Carry On: The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow by Rainbow Rowell | in book reviews

Carry On: The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow by Rainbow Rowell | in book reviews

Begins with Simon Snow, an orphan and magician, returning to his last year at Watford School of Magicks to finish his studies and hopefully finish off the magic-eating monster that has been threatening his safety as well as the existence of a magical world as they know it.

Simon is not your average magician. He plays the role of the ‘Chosen One’ or savior, a job that he isn’t at all enthusiastic about. Unlike other magicians, Snow’s magic is chaotic and unpredictable and he has minimal control over it. “Raw, scalding, scorching magic… Which is how Simon’s magic feels.”— Penelope, Chapter 23

His circle of friends consists of Penelope Bunce, a chubby, half-Indian half-American witch with light brown skin and dark hair.A know-it-all that that is not afraid of trouble or danger and his girlfriend, Agatha who is posh and beautiful and likes to stick to the rules.

He has an obsession/admiration with Baz, the boy he has shared a room with since he started at Watford. Also the boy who is an unconfirmed blood eater and his sworn nemesis.

Characters were fully fleshed out. Every character in the book had some sort of backstory that was tied up to the main story.

Tyrannus Basilton Grimm-Pitch aka Baz. There’s so much depth to Baz. He is not just the posh, intelligent and capable antagonist. There’s so much to him that meets the eye— and it was also fun to confirm the fact that Simon is not exaggerating. When we see Baz’ side of things, it’s clear he is always provoking Simon.

There were some characters that I completely disliked or didn’t care for.

The mage is the manipulative sort. Doesn’t allow Simon’s friends to contact him over the summer. Tries to segregate him from everyone else. He is in charge of the World of Mages. He was arrogant and a complete displeasure.

Agatha was another character that I didn’t very much like or care for but I could understand her position and she does redeem herself in the end.

Colorful language. Look out for cussing/strong language such as “He’s the same on the field as he is everywhere else. Strong. Graceful. Fucking ruthless.” —Simon, Chapter 2. It doesn’t bother me but it’s worth mentioning in case that’s not your cup of tea.

Magical creatures such as the dryads, pixies, goblins, etc. There are fantastic locations mentioned throughout the book such as The Wavering Wood, The Weeping Tower, etc. Quirky school rules apply such as the Roommate’s Anathema which only applies to roommates. “She’s right. He can’t. Our rooms are spelled against betrayal— the Roommate’s Anathema” Chapter 5, Simon

Fast-paced. Hooks you at the very beginning and there’s no way to stop until you reach the end.

Humor. The dry and sarcastic wit from the characters had me laughing so many times.

Slow-burn romance. You don’t see it coming but when it is finally laid out there, it is such a satisfying feeling— after all the tension, all the messy and chaotic things that have happened.

Realism. One of the characteristics that make Rainbow Rowell’s books so addicting is her knack for adding realism to situations, characters. The emotions are often raw and situations are something an individual can relate to. It’s impossible to not get attached to her characters or the worlds she creates. I don’t even like romance, can’t digest the fluff or gushing (unless it’s fandom) and yet I love all of Rainbow Rowell’s books— that should tell you … everything.

Unique details. Carry On was born out of Fangirl (a previous book written by Rainbow Rowell) in which the main character, Cath, writes about a fiction book called Carry On. I’ll be honest… I wanted so badly to read Carry On after reading bits and pieces in Fangirl and I am so glad that Rainbow Rowell decided to make it into an actual book.

Carry on is the first book in the series and Wayward Son is the sequel. Carry On is composed of Book One—Four followed by the epilogue.

Themes: War. Enemies to lovers. Fantasy. Past tragedy. Madness. Romance. LGBTQ.


Blurb from the back of the book

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 of 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, and a mystery. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell novel— but far, far more monsters.

First person point of view. The entire book is written in first person point of view which isn’t a favorite for me but I can disregard it if the stories and details are good enough. Which brings me to my second point…

Different perspectives. The story switches from Simon Snow to Penny Bunce to Agatha, the Mage, Baz and even other voices. We get a perfect insight into everyone’s mind.

The title of the book is mentioned in page 474, a detail I am always excited about.

The cover is very eye-catching, vibrant and portrays Simon and Baz with the monster on the background.

The spine of the book is also nicely detailed.

Font is perfectly readable.

Illustrations can be found at the start of each book.

The book contains a vibrant map of Watford and an iconic quote you will understand once you finish reading the book. “You were the sun… And I was crashing into you.”

Audiobook. Ironically, after purchasing a physical copy of the book, my library approved me for the audio book. It was a great companion to the book and if you are trying to decide between the two, both the audiobook and physical book are worth it.

Final Thoughts

The ending, while I predicted a few parts, blew me away— completely. It all tied up so nicely and perfectly that I have no complains.

If I had to rate this book based on stars, it would be 5 stars/positive. Time it took me to finish this book: It took me two days and on the second day, I pulled an all-nighter because I couldn’t put it down.

Memorable Quotes

There are a plethora of amazing quotes from the book so I chose one that made me laugh and that I could equally relate to.

“People who tell you that slamming and bashing into things won’t make you feel better haven’t slammed or bashed enough”— Simon Snow

Are you planning to read this? Let me know what you thought about it!

Thank you for reading!~