You know, recently some of my favorite bands had comebacks, and I told a friend of mine that I was screaming about it, and to that, she said I was “perpetually screaming.” As I write this now, I see she was right; there’s always something for me to scream about.
Today, it’s Carry On by Rainbow Rowell.
Carry On is actually a fanfiction — erm, well, “fanfiction.” In one of Rowell’s other books, Fangirl (click the title to see my review on it), Cath, the main character, wrote fanfiction about Simon Snow (that world’s version of Harry Potter). There were seven books in the World of Mages series, and Cath was on a mission to finish Carry On (the fanfiction) and to wrap everything up her own way before the eighth book came out. In the author’s note of Carry On, Rowell says, “When I finished [Fangirl], I was able to let go of Cath and her boyfriend, Levi, and their world. I felt like I was finished with their story…. But I couldn’t let go of Simon.”
So she wrote Carry On, and I have another thing to scream about.
Since we all know how bad I am at writing synopses, let’s copy and paste what the inside jacket says:
“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, 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.”
So there you have it.
As for my review, I gave it 5/5 stars on Goodreads. The last book I gave a 5 star rating to was An Ember in the Ashes, but before that (excluding graphic novels, because all of Ms. Marvel and Saga gets 5 stars), the last book was Station Eleven, which I read early in the year (I think… Is it still 2015?) Anyway, what made it so wonderful was the sheer genius of it.
Rainbow Rowell managed to make a world that more or less mirrors the Harry Potter world we all love so much without stepping on any toes (or wands). There are sometimes clear connections (Simon = Harry; Baz = Draco; the Mage = Dumbledore; etc), but it doesn’t take away from the story at all. I love the way it’s written; Carry On is supposed to be the final book, but because it’s a stand-alone book, there are things added so the reader doesn’t feel dropped into the middle of the story. Reading Carry On isn’t like reading Deathly Hallows when you haven’t read the previous HP books, which I really appreciate. There’s context.
The love story is precious. Super super super precious, and I don’t handle cute very well (does anyone? I always squirm and grin widely and cover my face.) I was reading in the library and had to put it down for a few moments and rest my head on the table because of the cute.
If I have one complaint — and it’s one I just realized, hours after having finished — it’s that Nicodemus didn’t get his story wrapped up. You’ll see what I mean if you end up reading it, but he got interrupted, and then who knows what happened to him. Other than that, it’s utter perfection.
So do you have to read Fangirl to accompany Carry On? Or vice versa?
Well, you certainly don’t need to read Carry On to get Fangirl, since the latter came first, but I’d recommend reading Fangirl before reading Carry On. You get a bit more context, that way, and you get to know the characters a little before they go off on adventures (which means you end up caring about them before you even read their story). Really, either could be a stand-alone, but that’s just what I recommend.
Overall, in conclusion, whatever, Carry On is a stunning read, and I highly enjoyed it (obviously). Go out and get yourself a copy at the bookstore, or get in line at the library.