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Carry On by Rainbow Rowell - Review

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Where did I get it? Along with the challenge I'm doing with my friend Lucinda, my friend Laura and I have also decided to swap books once a month that we love, that the other hasn't read. We have some tastes in common but also differ wildly, so I'm really excited about getting to know some of her favourite novels. This was the first one she sent me. 
What's it about? Well I absolutely loved Fangirl when I read it in 2014. I know that it originally had Harry Potter fanfic in it, but of course Rowell wasn't allowed to put that in, so she created Simon Snow, a magician at Watford School of Magick, and his roommate Baz, who's a vampire. In Fangirl, the fanfic parts just weren't my kind of thing at all. I loved the rest of the novel, because it was so much about being a fan and I've lived that in several fandoms in my time. So when Carry On came out I wasn't much interested, but Laura persuaded me to give it a go. It's a brick of a book and it took me forever to read, but I didn't hate it.
Simon is in his last year at school and the Humdrum is trying to kill him. Simon can't control his magic but "goes off" every now and then. He hates his roommate, Baz, who's a vampire from one of the elder families and whose mother was headmistress of the school but killed when vampires attacked (and Turned Baz). Baz doesn't return at the beginning of term and it turns out he's been kidnapped by numpties. Baz's mother comes for a Visiting and tells Simon who killed her. When Baz comes back, he and Simon decide to work together to find her killer. 
Baz is in love with Simon so, like a twelve year old, spends all his time winding Simon up. They call a truce anyway, and eventually get together, while fighting the Humdrum and all the rest of it. It's really long and it's full of fanfic tropes, which I understand is the point, but it sort of frustrated me. It also felt like there was too much shoehorned in - it was like giving someone a copy of HP & the Deathly Hallows that also had a round up of the previous six novels in it. It could've been much simpler, I think.
That said, I liked the queer stuff, I liked Baz, I liked Penelope (Simon's BFF), and I liked Simon. I liked that there was modern stuff mixed in with all the ancient magical stuff. I would have liked it to end differently, and I wish Simon had been allowed to know the truth about his parents. 
What age range is it for? 14+.

Are any main characters LGBTQ+? Yes, and it's mentioned really positively. I also think there's a metaphor to be seen between Baz-as-vampire and Baz-as-queer-teenager; he's an outsider and very much feels it. 

Are any main characters non-white? Yes, and again it's done in a very positive way
Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? Not really

Is there any sex stuff? Very little - I wanted more!

Are drugs mentioned or used? No

Is there any talk of death? Yes, there's a few gory parts.

Are there swear words? Yes, which for me is one of the most believable parts of the book 

Would I recommend the book? Yep, especially if you liked Fangirl. 

How many stars? 8 out of 10, it's good fun 

Where is the book going now? Back to Laura!

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