Carry On, a 517 paged (Hardcover), by Rainbow Rowell is a unique story about a young magician facing his destiny and the possibility of the rest of his life (living beyond graduation will be a miracle for Simon Snow. Actually, living to see graduation will be the miracle for Simon.).
Many aspects of Carry On will remind you of Harry Potter, but when the story of Carry On beings to unravel it is clear that the story is something else entirely. Carry On is, of course, a spin-off of Rainbow Rowell’s, Fangirl. In the world of Fangirl “Simon Snow” is a fiction series that the main character of Fangirl, Cath, is obsessed with. Cath is telling her own story or “FanFiction” for the fans of “Simon Snow” before the last book in the series is set to release. Carry On isn’t Cath’s story and can be read independently from Fangirl. And even though Cath created her own fanfiction, Rainbow Rowell isn’t writing as Cath or as Gemma T. Leslie (fictional author of Simon Snow from Fangirl).
The most common question I’ve been asked is whether I’m writing as Cath or as Gemma T. Leslie … The answer is, I’m writing as me.
Carry On is meant to have the impact of a story that is known, of characters that are already loved even if Fangirl has yet to have been read, and Rowell does a brilliant job with the world building for Carry On. Sometimes it can take 100 pages or more to fall in love with the characters and sometimes even longer to fall in love with them all. In less than 20 pages of Carry On I felt as if I had been reading about Simon (the most powerful magician in history), Baz (Simon’s arch nemesis and roommate), Agatha (Simon’s girlfriend), and Penelope (Simon’s best friend) forever.
It’s the good things that’ll drive you mad with missing them.
I instantly fell for them all and felt I understood Simon’s world without trouble. Rowell may have created a world that’s slightly similar to Harry Potter, but at the same time it is rich and full and her magic system was a truly unique system that I have never seen before and one that will not feel genuine if used by anybody other than Rowell.
Rowell told years and years of stories as one. She created a vibrant, pulsating world full of every kind of person where actions mattered and words mattered. Carry On was unlike anything I'll ever read again.
Simon is connected to a prophecy. His destiny is to rid the world of a great evil known as the Insidious Humdrum, who suck magic from a place leaving once vast areas of magic with a void that no magician will go near. The Humdrum has come for Simon before, and he will do so again if Simon doesn’t succeed in defeating the Humdrum before it finds him.
I don’t suppose I ever had the choices I thought I did.
Simon is sure that Baz is plotting to kill him, his love life is a mess, he doesn’t have the best control over his powers, his mentor seems to be withdrawing away from him, and the greatest evil is after him. Everything turns upside down and inside out for Simon when he finds help from an unlikely source.
Simon isn’t sure he’ll survive the fight ahead of him, but Simon’s character is fantastic to see play out. He’s whiny and a little insecure, but he grows so much during Carry On and by the end you are proud to have stuck with Simon through everything he learns about his friends, his enemies, his world, and himself.
How long does it take for a star to collapse? How many trillions of years?