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“Carry On” review

by Madeleine Gibbons-Shapiro, Staff Writer

“Carry On”, the most recent release from widely known and appreciated  young adult author Rainbow Rowell, follows the story of a teenage wizard, Simon Snow, through his adventures at the Watford School of Magicks in The World of Mages. “Carry On” is a spin off novel from Rowell’s “Fangirl.” In “Fangirl,” the protagonist, Cath, writes “Carry On,” a fanfiction series based on her favorite series, the Simon Snow books.

Rowell usually writes raw, complicated stories of young love, and “Carry On” is no different. However, it is clear that a story filled with so much magic and fantasy is slightly out of Rowell’s comfort zone. Nonetheless, the captivating descriptions, the real, tangible feelings, and the undeniably are addicting and difficult to put down.

In the book, Simon Snow returns to Watford for his final year. A magical war is raging and Simon, the uncontrollably powerful “Chosen One,” is caught in the center of the conflicts. Simon and his friends are faced with a mysterious enemy, the Insidious Humdrum, and are placed under the guidance of the Mage, the headmaster of Watford. Sound familiar? The parallels with the world famous Harry Potter series are uncanny. The kind-hearted, brave, yet flawed protagonist (Simon/Harry), the intelligent, resilient best friend (Penelope/Hermione), the ultimate evil power (Humdrum/Voldemort), and the wise, powerful headmaster (Mage/ Dumbledore). The only difference is that in “Carry On”,  Simon becomes infatuated with his nemesis and roommate, Baz.

The first section of the book is a bit slow and becomes frustrating with the constant Harry Potter similarities that don’t amount to the greatness of J.K. Rowling’s writing. However, once the story picks up, it becomes clear that The World of Mages is unique and separate from that of Hogwarts, and Rowell lets her love story shine–with a bit of a twist. With a new character’s perspective each chapter and more and more of the plot unfolding with each page,“Carry On” is a crowd-pleaser and lives up to Rowell’s growing legacy.

A-