Review – Carry On

Posted January 9, 2017 by Nicky in Reviews / 9 Comments

Cover of Carry On by Rainbow RowellCarry On, Rainbow Rowell

Didn’t I just read Carry On? It’s true, I read it not that long ago, but after the US elections and various personal stresses (I have how many assignments due?), I needed some comfort reading. Harry Potter doesn’t work for me — for one thing, I’ve never been that big a fan, and for another, I had to read the second and third books five times each in a week on a school trip, since my mother only let me take two books. Since then, and especially considering how miserable the other kids made me, I’ve rather gone off Harry Potter.

My love for Carry On is totally separate to anything I feel about Harry Potter, though. I’m aware I’m in the minority there, but I only read four of the Harry Potter books, and never experienced the end of the series or got into the fandom. So I felt in the position to just love this: love the way the magic works, the way it permeates their thinking; the way Simon and Baz have always been drawn to each other; the way even their love scenes read a little bit like fighting in place.

There are things I don’t love — the constant POV switching, for example. It’s particularly jarring when it happens several times in what should just be a paragraph. And I don’t love feeling like Penny, Ebb and Agatha had their own stories that needed telling, and that they came so close to being able to tell them… before being cut off by the inevitability of Simon and Baz, and Simon’s victory. Particularly in Agatha’s case. I thought the descriptions of her feelings toward Simon were great, and I’d have liked to see some closure between them. In fandom, it’s always been the female characters that suffer from people’s attempts to pair up the boys, and it’d have been nice to get a fuller picture of Agatha. Simon’s still very much the Chosen One, narratively.

But these are things that could probably only be addressed by whole books that deal with these tropes, and deal with the lives of the women around Simon and the Mage. I don’t think there really was space here. Penelope Bunce still rocks the heck out of the book.

And it’s still a book I enjoy very much.

Rating: 5/5

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9 responses to “Review – Carry On

  1. arbieroo

    What’s the connection between this and Harry Potter? I never got past the end of the first Harry Potter. I’ve seen all the films and that’s enough for me, it would appear.

    I read MacBeth and Animal Farm five times each as revision/preparation for my Eng. Lit. exams; took me decades to want to read them again after that, even though I liked them both very much.

    • Complicated! Originally, Rowell wrote a book called Fangirl where the main character wrote fanfiction for a fandom that was clearly based on Harry Potter, but wasn’t, because there’d be a copyright issue. Some details were different to Harry Potter, but the link was obvious to most readers (even people who didn’t read HP). Eventually, Rowell took the characters and wrote a story actually using them, which diverged even further from Harry Potter and made something new. (A lot of people dislike it on reflex because how dare Rowell “steal” Rowling’s world, but I think it diverges from Rowling’s world enough to be considered a new thing, and not fanfiction.)

      Yeah, I’ve over-read some books, too. Makes me more reluctant to reread now — what if I get sick of beloved books?! Gah.

  2. Harry Potter is actually my comfort read and always helps me out of a slump or cheers me up when life sucks! I like the films but prefer the books mainly because of the added humour and depth of the other characters. I tried Rainbow Rowell’s ‘Eleanor & Park’ and though it was pretty well written it was way too slow for me. I didn’t read this one though. It’s great when you find that 5 star book or potential comfort read though! Glad you enjoyed it!
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  3. I’m so glad that you can find comfort in this one when you need it! I have a few books like that, too, such as the Pretty Little Liars series and Leftovers by Laura Weiss. I always loved Harry Potter, and I read the series a few times when I was younger, but it’s been years since I read any of them. I haven’t read this one yet because I still haven’t read Fangirl, and despite having it, I just never really got around to it. Eleanor & Park will always remain one of my favorite books, though!
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  4. I just read Carry On for the first time after Christmas last year and I’m still not over how cute and loving the story was! As you said, it’s such a comforting read and I enjoyed it so much not having to “think about the plot” for a while because it just had such a natural flow! 🙂 I still have to review it on my blog, though. Just didn’t manage yet to put my thoughts down on “paper”. 🙂 Great review!
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