Contemporary, Fantasy (Teen), Romance (Teen), YA Fiction

Carry On – The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow by Rainbow Rowell

I was really excited to read this novel because this is the same author that wrote Eleanor and Park, which made me cry my eyes out and was just fantastic. I had really high hopes for this novel, especially because it involved fantasy – and we all know I love fantasy novels!

Simon Snow is the Chosen One – but he has no idea what that means. He is a terrible wizard and can barely rein in his power. His roommate, Baz,  constantly reminds Simon that he is a failure. To make matters worse, Simon’s girlfriend  breaks up with him and there is monster prowling the magical world creating blank pockets that are void of all magic – and it looks exactly like Simon. Now, it is up to Simon and his friend Penelope to put all of the pieces together and figure out a way to get rid of this monster – while still managing to graduate from the Watford School of Magicks!

To be honest, this novel was like a fan fiction of Harry Potter. There were so many elements that were similar that it was hard to take this novel seriously as an independent and unique idea. I mean, we’ve got Penelope with frizzy hair, and Simon is the “chosen one” who is an orphan (sound familiar?) and he has a mentor who is the headmaster of the school (cue Dumbledore). There were also parts of the book that described events in the past that made me wonder if this was a standalone or if it had a prequel. Things only really turned around in the middle of the story when the relationships between the characters became more complex. Overall, this novel was a bit of a let-down as it wasn’t as unique as I thought it would be and seemed a bit scattered throughout. I haven’t given up on this author, however, and I will definitely give some of her other work a try!

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