*contains very very mild spoilers about one romantic pairing within the book*
You may have guessed it already from the title, but GUESS WHAT BOOK I GOT FOR CHRISTMAS AND HAVE ALREADY READ IN APPROXIMATELY 48 HOURS? (that doesn’t have quite the ring to it I was hoping it would. Ah well.)
THAT’S THE ONE.
ONLY CARRY ON BY RAINBOW ROWELL (absolute queen of YA in my eyes) (except maybe Cassandra Clare) (or Kiera Cass, I LOVED The Selection) (lets just settle with Rainbow Rowell for now, we all know how indecisive I am)
Here’s the cover, if you haven’t seen it (accompanied by the most fabulous nail art I’ve seen in a long time):
BUT YES. BACK TO THE POINT. I’M NOT SURE I CAN PHYSICALLY STOP WITH THESE CAPITALS, I’M QUITE ENJOYING SCREAM-FANGIRLING IN A TOTALLY SILENT WAY. okay i’ll stop now.
The point is: my aunt got me this for Christmas which made me SO VERY HAPPY and prompted lots of snapchats with heart-eyed emojis because a) I so wanted to read this book, b) it’s one of the first books that I’ve really been aware of having to wait to be released, c) i’m a cheapskate and poor when it comes to hardbacks and it was released in October so I decided to wait until Christmas to read it, d) IT’S RAINBOW ROWELL AND LINKS INTO FANGIRL, PEOPLE!
So yeah, I was happy to get it. Big thanks to my aunt for giving it to me and even bigger thanks to my mum for telling her I wanted it ;). I read it v. quickly and it’s the first book I finished in 2016 so yay for that 🙂
SO ONWARDS AND UPWARDS TO THE MAIN EVENT. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, a LOT of flailing. (I’ve started using that word a lot, mentally and on here. I blame Eve (except not in a bad way. In a, I-like-this-word-and-you-made-me-start-using-it-so-you’re-the-cause-way))
Let’s start with the visual impact (whoa, that sounds posh) of the book. I like the fact that I have the hardback, because I don’t have many of them, and I really like the cover. The typography is really cool, and the drawings, and the quote on the back – “Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen”. AND THERE’S A DOUBLE COVER, GUYS! Yup, that’s right, underneath the hardback jacket, on the actual book, is ANOTHER BEAUTIFUL COVER! It’s (an awesome shade of) pink and red, and features Snowbaz ~maybe~ kissing and a picture of their two heads on the back. (I’m saying that’s not spoilers because it’s on the cover) (and Rainbow Rowell herself posted it on the magical place that is her Instagram page).
The inside of the book is very bookstagram-worthy too – both in the front and back there’s a beautifully illustrated map of Watford, the title page is swoonworthy and, this sounds weird, but I really like the font used to announce each new chapter. *shrugs* must be a bookworm thing. Plus I just like typography.
AND NOW ONTO THE STORY
I love it. I didn’t believe everyone else, but just like everybody said, as soon as I finished it I just wanted to reread it. I didn’t, but I did send excited messages to my friends (especially the one who NEARLY BOUGHT IT BUT DIDN’T OMG TREASON instructing them to read it NOW), fangirled on Twitter (so much fangirling Twitter offered to translate from Estonian)…it was a difficult position, because none of my (non-bloggy) friends have read it and I don’t think many of them have read any of her books (HOW DARE THEY?!?) and so I couldn’t fangirl with them. *sad face*. This is why blogging is the best thing ever full stop, guys. (Best thing ever other than this book, obviously. And the rest of her books. And just books in general, I guess.)
I like how it has definite parallels to Harry Potter but is unique in the most awesome ways – how the spells are cast, how the World of Mages (I was going to write the Wizarding World then, oops haha) is run, the Insidious Humdrum etc.
Talking of the Humdrum…that solution! I don’t think that had crossed my mind once. Though to be honest I probably read to fast to spend time thinking up too many theories.
And I loved the way it was told from different perspectives. I knew to expect it from another review, but it worked so well – especiallly when each character only had a few lines before it switched. And Lucy as a character was pretty good, she added another dimension to it, though I kinda don’t think she was absolutely crucial to the plot? She made everything a little bit more supernatural and interesting though. I’d like to know how she died. Were we told that? Have I just forgotten?
I thought Agatha’s ~outcome~ was interesting too…it showed the different opinions, kinda kept it more realistic than just having a group of ridiculously good magickal teenagers. (Not that that would be a bad thing though)
Overall, I liked all the characters – Fiona wasn’t your typical upper-class magician, the whole idea of the numpties was brilliant (especially the name), seeing the Mage develop through the real-time storyline and Lucy’s narrative was awesome, Penelope just seemed utterly unafraid and completely badass, Baz was brilliantly sarcastic and funny in a really mean way (but so sweet nearer the end of the book) and Simon was inept in a trying-but-useless way, but then really pulled it out the bag when it was needed most. And what he did at the end…that’s pretty damn courageous.
However, although it would’ve made the book even longer than the 517 pages it already (not a bad thing tbh), I would’ve maybe liked to hear more from Lucy, more about the Mage’s past and his plans for the future, more about Simon’s previous years at Watford, though I know Rowell never intended to write the whole series as Gemma T. Leslie did in Fangirl. Maybe a bit more from Agatha too?
I thought the plot was good – it never felt predictable or ridiculous (except maybe some of the romantic bits at the end were a little predictable), all the monsters and whatnot felt believable and I basically want to go to Watford now. The only things that Hogwarts gets over it is Quidditch and the awesome Christmas celebrations they have.
Ultimately, what you can take from this book is that it’s wonderful, it gave me a new ship, it got me really excited and I can’t really form a coherent, critical sentence about it. It’s just one of those books I liked. Maybe even beaten Fangirl for my top spot!
Right, now I’m off to reread it…
Have you read it? What were your thoughts? Do you want to read it? Have you read any of Rowell’s other books, especially Fangirl?