10 Reasons to Read Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
I recently finished Carry On by Rainbow Rowell and I ADORED it. I admit that I was a bit skeptical in the beginning about whether I would like Simon or the story, but I sincerely enjoyed it. While it’s often likened to Harry Potter fanfiction, and it’s almost definitely something of a parody of HP, it has great individual elements.
LGBTQ+ Romance Between a Boy and His Vampire
Fair warning, this doesn’t happen until like halfway through the book. I KNOW! I was beyond confused when I started reading and Simon had a girlfriend because part of me thought it would be 100% romantic tension between Simon (aka the Chosen One) and Baz (aka Draco in the dark). That being said, now that I’m done the book I appreciate the slow burn of this relationship. It wasn’t instalove, it was something that had been growing for awhile, and finally made itself known. And it is adorable. Simon is also surprisingly calm as a partner despite otherwise seeming like a ball of tension and stress.
A Magic System That You Would Have Never Thought Of
In Rainbow Rowell’s world, words are what make magic. Magicians cast magic by using popular phrases. For example, “shut the front door” for could be used to close doors with magic. Or possibly interpreted to make someone ‘shut up’ temporarily. This isn’t actually a spell in the book (I don’t think?). But the point is that regular non-magic folk are important because they’re the ones that make these phrases popular and therefore let magic exist. This is so cool! I can’t get over how cool this is.
The Diverse Hermione You’ve Always Wanted
Penny and her parents are South Asian, though as mentioned by Penny, her mom doesn’t speak Hindi. It’s not 100% clear if both her parents were both in England, but it seemed likely. On top of this, Penny is also described as having thicker thighs + other descriptors that lead me to believe that she’s curvy. On top of being wickedly brilliant like the character she’s (I assume) based on. You get to see her POV occasionally which I liked because it let you see how deeply she cares for Simon as a friend.
Getting to be Inside Every Head Ever
Multiple perspectives! I know some readers didn’t like this, but I felt it was done well. Which the exception of Agatha whose POV annoyed me to death and every time it happened I was like “WHHYYYY?” But the other POVs are entertaining and helpful to the narrative. I loved hearing from Baz, Simon and Penny. And the POV for non-main characters was done in a way that was short enough to inform without being annoying.
More Harry Potter Nostalgia Than the Cursed Child
Fine, not more HP nostalgia than the Cursed Child, but pretty close. I mean, when I read this, Cursed Child wasn’t out yet. So if you’re left disappointed from reading CC, give Carry On a chance. If anything another dose of HP nostalgia won’t kill you. I’m assuming. I don’t know your life.
BAZ aka The Snarky Boy Whose Snark You Love
I struggle to think of a reason that someone wouldn’t like Baz. He operates within a perfect combo of snarky and vulnerable. No matter how he appears to the other characters, when you’re inside his head you get a close look at his motivations and what life is like for him. I found him to be the easiest character to connect with. I was anxious to read about him before he even showed up in the book.
Gets Serious About Wizard/Witch Politics
There’s some diving into magical politics. For one, previously Watford only allowed in magicians with a certain amount of magical strength and no magical creatures were allowed. But under the rule of the Mage (aka the headmaster) these people are allowed in. There’s a struggle between people who want to return to the old days and those that want to embrace the new. And then between that are the people more worried about the Humdrum (aka bad guy) erasing magic from the world.
A Wonderfully Flawed Protagonist with Dreamy Hair
Simon is the worst chosen one ever. You hear lots of stories about close scrapes where he uses a lot of magic to get out a tight situation, but it has a cost. Most of the magic cannot be controlled and often goes wild on him. And because of all his magic he has trouble performing even simple spells with his wand. Knowing that he isn’t remotely close to being the greatest magician made him more likeable.
Fulfilment of All Your Fanfiction Dreams
Let’s tell it like it is, shall we?
ONE BOOK aka Save Yourself Years of MC Brooding
In my opinion, the best thing about this book is that it’s one book. If you are tired of reading long series then this will be an amazing break for you. There’s something so freeing about finishing a book and knowing it’s done. About skipping over those years of worry and anticipation.
Did any of those reasons convince you? Or, if you’ve read Carry On, what were your favourite parts?
Let me know in the comments!