Most books are about fictional characters. Not many books, I feel, are about fictional-fictional characters. The story for Carry On follows the magical world of Simon Snow – the source of fanfiction for Cath in Rowell’s previous novel, Fangirl (which is also very good, you should read that). The whole thing sounds a bit complicated and I haven’t even begun talking about the plot.
The book takes place in Simon’s last year at his magical boarding school. It feels as though this is the last book in the series as if there could have been a book following each of Simon’s years at the Watford, but Rowell does an amazing job of giving the reader enough information while still maintaining a layer of mystery. Besides the beautiful storytelling, it would be impossible to read this book and not compare it, at least a little, to Harry Potter. The main character is the chosen one brought up in the normal world, prophesized to appear when the world needed him most, and goes to a magical boarding school during the year only to be forced to live in the normal world during the summer holiday. Oh, and both take place in England. But beyond that circumstantial similarities, Carry On really stands out as its own book.
The plot is rich, the characters all very distinct (Penny is my personal favorite) and not everything goes as expected. The magic world of mages is weird and different, but with just enough familiarity (the use of electronics for instance) to not make it seem too otherworldly. The story’s main antagonist, the Insidious Humdrum, is a pretty good villain despite the ridiculous name.
I don’t want to say much more because this is a book you want to go into without any spoilers. I got completely sucked into the story. There are some changes in perspective, all in the first person, but I never had trouble discerning who was who. If you are looking for a new magical boarding school book that is truly amazing, keep calm look no further than Carry On.
-Nicole G., 12th Grade
Carry On is available to check out from the Mission Viejo Public Library.