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Carry On (Simon Snow Trilogy Book 1) Kindle Edition
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#1 New York Times bestselling author!
Booklist Editors’ Choice 2015 - Youth!
Named a "Best Book of 2015" by Time Magazine, School Library Journal, Barnes & Noble, NPR, PopSugar, The Millions, and The News & Observer!
Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who's ever been chosen.
That's what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he's probably right.
Half the time, Simon can't even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts something on fire. His mentor's avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there's a magic-eating monster running around, wearing Simon's face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here -- it's their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon's infuriating nemesis didn't even bother to show up.
Carry On is a ghost story, a love story and a mystery. It has just as much kissing and talking as you'd expect from a Rainbow Rowell story - but far, far more monsters.
"Rowell imbues her magic with awe and spectacle. It's a powerful, politically minded allegory about sexual, ethnic and class identity - with a heady shot of teenage lust." ―New York Times Book Review
"It’s a brilliantly addictive, genuinely romantic story about teenagers who can’t be neatly sorted into houses, coping with stress and loss and the confusion of just trying to be who they are. It’s as if Rowell turned the Harry Potter books inside out, and is showing us the marvelous, subversive stuffing inside." ―Time Magazine
"Full of heart and humor, this fantastical tale is a worthy addition to the wizarding-school genre." ―People Magazine
"Carry On is the fantasy book I didn’t know I’d been waiting for for years...Rowell’s mystery, magic, and political intrigue is the sexiest love story I’ve read in a long time." ―Julie Beck, for The Atlantic
"The funny, wised-up dialogue, the tumultuous, sweet, and sexy love story― is grade-A Rowell...almost impossible to put down." ―Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Stock up on copies―this one begs to be reread." ―Booklist (starred review)
"With rock-solid worldbuilding, a sweet and believable romance subplot, and satisfying ending, Carry On is a monumentally enjoyable reading experience. Hand this to fans of Rowell, Harry Potter, love stories, and magic." ―School Library Journal (starred review)
"Carry On is a triumph. Thrilling and sexy, funny and shocking, deeply moving and very, very magical. Trust me, you have never, ever seen a wizard school like this." ―Lev Grossman, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Magicians trilogy
About the Author
- ASIN : B00V35U13W
- Publisher : St. Martin's Griffin (October 6, 2015)
- Publication date : October 6, 2015
- Language : English
- File size : 5844 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 529 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #56,901 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviews with images
Top reviews from the United States
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I didn’t give “Carry On” five stars just because it’s amusing, literate, gripping, and filled with fascinating young characters. This marvelous book by Rainbow Rowell, a best-selling YA author of whom I’d never heard before, has given us the gift that J.C. Rowling never did.
“Carry On” is a rather startlingly obvious take-off on Harry Potter and the world of Hogwarts. It is clearly deliberate, and part of the fun of reading it is to see how the author has tweaked every little detail to both remind us of Rowling’s epic series and to affirm that Rowell has made it entirely her own. My favorite detail is the name of the magic school itself: Watford School. For all of its medieval antiquity and mysterious changeable buildings, Watford is a bland suburb near London (with its own well-known football team). Rowell’s magical folks live entirely among the Normals. They have to: their ability to control the magic around them and within them depends entirely on their skills with human language. It is a brilliant conceit that becomes the lynchpin of the entire, page-turning story.
Simon Snow is a foundling, abandoned or orphaned as an infant. He was found by the Mage, a powerful magician who is both the headmaster of Watford and the head of the Coven—the governing body of the magical world. The Mage made Simon his heir in order to get him a place at Watford—because Simon, it turns out, is the most powerful magician ever born, and is destined to save the magical world from some terrible evil.
Simon’s best friend is Penelope Bunce: super smart, obsessive about history, fearless. His girlfriend is Agatha Wellbelove: blond, beautiful, but more interested in her horse than in her magical heritage (or in Simon, as it turns out). Simon’s archnemesis and roommate is Baz—Tyrannus Basilton Pitch-Grimm: aristocratic, brilliant, clearly up to no good. He’s been trying to kill Simon ever since they started Watford at eleven years old. Baz’s family wants to oust the Mage and return control of Watford to the old magical families. And Baz, it seems, might just be a vampire.
You see the parallels, but it’s all a bit off, and that off-ness makes it fresh and contemporary and somehow more real. These magical teens have cellphones (at home); they know pop music and films. They use lyrics from Queen to power their spells. And the thing that makes it most wonderfully off is that, right at the bright, pulsing center of this story, is an unexpected recognition of love between two boys. But only unexpected if you aren’t paying attention.
The book is set up as if it’s the last chapter in a long series. It feels like you’ve dropped into the story with no bearings, but skillful writing fills us all in on the essential facts of the past half-dozen years at Watford. And this is where it all gets so deliciously twisted: our understanding of good and evil does not entirely mesh with what we understand to be right and wrong. As the story moves forward, things only get more complicated. Simon and his friends—and this includes Baz—must ultimately decide what they have to do, whether or not it jibes with what they, as children have been taught by the adults in whom they have placed their trust all their lives.
