Friday, 21 April 2017

{English} Carry On - Rainbow Rowell

For fans of: Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling, Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell, The Magisterium series - Holly Black, Cassandra Clare
Published: 2015 (St. Martin's Griffin)
Pages: 522



Blurb: 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' who ever had more on their mind than saving the world...

My opinion: What most people not seem to know is that Rainbow Rowell didn’t just write a Harry Potter fanfiction. First there was her novel “Fangirl” where the main character wrote fanfictions about a fictional character named Simon Snow. A fanfiction in a fictional novel. It was clear that the Simon Snow novels by Gemma T. Leslie were just a play on Harry Potter, even though Rowell mentioned Harry Potter in the novel – if I remember that correctly, it’s been a while.
There were bits and pieces of the fanfiction that Cath wrote in the novel, which made readers (including me) curious. Now I don’t know exactly how “Carry On” came to be, only that the character Cath used a similar title and that Rainbow Rowell did neither write down Cath’s fanfiction, nor Gemma T. Leslie’s story. It’s her own take on this whole “the chosen one”-trope and I think she did a very good job.
The threads between Harry Potter and every other story about magical (boarding) schools are visible, but that’s how the genre is, in my opinion. The “Magisterium” series by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare felt more like a fanfiction, despite everything they say. But that’s a different topic.
I sometimes caught myself comparing the characters to those in “Harry Potter”, but they didn’t fit in completely. That’s because they aren’t 1:1 copies and I love how Rainbow Rowell broke some stereotypes. There’s still a lot that could have been improved though.

It took me a few pages (or rather 50-60) to get into the story, because as I said – it’s a classic story about some special school. Just that Watford isn’t in Scotland but in England and that was something that bothered me. Are other countries not magical enough? At least it wasn’t set in some High School in the USA, because I’m not the biggest fan of that.
The kind of spells that are used in this book were fun and different. Of course, there’s no comparison to “Leviosa” and so on, but these were a witty way of variety.
The plot is a little chaotic sometimes, but it managed to keep me guessing about what’s happening next. I honestly didn’t see that ending coming.
What I really liked is that the reader is directly thrown into the story. Simon is already in his last year of school and already went through some adventures. I’m glad that Rainbow Rowell chose this way of telling Simons story, because I’m not sure if I would have read an entire series consisting of seven or eight books. (Not because I don’t like reading long series, on the contrary. Just not if it’s about another magical school.)
Another thing that I didn’t like was the perspective. It was written from the view of at least ten characters and they don’t have very different narrating voices. Why not use the third person in the first place?
The magicians here weren’t as separate from the “normal” world as in other books of this genre, which is something that often bothers me.

To sum things up, I enjoyed this a lot and I will continue to read Rainbow Rowell’s books.

My rating: 5/5 buttons

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