Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

carry on rainbow rowell

# of Pages: 517

Time it took me to read: 5 days

# of pages a day to finish in a week: 74

Rating: 5 out of 5

Simon Snow is different. Well, he goes to a school for magicians, so that’s pretty different, but he’s even more different than his peers. He is supposed to be “The Chosen One” the magician to save the whole World of Mages from the Insidious Humdrum, the magic-eating villain that seeks to destroy them all. But even as Simon returns to his final year at Watford School of Magicks, he still can’t control his magic and might just be the worst magician in their year. But it’s not like he can focus anyway, what with his lifelong nemesis and roommate, Baz, missing and probably plotting his demise. Everyone is counting on Simon Snow, but time is running short and, well, it’s not like Simon asked to be chosen.


I’m super excited guys, this is my second 5-star review in a row! Hopefully all the books I read in July are this good, but I seriously doubt it. No kidding, this is probably the best book I’ve read in 2017 so far.

Teachers and friends have been recommending Rainbow Rowell to me for years, but whenever I’ve seen Fangirl or Elenor & Park on shelves, I always find myself getting distracted by something else. But let me tell you, Carry On caught my attention right away. The blurb makes it sound sort of like a spoof of Harry Potter. And if anything is at all related to Harry Potter, I am so down.

This book is brilliant for a lot of reasons, but the one that really hooked me is that the beginning part of the book is totally similar to Harry Potter, or really any other magical “Chosen One” motif. It is seriously laugh-out-loud funny, and honestly, I probably would have liked the book a lot even if that’s all it was supposed to be, a spoof of the genre. But while that was the hook that drew me in, this book was so, so much more than just a spoof.

I very rarely read books that are so funny that they make me snort-laugh and so sweet and romantic that I say “awwww” and squeal while I’m in public places. But this was one of those books. I am just absolutely in love with all of the characters. Simon Snow has all of the angst of Harry in Book 5, and all the talent and control of Seamus Finnegan in Book 1. Penelope Bunce is the perfect brilliant, take-no-shit sidekick, while Agatha is every girl who’s ever stayed in a relationship because its easier that way. And Baz…well, Baz is the dream of every single person who ever wanted Draco Malfoy to turn good and join the golden trio (apologies for all of the Harry Potter references. For those of you who don’t get them…why are you reading this review when you could be reading Harry Potter?).

One of my biggest worries while I was making my way through this book is that it would somehow have an ending that was really similar to Harry Potter, which would totally have been a cop-out. But I had nothing to worry about, for it was really only the first 150 pages that really drew upon spoofy clichés to entice you in. The rest of the book was magically original.

Okay, this has been another sort of ranty review, sorry about that. But I can’t help but rave about this book. I’ve already been shoving in the face of everybody that I know and telling them to read it. Anyone who is a fan of Harry Potter, or anything in the fantasy genre, really, will love this book, I promise you. If I had the money, I’d buy 25 copies of it and send it as a gift to everybody I know who’s ever read a book. That is how much I believe in the power of this story. I simply want everybody to be talking about it.

Ahem. I’ll try and reign it in and treat this as a real critique, now. Stylistically, Rainbow Rowell is beyond compare, her words weave a magical world that is, somehow, totally realistic. Like, if magic existed, for real, I’m betting this is exactly what it would be like. There are dragons and nymphs, but the spell work is logical and practical, like the kinds of spells that would be useful to everyday folks, not just heroes off on adventures. This would be the kind of magical world that I’d like to live in. Not really scary at all, but whimsically delightful. Rowell has this light, airy style of writing that I would so like to be able to emulate.

I already talked about the characters a bit, but one of the things I really loved was the absolute depth and originality of the whole cast of characters. These characters will be off doing predictable things one minute, and then they’ll totally blindside you with some unique insight or decision that makes them really unlike any sort of trope or cliché you could possibly compare them to.

Really, I could go on and on, but I think I’ll sign off with a view quotes and let the rest of the book speak for itself. First off, one of the reviews on the back of the book, from The Atlantic, says “Come for the makeouts and stay for the magic.” While I think that makes a super quotable one-liner, I found that I “Came for the magic and stayed for a wonderfully zany cast of characters and a well-developed plot that had me hankering for more even though this is a stand alone novel.” Not as quotable, but more accurate if I do say so myself.

This last quote is from the book itself, and I think it accurately exemplifies the frustrations of every single person who has ever read a book like Harry Potter that takes place in a magical world that exists alongside our own mundane one.

“‘I would have contacted you, sir.’ (I can contact him, if I need to. I have his mobile number.)”

The magicians use cell phones and other modern technology! It just makes sense.

I wish I had a real criticism to give this book, but I honestly don’t have anything bad to say about it. So I’ll just end with telling you to go and read Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, if you know what’s good for you. And once you do, comment on this review or send me a message or something so we can talk about it!


If you liked Carry On, try: The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan

      Magyk by Angie Sage

Maximum Ride by James Patterson

Vampires Kisses by Ellen Schreiber

2 thoughts on “Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

  1. I’m living for your five star reviews. You can honestly tell how much you love this book, so I’m obviously going to have to borrow it from you. I hope July is your 5 star streak!

    Liked by 1 person

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