Rainbow Rowell is s straight woman from Nebraska, and I’m a little floored at how briliantly she pulled off a gay YA story set in England. “Carry On” had its origins in “Fangirl,” one of Rowell’s best-selling YA novels, and therein one sees how, and more importantly, why it is connected to the Harry Potter world. For the legions of gay Harry Potter fans who have consistently felt cheated by J.K. Rowling’s refusal to include an LGBT character in her fictional world, Rowell has given us a pearl of great price. Rowell’s power as a highly successful author within the confines of mainstream publishing made this possible. I hope other successful mainstream writers in all genres will follow her example.
That’s this book.
It’s written in an impersonal, detached, almost dreamy style, where characters’ feelings are reported like the weather and everyone’s internal monologue sounds pretty much the same. That could have worked really well in a psychological thriller going for eerie and emotionless, but this was a school fantasy adventure with a strong romance thread, so the tone didn’t work for me at all. I thought third person present tense narration was a poor choice; third person present tense narration with a rotating cast of 7 or 8 narrators was a travesty, and it convinced me, once and for all, that present tense narration basically only works in the first person. It’s just too alienating in third.
Combine that with a tendency to end random sentences with ellipses, switch point of view characters every couple paragraphs whenever anything interesting was going on, and spend pages on the rambling flashbacks of a ghost whose entire connection to the protagonist could have been summed up in two paragraphs, and you get a story I liked pretty much in spite of how it was written, not because of it.
The world is well built (and makes a ton more sense than Harry Potter—just saying), the magic system based on memorable quotes and fixed expressions becoming spells is seriously cool (they have a magical linguistics department!), and the central romance is engaging (whenever it’s not being interrupted by Simon’s ex).
But I kept comparing it to other magic school stories and wondering why I wasn’t having fun, or why nothing that happened seemed to matter two scenes later, or why it felt like none of the characters were real people. I was never allowed to get close to any of them or feel a sense of urgency when they were in trouble. I was always on the outside looking in, and I just don’t enjoy that.
Top reviews from other countries
O livro é do c*ralho e chegou em ótimas condições. comprei no sábado e chegou na terça-feira, amei amei amei
Reviewed in Brazil on July 10, 2018
O livro é do c*ralho e chegou em ótimas condições. comprei no sábado e chegou na terça-feira, amei amei amei
Then I got over myself, because it’s not like Rowling invented the ‘Chosen One’ story or wizarding schools, and while Carry On is very much a response to Harry Potter, it still feels like its own thing.
(Also, unlike Harry Potter, Carry On isn’t afraid to be queer as hell.)
Written as the final book in a series that doesn’t really exist, Carry On is surprisingly easy to follow and, when we’re told what Simon’s already been through, it doesn’t feel like an info-dump, which is quite a skill considering we’ve missed out on around seven years of adventures.
Simon Snow is the chosen one, plucked from foster care by The Mage when he was 11 to fight the Humdrum, an entity that is essentially an absence of magic terrorising the magical world.
Simon is the first student from the Normal world to attend the Watford School of Magic which was previously run by a headmistress who believed the school should teach only the most elite. The Mage took over the school after she was killed in a vampire attack in which her son, Baz (who just so happens to be Simon’s worst enemy and, unfortunately, roommate), was turned into a vampire himself.
Simon and Baz have never seen eye-to-eye, in fact they hate each other, but when Baz doesn’t show up at the start of the school year and Simon receives a visit from his mother’s ghost, he knows something isn’t quite right. And that’s all I’m going to say, because this novel is so much more enjoyable if you let the story unfold for you one piece at a time.
I’ve read Rainbow Rowell before – her adult novel Attachments and her short story in My True Love Gave to Me – and didn’t love either of them (although I didn’t dislike them either) so I wasn’t sure what I was going to make of this novel. If nothing else, I knew Rowell’s writing style is incredibly readable and, even though this book is on the chunkier side for a YA novel, I flew through it and ended up really enjoying it.
One of the things I was most nervous about was Rowell, an American, writing about British teenagers, not because I think authors should only write about people of their own nationality – that’s ridiculous – but because I think teenagers in particular can often be written badly, even by authors who do share their nationality. Thankfully the British slang Rowell used never felt out of place; Simon and his friends all sounded British, and not in a Hugh Grant kind of way either.
Considering there’s so much we don’t know about this world I thought Rowell did an excellent job of explaining everything, so much so that this world felt real to me. It’s very heavily inspired by Harry Potter, but rather than feeling like a rip-off it feels like a response to it. While Hogwarts is staffed by House Elves who seem to do all the cooking and cleaning for no apparent pay, Simon tells us how the kids at the Watford School of Magic serve their own meals and do their own laundry. Where Harry himself is our narrator throughout his series, albeit in third person, Carry On is told from multiple first person perspectives so that we get to know Baz, Simon’s friends and even some of his teachers as much as get to know Simon.
