[583]: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell


Carry On \ Rainbow Rowell

R  E  V  I  E  W

Plot-wise, this book is one of those that I shouldn’t have enjoyed. Magic, spells, and mythical creatures are typically not my thing. But since Rainbow Rowell wrote it, not reading it goes against my religion. On top of that, this book features  a couple of characters that I loved – and this from reading about them in a book where they’re not even the major characters! Imagine that. The mark of a great story teller is when you can convince a non-reader to fall in love with your work. Those who have read Fangirl and skipped the fanfic about Simon and Baz may not be as in love as I am, but I’ve got to say, Ms. Rowell did a fantastic job in fleshing out these two characters and giving life to a side story that may not even be in her plans to begin with. In fact, she did so expertly that I’ve convinced myself that fantasy novels are something I can possibly enjoy.


Theirs was not an easy relationship from the get go. They hated each other on sight. But since they were chosen to be roommates for life by some cosmic fate, they had no choice but to tolerate each other’s presence. Both are convinced that they’re plotting to kill each other. On the last year of their Watford tenure, their relationship will come to a head. In that, they’ll either kill each other for sure, or go beyond indifference and actually admit that there’s something more between them.


What’s a good fantasy book without the ultimate foe? Simon, Baz, and basically the magic world has been battling the Insidious Humdrum for years. But nobody knows what it looks like until Simon and Penelope (his BFF) was taken hostage by the creature himself. He sucks the world of magic every time he shows up, and sooner or later,  there’ll be no place to practice magic because the Humdrum will have them all.


It was prophesied that the greatest Mage will walk the earth to stop the Humdrum. And the prophecy is none other than Simon, himself. But he’s too powerful. Too powerful, in fact, that he can’t control his magic. The Humdrum is drawn to him because he is like a nuclear power plant of magic. And the Humdrum wants him. Of course, not everything is cut and dry. That’s the beauty of this book. There are facets and twists that may be predictable to some, but I appreciated them in my own way. Call me an inexperienced fool, but heck, I enjoyed the fantastical elements of this book.


I do believe most of Potterheads will readily say this book has echoes of their beloved Harry Potter books. But since I’ve not read them, I can’t really tell you all the similarities and differences between Carry On and the 7 HP books. I know Ms. Rowell is a big fan of Ms. Rowling, so I’d like to assume that this is her sort of ode to the series and its author. That’s not to say I didn’t miss some of the tell-tell signs, though. I saw Harry in Simon; Hermoine in Penelope; and maybe even a smidgen of Ron in Baz. I can’t really say for sure whether or not it’s a rip-off because as I’ve mentioned, I’ve not read the books.


 Rainbow Rowell continues to amaze me. I fell in love with Simon and Baz from the little taste she’s given us in Fangirl. And to go and somehow give us a well-conceived plot from that is even doubly amazing.

St. Martin’s Griffin | Oct 6th, 2015 | Hardcover, 522 pages | Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

  • Hmm, well- you know my thoughts on this one! *laughs* For me, having grown up with HP and being someone who is really passionate about that series and those characters, what I got through of Carry On was different, absolutely, but it was really similar, too. I could’ve taken it, but I wasn’t interested in what story the characters had to tell and just felt it wasn’t for me. I’m happy it was such a blast for you, especially getting you into a different genre to your norm! xx

  • I am another reader that has never read Harry Potter and actually has never wanted to. Haven’t read Fangirl either. So, I not sure about this, but I am glad you loved it 🙂

  • I finished this book today and I just want to read it again. I really enjoyed it, the fact she brought a fake fandom’s fandom to life is just awesome in my opinion lol

    Some people aren’t loving it, because of it’s Harry Potter-iness but I think it’s so much more than that. I love HP, I love Simon & Baz. This whole thing has pleased my fangirl heart 🙂

  • Adriana C

    I´ve read and loved Harry Potter series and I also loved Fangirl and I did find similarities between Simon and Harry. thanks for your review.

  • Sara Walker

    I love, love, loved Fangirl! SO much, but I was one that skipped over the fanfiction part (only because I was so invested in the other part of the story), I have been curious about Carry On, I think I’ll grab the audiobook. I want in on this one!

  • Umm … so what exactly do you suggest reading first? I planned to read this, but if there’s a book I should read first for a better experience, then I want to.

  • Oh wow, is it weird that I’m surprised this is getting such good reviews? I was way more interested in Fangirl’s characters than the fanfic, so I guess the book wasn’t something I was wishing for? Despite how much I love fantasy? Probably going to have to read it, though. 🙂

  • Excited to read this one, although I honestly have no idea how I’ll like it.

  • Yippee! Although fantasy isn’t normally your thing, it sounds like you were able to enjoy this one because of your love of Rainbow Rowell books! I can’t wait to pick up my copy and experience Simon and Baz’s story!

  • In Fangirl, I had actually skipped most of the fanfiction stuff. But I am intrigued by this one. I wasn’t 100% positive that I wanted to read it, but your review has convinced me. I do love fantasy stuff. so I think I will give this one a chance.

  • Melliane

    lol I’m one of the ones who skipped the fanfiction parts in the previous book but I’m quite intrigued about this one too. I’m glad you had such a great time with it!

  • Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings

    I love that last line because Rowell is so incredible precisely because she’s able to take a set of fictional characters who obsess about other fictional characters and make US obsess over those fictional characters to the extent where she needs to write a book about them and it’s perfect. Ugh. Loveeeed this one and I can’t wait to see what’s up her sleeve next!


    But omg this is news that you did not read HP. IT IS WONDERFUL NEWS. NOW WE ARE THE SAME. LINKED BY CANADIAN BLOOD AND NON-HP READING (notwithstanding that I watched the films — and if you didn’t then you’re more of a badass than I initially thought…)


  • Great review! I still need to grab one of her books….

  • Nicole Hewitt

    I’d somehow let my excitement about this book wane, but now that I’ve read your review I’m remembering why I wanted to read it so much. I guess I need to get my hands on this book pronto!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  • Damn! I need to hunt her books down my library now that my membership has been reactivated

  • Sounds like this was a great read Joy! I haven’t read the HP books either, so it would be great to dive into it and not see any similarities!

  • Jazmen

    I got offered the opportunity to listen to the audiobook of this. I hate audiobooks but I said yes after listening to the snippet. I’m hoping to love this one along with Fangirl. Nice review, Joy!

  • Rainbow Rowell is my idol! I love her!
    Carry On is next on my to read list. And from your review I’m even more excited to read it 😉

  • I never had this REAL urge to read Rowell’s contemporary novels – Adult and YA – but this one is really just reeling me in. Bro-M/M-mance and fantasy? With a school to boot and magical spells and creatures? That is absolutely my kind of read. I would love to meet these guys finally!

    Faye at The Social Potato

  • Oh, our world fantasy, I never feel that is fantasy

  • shootingstarsmag

    That’s great you liked the fantasy aspects in this one. I bought this the day it came out but I STILL need to start it. Soon. I loved Simon and Baz in Fangirl. From what I can tell, it’s definitely an odd to Rowling and HP but not a direct rip-off.


  • aaaahhhhh!!! this sounds amazing!!! i LOVED fangirl and i can’t wait to get my hands on this!!!

  • This book certainly does sound wonderful, but it also seems like you need to read Fangirl before this one just so that things will be easier to fall in love with? Which shouldn’t be a problem because I have fangirl in my TBR pile and it’s a matter of not worrying about the hype and just starting it xD I can’t wait to though!

  • Great to hear that you enjoyed, I haven’t read anything by rowell yet, but I would like to and the similarities/ode to HP def gets my interest

  • Yay 😀 So so glad that you loved this book so much Joy. <3 Hugs. But aw, you say nothing about the romance 😉 lol. The romance was my favorite part 😀 I do love the Harry Potter books. And I re-read them in July. BUT. I will say that I loved Carry On even more 🙂 Simon is better. They are all better, lol. At least to me 🙂 Thank you for sharing your thoughts sweetie. <3 Yay for enjoying the fantasy parts 😉 I did too. So much.

  • gah oh sure, you have to go and post a dazzling review like this. echo of harry potter? *sigh* I have to go and get this now cause you left me very…curious..also I never read any of her stuff.

  • I’m so excited to read this one! I loved Fangirl and how much Cath loved Simon and Baz. They’re magical and I can’t wait to witness that 😉

  • Can you believe I still have yet to read anything by this author? Sigh, I really have no idea what my problem is but I keep forgetting about her! And her books are so pretty, too and they all sound SO UNIQUE. I am so glad you enjoyed this, Joy 😀 It’s always fun when a book manages to surprise you – especially in a genre you don’t usually like.

  • To be honest, I skipped most of the Simon & Baz excerpts while I was reading Fangirl. I didn’t care for them and just wanted to get to Cath and Levi. That being said, I’d be down to read a book based on them though. Their romance sounds complicated, but very well written, so I’m going to pick it up soon.

    • Nicole Hewitt

      This was me too, Nick. I didn’t exactly skip the excerpts, but I definitely skimmed them sometimes – and I really just wanted to get back to the main plot. BUT I think that I’d really enjoy the story when I get to hear the whole thing and I’m not seeing it as a distraction!

      Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  • kindlemom1

    I love that she took these characters and put a twist on the whole storyline and that most of all, it worked! Great review!!

  • Jenny @ Supernatural Snark

    I can’t wait to read this Joy!!!!! I have read all the HP books so I’m sure I’ll see the similarities, but I know she was never trying to disguise the fact that this was HP fanfiction of sorts so I don’t think it will bother me at all. Antagonistic romances are my very favorite thing, so I can’t wait to see how things develop between Simon and Baz!!!!! *happy dance*

  • I’m a bit torn on this one. I loved the idea of a book about fanfic and I did enjoy the Baz/Simon parts in Fangirl, but to me one of the points of Fangirl was that Cath needed to write her own original stuff. And I have read all the HP books (twice – once with each child) so I’m conflicted. Glad you did not have all my issues on this and enjoyed it!
    Jen @ YA Romantics

  • Jasprit

    I feel like the black sheep when it comes to this book, as I didn’t really appreciate the Baz and Simon aspects that we go in Fangirl, but I can totally see the appeal of these two character and their story to readers. I really want to give this one a go though, maybe one day!