Review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Shameless self-confession: When I bought this book, every intention was to give this away for my TBTBSanta. I wasn’t going to read it or anything, since I had planned on reading Rowell’s Fangirl first. And if I’d liked that book, then I’d go ahead and read Carry On. All the same, at the first look of the cover, I’d narrowed my eyes (it’s a rather lovely cover, btw), then read the book jacket summary.

And almost said out loud–in the open, in The Frelling Strand–“WAIT. IS THIS ABOUT GAY WIZARDS. LIKE HARRY POTTER AND DRACO MALFOY FANFICTION?!”

By that point, I was foaming at the mouth and bought the book with EVERY INTENTION OF READING IT. Before I send it away to my TBTBSanta, of course.


by Rainbow Rowell
St. Martin’s Griffin, 2015
YA fantasy, romance
Rated: cookieratingcookieratingcookieratingcookieratingcookieratingย / 5 cookies

carryonSimon 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 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.

Gifly Thoughts

This is my first Rainbow Rowell story. People probably know this author because of how big Eleanor and Park got. Or maybe even from Fangirl. I’ve seen both books get pretty good reviews on the blogosphere (and my best friend loved EaP), and Fangirl is certainly on my TBR list, just because, honestly, how could I NOT have it on my TBR list?

What ultimately made me decide to start on a Rainbow Rowell journey, first and foremost, is that Carry On is her first fantasy. And frankly, fantasy is what I’m comfortable with.

So this book.

This. Book.



I think I fell in love with Baz even before he finally showed himself–quite ostentatiously–in the second part of the book. I think I fell in love with this story even knowing that it began like every wizarding school trope out there (with a focus on the Harry Potter character dynamic). Then it started teetering in the ridiculously dramatic, and all my expectations got turned around by the characters going out of their typical trope-embodiments.

The Chosen One has no idea what he’s doing. His best friend and sidekick is female and has no interest in snogging him whatsoever. His girlfriend’s completely a dud (IMO, easily my least favorite character ever), but that’s okay, because it turns out he’s kind of gay for his roommate. His roommate’s not altogether evil, but Dumbledore totally is.

That’s the kind of shit that can go down hard. Real fast. Real epically.

And lawdy. So. Much. DRAMA.

This is honestly my image of Simon Snow. I can’t. I CAN’T.

I loved every single bit of it. Especially the snogging. (Page 343, I’m talking to you!)

But let’s pretend I’m being objective about this book. Let’s pretend I’m being overly critical. Overly-critical!Mari would probably say that the plot–what there is of one–is absolutely convoluted and a mess. She would even say there wasn’t much of a plot at all. There was conflict and resolution, yes. But it was a downright mess, almost as much as the relationships were by the middle of the book.

On the other hand, hot damn. Rainbow Rowell can write. I didn’t even CARE that the plot was hard to follow, because I didn’t CARE about any of the plot (as far as the overall one, anyway). I just wanted to live along with Simon and Baz and Penelope on their final year at Watford. I wanted to be there when Baz talked down a dragon with a fuckingย nursery rhyme (and Simon’s help), wanted to be there when Natasha Grimm-Pitch went all “NOT MY SON YOU BITCH” on the vampires (okay, so that was when Baz was five, but whatever). There was a charm to this book, and most of it was because Rowell’s characters were so very much alive for me.

Seriously every time I think about this book. All about that plot, ’bout that plot, no treble ๐Ÿ˜‰

So yeah, the book was imperfect. I could have done without certain character POVs (which made the story even more messy). I could have done with less complication on the plot. I could have done with more Simon and Baz interaction (and MORE SNOGGING, DAMMIT).

But I loved it the way it was.

5 out of 5 cookies! I almost want to keep this copy of the book and send my TBTBSanta something else completely…


14 thoughts on “Review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

    1. I haven’t read Fangirl! Though I do know the main characters in Carry On are the number one obsession in Fangirl. I would probably suggest doing Fangirl first, because that had been my original plan, and if Carry On was any indication of Rowell’s writing, Fangirl is bound to be just as good ๐Ÿ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  1. So glad you liked this book! I LOVE #SNOWBAZ SO MUCH. (yes to the snogging – so much snogging but more please.)
    I especially like how Rowell took stereotypical plots we see in YA and twist them in a way that leaves it wholly unique. perfect gifs are absolutely perfect!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you so much for all of the presents! I am really glad you gifted me this book and the HP coloring book, you are a better person than me, because I really don’t know if I could give them away. ๐Ÿ™‚ I love the bookmark and bag! I am not going to lie I may have squealed a little when I saw the HP coloring book and Carry On. I am excited to try the Oppel book and to finally read Frankenstein. Your notes were so thoughtful and it was fun getting to know you through them. Also you really need to read Fangirl, because of so many reasons, but mainly because it does relate to Carry On. Also you can’t help falling for Levi in the story. I like that you use cookies as your ratings, I use cups of cocoa, so that kind of goes together. I have a feeling that Carry On will be a 5 cups of cocoa for me. Thank you again! You are awesome!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You will definitely have to let me know what you think about Carry On! And haha, yeah, the HP coloring book has been flying off the shelves lately! Glad you loved getting them.

      Fangirl is definitely on my priority list for the coming new year.

      Merry Christmas!


  3. Yes, Natasha Grimm-Pitch is amazing. But the last sentence is inaccurate: she never knew Baz was a vampire. She was busy fighting vampires when Baz was turned, and died in that same battle. In fact, she killed herself after being bitten, showing that she thought becoming a vampire was a fate worse than death. Baz certainly thinks she wouldn’t have let him live.

    But maybe that part was confusing — I wouldn’t know; I’ve read the book about five and a half times and discussed it with everyone who would listen, so I understand the plot pretty well.


    1. You’re probably right, and I remember the bit where Baz mentioned how he thought his mother would never have let him live if she’d known he was a vampire. I’ve only read the book once throughout, though, and I often just go back to bits and pieces of passages that I truly loved.

      The one that did stick out to me–and one I go back to often, which is probably why I have the scenario interpreted differently–was when Baz recalls the events of the vampire attack. There’s a brief instant in that one page where Baz and Natasha see each other, just before Baz gets bitten, and it’s a VERY brief instant. I like to think there is this rapid second where Natasha is still lucid enough to word out a spell that would blast her son along with her, but instead chooses to spend her last spell words to kill herself and the vampire that turned her.

      I took a pic of the passage, ’cause I forgot what page it was, haha:

      I might be wrong in my interpretation, but that was how I saw the scene go down. Natasha could very well not have seen the vampire that bit her son’s neck. I believe she was also ultimately acting upon protective instinct when she saw her son in an agonized circumstance. But I still find that there is a big, gray patch between Baz going unconscious and all the vampires being killed off, with Baz being the only survivor in the nursery. It makes me go back to thinking about that one instance where mother and son see each other for the last time, and the mother making a choice.

      Thanks for pointing this out, though! ๐Ÿ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

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