It was little tweaks like this that made this story so refreshing, as well as how utterly and unapologetically queer it is.
I ended up loving Simon and Baz’s relationship a lot more than I expected to. I love a couple with good banter and these two have plenty, but there are also moments of genuine warmth and tenderness that made the romance in this book so lovely to read as well as so validating.
J.K. Rowling told us Dumbledore is gay after she wrote the series and then continued not to write him as gay in the Fantastic Beasts films, whereas in Carry On Baz says the words ‘I’m gay’, and it makes a difference. Not everyone uses labels, and that’s fine, but when authors don’t use labels and also don’t make their characters’ potential non-heterosexuality clear in some other way, it doesn’t have the same kind of impact that saying the words outright does.
I loved this book. There’s very little I want to say about it in a review because I think the real joy of this book is reading it for yourself and finding all those tips of the hat to Harry Potter alongside a much more inclusive, much more queer, wizarding world.
One of the main problems of the YA genre as a whole is that it is often the case that GLBTQI+ characters are not often seen as the main protagonists. Actually, fiction as a whole has an issue with diversity, but let's focus on this one right now. Simple to say, this book does not have that problem. As it is based off of Cath from Fangirl's fan-fiction, the book is primarily about the development of a romantic relationship between characters Simon Snow - the worst Chosen One to ever be Chosen - and Baz Grimm-Pitch - clearly a vampire. There is also - as any good magical 'series' should have - a mystery to be solved, and a big evil to fight. And the twist on that big evil is so damn clever that I could not stop squeeing about it. Seriously, I think I annoyed the person I was talking to.
The characters are so memorable in this novel, it genuinely did feel like I was coming back to a set of characters that I had known for years. This was actually my first Rainbow Rowell novel, and I have been assured that this is a common thing of her books. Penelope may be one of my favourite ladies of all time, and I loved that the relationship between her and Simon was shown to be platonic love at it's best and that there wasn't even a question of them ever hooking up. When accused of disliking Simon's relationship with girlfriend Agatha, Penelope answers with a basic "it was making you both miserable" which is true. Speaking of Agatha, she's an interesting character. Rowell has succeeded in creating a character whom I hate, but at the same time I completely understand why she is doing the things she is, and I support her decisions and just want her to be happy in life. That is a special talent.
Simon and Baz are the focus of the novel and their characters are the most fully developed as well as the most fun to read about. I'd say it's especially fun to read Simon's point of view, and then to straight to Baz's, simply because of how wrongly Simon reads things. He may be the Chosen One, but he is an oblivious idiot. Which, actually, makes him the type of hero character I enjoy. I have a type. I do not see this as an issue.
I would love to say more about this novel, but I feel like even spoiling the smallest thing about it could completely ruin the experience for someone else. Needless to say, this is one that I think people should pick up. Especially if they liked the Harry Potter series. Rowell drops us into a world fully created, and yet we never feel lost or as if we're missing information. We run alongside the characters as their problems escalate at a rapid speed, and never feel as though the pacing is off. It's a slow build leading to an explosive finale, and I'm glad I read it.
...I really would love to read some of Simon Snow's other adventures too.
It's incredibly readable and good fun. The characters are believable and relatable, and the plot is interesting (although a little too well-trailed for my tastes - each hint felt like it was bludgeoning me over the head).
So why just three stars? Well firstly, it absolutely piggy-backs on your existing knowledge of Harry Potter. The first few chapters are basically a lightning exposition-dump, saying "this is like HP, this isn't - get ready, story begins soon". To be clear, the characters and setting are original... but they're absolutely defined by their similarities and differences to HP.
Secondly, and I guess as a result of that... it never felt to me like a world in its own right. The whole experience just seemed that little bit less substantial, as if it was always going to be a be a brief jaunt and then over.
So, 3* as it won't stick with me. But for the brief time I read it, especially in the final two thirds of the book, I really enjoyed the characters' company. I'm glad I read it and I had a lot of fun and laughter.
If I am totally honest, it took a while for me to get into Carry On. I think because I knew it was a story based on the fictional fan fiction (whew, this could get confusing) I think I kept myself separated from it, I didn’t allow myself to fall for the characters too much. Equally, the story is told from multi-perspective which I think allowed me to stop myself getting too attached. I think that because the setting and the back story had a lot of similarities to another wizarding world I was able to keep myself at a distance. However, Carry On is an epic sized novel and gives you time to change your mind. Before long I was fully invested in Baz and Simon’s story.
What I really loved is that Rowell put herself completely outside of the world she knows. This is a very British book – curry, rich tea biscuits, tea. It is all very British and Rowell did really well to convey that level of reality in a fantasy YA novel.
Reading Carry On has made me really eager to read the sequel Wayward Son.
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell is available now.