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Book Review: Carry On, Rainbow Rowell

Carry On

Title: Carry On
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Published: 25/02/2016, Macmillan
Pages: 518
Source: Netgalley/Bought
Format: Ebook/Paperback
Rating: 3/5
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 Watford School of Magicks, and Simon's infuriating nemesis didn't even bother to show up.
Carry On is a love letter to love stories and the power of words - to every "chosen one" whoever had more on their mind than saving the world...

After reading Fangirl earlier this year, I made it my mission to read another Rainbow Rowell novel by the end of the year. So, naturally, I chose Carry On. Now I loved Fangirl and I was expecting to love Carry On but, although I definitely found the story enjoyable, it fell a bit short for me. Like something was missing.

Now I didn't find Carry On original at all really. Right from the start, I could smell the Harry Potter all over this book. There were just so many similarities. However, I did actually manage to eventually look past these similarities and enjoy Carry On for what it was - a fun-filled YA fantasy.

Carry On is set in the magical school of Watford. This, of course, relates very well to the characters as 90% of them are teenage wizards. However, one thing about the magical setting that kind of irked me was the spell incantations. They were just normal everyday phrases. I'd be forever worried in case I accidently did some magic!

The characters were all fairly likeable, but I didn't feel too connected with them. Simon is quite adorable and I kind of liked that he wasn't a very good chosen one. He's not the best when it comes to magic. However, I did think him a bit annoying, especially when he came across as being a bit dim, and rash at times. Baz is quite awesome thought and cocky. I did kind of love him. Penelope is a character that all the bookworms can relate to. She definitely keeps Simon on the straight and narrow.

Carry On is told from the first-person perspective of so many characters. This was a clever way of gradually giving the reader clues. However, I did find the constant change of perspective a bit confusing (some chapters last less than a page!).

I found a lot of Carry On unpredictable, however, I did guess the mystery behind Simon and the Humdrum fairly early on. So, in that aspect, the ending was sort of expected. However, I still loved the ending as it was pretty climatic and I couldn't put the book down until I finished. However, I felt there were parts of the story I was still unclear about. There were a lot of little plots scattered throughout the story.

I did enjoy Carry On though not as much as I enjoyed Fangirl. I think it took me a while to get past the similarities to Harry Potter and I didn't connect with the characters as well as I'd have hoped. I will definitely be reading more Rainbow Rowell though as she's a fantastic storyteller. I would recommend Carry On to fans of YA fantasy - although I think I'm about the last person to read it!

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