Review: Carry On, by Rainbow Rowell

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Carry On, by Rainbow Rowell

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBTQIA

Rating: ✮✮

He’s still looking in my eyes. Staring me down like he did that dragon, chin tilted and locked. “I’m not the Chosen One,” he says.

I meet his gaze and sneer. My arm is a steel band around his waist. “I choose you,” I say. “Simon Snow, I choose you.”

I am pretty disappointed, yes.

My feelings for Fangirl are jumbled and unexplainable. Rainbow Rowell has the same ability as Sarah Dessen: both of them can spin conversations out of seemingly meaningless things and still make them wildly entertaining. That’s something I greatly admire. The dialogue flows naturally and the writing is overall very elegant.

I don’t think Fangirl is bad – just as I don’t think Carry On is bad, either. The former just doesn’t properly depict fangirl culture, in my opinion, just as the latter doesn’t for a magical boarding school. Do you know why, in Harry Potter, wizards were considered to be more advanced, yet they didn’t use computers, cell phones, or other modern technology? It’s because it would’ve completely ruined the atmosphere.

I think if Dumbledore were to whip out a laptop, I would shit myself. I got that feeling when a character in Carry On used something modern, even a car. I know it’s a play on Harry Potter, and that it doesn’t have to follow a set of guidelines, but it was so incredibly odd that it broke apart the magic.

There really isn’t any atmosphere at all. It’s so flat. Rainbow Rowell is brilliant with characterization and dialogue, but there is something missing in the storyline that makes it feel disconnected – just as it was in Fangirl. Instead of one continuous arc, it feels like bits and pieces taped together in a string of events that becomes one flat line.

The magic is dull, but I have to admit, the romance wasn’t. Of course, I am a sucker for gay romance any time, any day.

Snow kissed me last night until my mouth was sore. He kissed me so much, I was worried I’d Turn him with all my saliva. He held himself up on all fours above me and made me reach up for his mouth – and I did. I would again. I’d cross every line for him.

I’m in love with him.

And he likes this better than fighting.

I did have one problem with it, though. I’ll confess something to you guys: there is nothing that I would love more than for Harry and Draco to stop their squabbling, rip off their clothes, and go at it. The tension between two rivals is intense and dramatic, and it’s easy – and so entertaining to watch – for it manifest into something else. Simon and Baz are supposed to have that kind of rivalry, but it isn’t like that, because Baz is immediately in love with Simon the moment we meet him. Of course, he still acts like a git, but it’s no fun to watch them fight when we already know how he feels. It’s like throwing water on a fire before it can start to burn. Plus, Simon’s feelings for Baz go from 0 to 100 in like, five seconds, which creates an unsettling feeling of insta-love.

Lastly, this entire world is a mess. It draws on the hope that every person who is going to read it has read Harry Potter and gets the gist of what is happening. There are a lot of flashbacks that feel like an attempt to cram eight books into one, even though it still leaves a lot of gaping holes. While I was reading, it never once escaped me that I was reading Cath’s fanfiction; not only that, but a fanfiction to a series that I had never read before, instead of it being a book of its own. (It’s kind of like listening to my friends talk about Supernatural. I know the names of the main characters and everything else is one stream of gibberish.)

Carry On‘s downfall could be placed on too much trust; it put too much dependency on another book instead of becoming its own. In the end, the thing that I loved the most about Fangirl did not hold up to my expectations.

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2 thoughts on “Review: Carry On, by Rainbow Rowell”

  1. I’m still one of those people who hasn’t read any Rainbow Rowell and I keep finding mixed reviews about her books, which is quite interesting.
    Great review! I think you tackled all the relevant details and explained your point of view quite well 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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