Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Carry On - Rainbow Rowell

Summary: Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story—but far, far more monsters. (Summary and image from goodreads.com)

Review:  If you took Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy, put them in the same dorm, and then turned the whole Harry Potter series into a hormone-charged race to the finish, you'd have Carry On.  Truly, the similarities were overwhelming.  Orphan with ridiculous amounts of magic who happens to be the favorite of the Headmaster (and also has crazy messy hair).  Serious vitriol oozing toward the Hero from the son of the richest wizard around.  A bushy-haired best friend who knows more than the professors.  A sidekick (oh, wait! This one's a girlfriend!) who is totally expendable.  Don't forget the groundskeeper who just gets the hero, and asks for nothing in return. Add hormones, shock value, shake, and poof!!  New novel!

As an obvious lover of the Harry Potter series, I had a really hard time with it.  It felt like it was as close to plagiarism as you could get without actually crossing the line.  It felt like a reimagined fanfic of my favorite series.  It made me laugh in some places, but I fear I was more entertained guessing who each character was ripped off (oops) based on, than I was on the actual story.

I don't want to belittle Rowell.  I like her style of writing.  She's a clever writer, with a fun voice to read. But I felt like this was beneath her.  She's clever enough to come up with her own material, and if anyone is going to rip off Harry Potterperhaps be a little more discreet?

I will give her this - the ending was a touch of a shock.  And her epilogue isn't as nice and tidy as Rowling's.  But still, I was left feeling like I'd stumbled into a bad fanfic corner of the interwebs.

Rating: Two stars.  It made me want to finish the book.

For the Sensitive Reader:  Vampires, hormonal teenagers, homosexual relationships and explorations, hormones.  More hormones.


Kristian said...

I enjoyed Fangirl and the fanfiction that the main character wrote was comic relief.
But your comments are exactly why I haven't picked it up.

Chelsea Heidt said...

It sounds like it's probably supposed to be a satire, instead of a completely serious book of its own? Because that would make sense about the rampant similarities...


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