Thursday, October 15, 2015

Review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Title: Carry On

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Rating: 4.5 Stars

I didn't expect to love Carry On nearly as much as I actually did. Admittedly, I've been shipping Simon and Baz ever since Fangirl but mostly, I came away from Fangirl dying over Cath and Levi (obviously). I adored their story and enjoyed Simon and Baz's interactions along the way. But Carry On? Oh. My. God. I will die with this ship. Seriously. Rainbow Rowell characterizes Simon and Baz perfectly, tracing their violent past, their "hatred" for one another, and transforming into a completely believable, utterly adorable, entirely sexy romance.

Now, that's not to say that Carry On is a perfect novel. To me, its strength lies in the fact that I fell so hard for these characters and their interactions. In fact, my rating is a primarily emotional one: I love Simon and Baz, separately but mostly together. What I will say, criticizing this book, is that it feels like a part of a whole. Loosely based off of Harry Potter, Rowell's "fanfiction" lacks the length of Rowling's epic. We don't know the intimate details of Simon's past six years; his relationship with the Mage (think: Dumbledore) as it developed over time, his friendship with Penelope (think: Hermione's brains with Ron's loyalty and his large family) or his relationship with his girlfriend, Agatha. While Rowell does an excellent job of truly fleshing out these core secondary characters, especially as they relate to Simon, there are still gaps that are felt in the narrative.

Additionally, Rowell's world and plot is quite different from Rowling's, though I'd argue quite complex, but it's difficult to get a strong grasp on it since we don't have prequels of world-building the way we do when reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I really love Carry On for what it is but when compared to other fantasy novels, it definitely comes off as lacking. Moreover, the deaths and emotional aspects of this book were relatively lost on me, both because I didn't have a strong connection to all of the secondary characters (some who play really important roles towards the end) and also because the romance feels were so overwhelmingly in this narrative. Now, that's not to say that the romance takes over or is the focus but it's a huge part, at least in that the romance contributes to the growth of the two leads immensely.

I still, though, loved Rowell's latest. It's my favorite of her YA line-up, though Fangirl comes in a close second (though Attachments is still unbeatable IMO). Carry On was un-put-down-able for me and I read it all in one sitting, devouring Simon and Baz's story and their incredible romance. I love nothing more than copious amounts of sexual tension, fantastical elements, and an epic reveal that changes the trajectory of the plot and Carry On had all those elements. Plus, Rowell drops in plenty of diverse characters, which I appreciate so much and her writing, as always, is impeccable. If you're a fan of Fangirl this is obviously a must-read but if you're a fan of romance, in general, or are just craving a different type of love story from the all-too-familiar, then Carry On isn't to be missed. I want more romances like this: where I can root for the main characters regardless of gender or sexual orientation or race and just be caught up in the love. One thing I'm certain of, having finishing this novel, is that carry on I simply cannot; I'm going to be stuck in this world for a long time to come.


  1. I haven’t read Fangirl and while I’ve seen Carry On around I’ve dismissed it. You definitely made me want to rethink my decision. Gorgeous review, as always!

  2. I just love being stuck in a world, sigh, happy feels! I want to feel the world, that is a good book.

  3. AH!!!! I can't wait to read this one Keertana! I loved the little snippets we got in Fangirl, so I was giddy when I heard she was writing a full novel.

    And this?:

    "I want more romances like this: where I can root for the main characters regardless of gender or sexual orientation or race and just be caught up in the love."


  4. I need to read this one. I didn't know it was inspired by HP. Oh inspired by but making it her own. Yea, this is one you have me completely curious about. Plus, I need to read a book by her and this one is hitting the top of that list!

  5. Ahh I'm so happy to see that you loved this one!! To be honest, I wasn't really invested at all in Simon and Baz in FANGIRL (like you, I was all about Cath and Levi) but I am still pretty excited for this one! I can see why it would be a little underdeveloped as a fantasy, but since it's a fanfic, I'lll be a little more lenient. Wonderful review, I'm glad you had such a great time reading this one!!

  6. *hides* I'm that one person who didn't absolutely adore Fangirl, but you've convinced me to give Rowell another try Keertana. If the fact that you gave this 4.5 stars wasn't enough motivation, the romance and the fantasy elements sound absolutely amazing. Thanks for sharing and, as always, gorgeous review! ♥

  7. Once again, brilliant review, Keertana! I love this book. And while I haven't read any of the HP books, I think Carry On reverberates some of the elements in those books (especially, characters).

  8. I'm really intrigued by the idea of the inspiration for Carry On, but I wasn't a huge fan of Fangirl. I enjoyed Fangirl, but I felt like it was too hyped up. I plan on giving Carry On a shot, but I won't put my expectations too high and maybe I'll love it as much as you seem to!

  9. i keep hearing how wonderful her writing is, but I never actually got to read it myself ;/

  10. I know Lauren and Carina loved the romance in Carry On too, so I have high hopes that I will fall in love with Simon and Baz! I think it's interesting that it's a fantasy a la Harry Potter but at the same time it's "meant" to be fanfiction, so the worldbuilding is going to feel quite different. A little too much meta for my head this morning! :P

    Great review as always!

  11. Wow!! Leave it to Rainbow Rowell to come up with a story like this. This is the perfect book for fans of fantasy stories, and especially for anyone who loves a good twist on LGBT fiction.

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