Magical. More-ish. Meta?
I knew me and this book were going to have a rocky relationship.
Let me start by saying that I did not fall in love with Fangirl, and Cather’s fan fiction was were I found myself the least interested. I just skimmed them because I was more interested in the main action and emotion, you know?
That said, I was intrigued. Having seen so many rave reviews about Carry On (and a m/m ship? Hello! Yes please!) I grabbed it when I saw it on the ‘featured’ shelf in my library. It’s a safe decision because if I ended up not liking it, I wasn’t losing out since it was only borrowed and not bought.
So what did I actually think?
Carry On, for me, was never going go sit pretty in my mind. I’m the right age that I literally grew up WITH Harry Potter. I started reading The Philosopher’s Stone when I was 11, and it was about the same time that Prisoner of Azkaban came out. So when the franchise finished I was 18.
Harry Potter WAS my teens. I lived it and breathed it.
So it was impossible for me to successfully separate the two books in a way that satisfied my imagination. Carry On is a pastiche, a homage to the world of Harry Potter and any attempt to make it seem otherwise just was’t working for me. Even if it was sometimes written with tongue firmly in cheek.
What I will say is that Rainbow Rowell has a mighty pen. She writes with a wit and zest that I truly envy. I enjoyed how there is also a realness to the voices in the narrative. they swear, they say silly things and think sillier. And when it comes to character interaction and emotion, she’s the master. Rowell creates such compelling characters and I was invested in the developing relationships.
The plot however… I just didn’t get it. In places it felt weak, and then there were times where I just didn’t get it. I still don’t understand the mechanics of Snow’s ‘shadow’ self. What the what? I know HP often chases its own tail, but there is always a bigger purpose. In Carry On, however, I didn’t feel like the ‘big bad’ was that big or that bad. From what I remember from Cather’s fan fiction in Fangirl, the Humdrum is much more terrifying and dangerous.
To be fair, it’s like trying to read The Deathly Hallows without having read the other books first.. and that’s why there is such a massive info-dump in the beginning. Snow has to tell us EVERYTHING.
But hey, don’t get me wrong. I liked this book a lot.
Oh Baz. I live and breathe for you.
If it weren’t for his character, and specifically the parts written from his perspective, I wouldn’t have enjoyed this book half as much. His character is so multi-faceted. He’s all at once perfect and utterly flawed. As a reader, I devoured his pages.
“You were the sun, and I was crashing into you.”
The budding relationship between Simon and Baz was a dream to read as it grew and figured itself out. I felt bad for Agatha though- she got the shitty end of the stick from everyone!
Overall, I like this book. The writing style is right up my street and the characters are great. It’s a good read, but I think it might be too meta for me to go ahead and give it a full five stars.
Concept – 3/5
Plot – 2/5
Ending or Twist – 3/5
Overall – 3/5
(Borrowed from my local library. Opinions borrowed from no one.)