JUST FINISHED: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell.
[Finished at ~6:45pm, & 517 pages long.]
I had a good feeling about this book. In fact, I had the best feeling about it. When I first read Fangirl, a couple of years ago on the plane to China, my main feeling at the end of it was that – although I had enjoyed it a lot – I really wished I’d been able to read the Simon Snow series (a fictional series of books that existed in that universe) instead, or – even better – Cath’s fanfic version of the last book, Carry On, Simon. So when I heard this was coming out, I was beyond excited, and I’ve been dying to read it ever since. Spoiler: It was everything I hoped it’d be, and more. 😉
Carry On follows our protagonist, Simon Snow, in his eighth and final year at Watford School of Magicks, in which he must take on the Insidious Humdrum – a mysterious creature that somehow seems to eat magick – as well as solve the mystery of his probably-evil, but definitely-a-vampire roommate, Baz, who has annoyingly not even bothered to show up this year.
Character-wise, this book was spot-on. Simon was adorable, and I spent much of the book just wanting to give him a hug; Penelope was ridiculously awesome, and probably the best friend he (or anyone) could ask for; and Baz was suitably snarky and mysterious. Of the main cast, Agatha was the only one I didn’t love, but even she felt very real, and she grew on me after a while. It was also pretty much perfect in terms of plot. It had enough twists and turns to keep you guessing, but none of them felt like they were just sprung on you out of nowhere (which is something I often find annoying). A couple of the mysteries in this book, like the identity of Lucy, I felt like I figured out a little earlier than I was supposed to, but even in that case, there was much more to her presence than I’d expected. And that finale was epic.
A couple of other things I should mention: Rowell’s writing is as smooth and beautiful as always. Her style is incredibly easy to read, and completely sucks you into the story. I also really, really loved the magic system she came up with for this book. All the spells are based on sayings, and she explains that they tend to lose power once the fall out of fashion with “Normals” (a.k.a. non-magical people). For instance, there’s a healing spell that’s simply called “Get well soon”, and a warming spell called “Some like it hot”, amongst many, many others.
So, my final verdict? Practically perfect in practically every way. Definitely adding this to my favourites. 😀 (Also, I don’t think you need to have read Fangirl to enjoy this, but knowing how this book came to be added to the reading experience in my case.)
CURRENT READATHON STATUS: Slightly worried that nothing else I read this weekend is going to live up to this! XD