomenal and I never felt confused about the prior events. There is a healthy amount of exposition within the first 50 pages or so and it’s engaging enough to keep the reader hooked until her original story begins to shine through. When people told me that The Magicians by Lev Grossman was Harry Potter for adults, I was severely disappointed (read my review here) LINK. Carry Onis actually Harry Potter for adults. The characters are in their 8th year of schooling so the situations they face and their dialogue is more mature in their nature. I really really really wish that there would be more books in this series because I loved it so very much.
For each character in Carry On, there is a definitive parallel counterpart in Harry Potter. In addition to Simon and Baz who I previously compared, we also have The Mage (Dumbledore), Ebb (Hagrid), Penelope (a Ron Weasley / Hermione Granger mash up) and the Humdrum (Voldemort). One of the best aspects of Rainbow Rowell’s writing is her ability to capture the feelings of romance between characters and Carry On is no exception. My heart was melting when I devoured certain scenes and it broke my heart each time I had to put the book down to go to work. The characters are compelling and well developed and all of the outside knowledge the reader goes into with just enhances the experience. The characters spend their time in the story unraveling a small mystery in addition to something much bigger involving several Mage wars. I don’t want to give anything at all away about the plot because it’s so perfect that it deserves to be experienced for the first time while reading it through.
Final Thoughts: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell is a literary dream come true for anyone who spent their youth reading and writing fanfiction (especially Harry Potter fanfiction). The characters will capture your heart and the romance will have you swooning beyond belief. Rainbow Rowell gets it. It’s not necessary to have read Fangirl first in order to enjoy Carry On but I did very much appreciate having fallen in love with Simon and Baz through Cath’s eyes before Carry On was ever announced. Carry On is a really fun, snarky, fantasy read and I would recommend it to anyone looking for adult Harry Potter.
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. (via Goodreads)