Carry On

By Rainbow Rowell

I’ve previously reviewed a book by Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor And Park, which almost singlehandedly restored my faith in romance novels. After hearing about Carry On from friends, I knew that it was something I had to read. Rainbow Rowell’s writing style consistently blows me away and I was excited as always to see her take on a genre that we have all grown a little tired of, the classic "chosen one" fantasy of the young adult sector.

At the beginning of the story our main character, Simon Snow, is starting his last year at Watford School Of Magicks. The world of magicians is on the verge of two wars that Simon was prophesied to bring to an end.

The first concerns the old families, who believe that the reforms The Mage (Simon’s mentor and headmaster of the school) made after his rise to power were ill-informed and created tensions. This adds a unique political element to the story that links cleverly into something that seems almost far too reminiscent of current politics.

The other war that looms twists in the crucial fantasy part of the story with the classic villain known as "The Insidious Humdrum" that has been consuming magic all over the country and leaving dead spots.

As Simon tries to navigate the pressure put on him as The Chosen One, and all of the things he still does not know about The Humdrum, or even The Mage, he is also faced with troubles in his everyday life. He’s unsure how to use his own immense power, things are tense with his girlfriend Agatha ever since he caught her talking in the woods with his long-term rival Baz, and he is the mentee of a well-known and hugely controversial political figure.

The story features well-thought out character developments, an unexpected friendship and even a heartwarming love story in the way that only Rainbow Rowell could elegantly pull off. I finished the book in less than a day and can’t wait for the next.

As well as pulling me back into a genre that I thought I’d already seen the best of, Rainbow Rowell held my attention by switching perspectives between all the main characters. In a way this book is all I’ve subconsciously wanted from the "chosen one" trope, and it's one that I don’t think I’ll ever forget.

As with all of the best books, we occasionally forget details of the plot, or even important events and quotes, but we never forget the way it makes us feel. That was my impression as I closed Carry On.