Best. Chosen One. EVER.
Most people are familiar with a certain young wizard with a lightning-shaped scar and an epic monicker: The Boy Who Lived. His friends, however, call him Harry.
While it is certainly true that Harry Potter had many epic adventures and will remain a favorite series for many, myself included, I think it’s safe to say that sometimes the reader wants a little more from the book. Particularly if said reader is older than the age of twelve and wants a character closer to them in age that also goes on awesome magical adventures.
This is where Rainbow Rowell comes in.
As always, this review is spoiler-free. I will not go over any major plot points that aren’t revealed in any previews or the back description. That said, let’s get started.
“Next time he summons me like a half-arsed squirrel demon,” I said, “I’ll tell him so!”Simon Snow, Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
The main reason I absolutely loved this book has to do with our Simon Snow, also known as, “the worst Chosen One that’s ever been chosen.” He’s in his last year at magic boarding school, and I swear this kid is the human incarnation of Murphy’s Law because almost anything that could go wrong, did go wrong.
What’s so lovable about Simon Snow is that he was born in a human world and yet he still cannot wrap his head around most of the magic world. All he’s worried about is eating enough food and having fun with his friends, which is relatable to just about every person that I know. Simon doesn’t want to fight in a war that’ll determine the future of magic, but he has to.
“And Baz may be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.”Rainbow Rowell, Carry On description
The other reason that I love this book is Tyrannus “Baz” Basilton Pitch, Simon’s archnemesis and roommate. This may have just been me, but I felt the need to reach through the pages and protect Baz because he is too precious for words.
He seems antagonistic in the beginning, but then when Rowell shifts into his perspective I realized that there’s a whole other level behind his actions, why he does the things he does and how he thinks that these actions will help him in the long run. I can’t give away too much of his plot, spoilers and all, but let’s just say that I started reading for Simon’s story and I stayed for the end of Baz’s.
Another part of this book that made it truly outstanding was the villain. The witches and wizards call this villain the Humdrum, and they function as a sort of magical vacuum. Everyone’s fighting the Humdrum because they don’t want to lose all of their magic, or what makes them different from the rest of the world.
I thought that the naming of this entity was brilliant on Rowell’s part (Now that I’m thinking about it, Humdrum really does make an awesome villain name), coupled with how their character was portrayed makes for a thrilling story.
There’s a new magical world in London
Move aside Hogwarts, I’m going to Watford!
Let me start this by saying that there are a few similarities between the two magic schools. For instance, Watford has ghosts (similar to the ones at Hogwarts), but these ghosts are not just there to be there. The Watford ghosts seemingly contribute to the overall story that the ghosts of Hogwarts just didn’t seem to do for me. Watford’s ghosts only show up occasionally, but when they do the story is suddenly launched forward so that the reader stays interested.
Aside from the ghosts and the students doubling as witches and wizards, Watford is completely different from Hogwarts. There are Ruins, Mausoleums, dorms, and so much more. Being a college student, I can honestly say that Watford feels like a college campus more than some castle that’s far out of reach. There’s some old architecture, but it’s accessible. I don’t have to conjure up a castle in my mind to see where the characters are (don’t get me wrong though, I will do that if necessary).
Did I mention the scones? Sour cherry scones that Rowell describes in such vivid detail that I can’t help but imagine biting into one myself. If you do read this book, try not to read it on an empty stomach because it will make you really hungry.
This book comes complete with a cast of characters that are sure to make you laugh and cry. I really hope that you do end up reading this book because I could not put it down for at least a solid day and a half.
Should you choose to pick up this book, I hope you read it ‘Cover to Cover’.