Review Thursday: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Carry On is one of Rainbow Rowell’s novels. Apparently it is a spin off novel to her book, Fangirl. I’ve never read Fangirl so I don’t know how big a role this book’s universe plays in that main character’s life, so I’m reviewing this with fresh eyes.

Carry On takes place in a magical world, and the setting is in various parts of England. Our main character, Simon Snow, and his friends, go to a magical school called Watford. In this world, magical people (mages) and normal human people ( Normals) coexist. Normals aren’t aware of the mages existence. There are also other magical beings such as centaurs, pixies, vampires and Numpties.

We follow our main characters as they try to fight this was against the Insidious Humdrum,    . They are in their last year of school, so that was a different sort of thing to read. We’re seeing these character after they have already gone though other incidents. These incidents are mentioned briefly or as after thoughts.

Magic is this world is control through an object ( wand, belt buckle, ring) and the use of words. if your vocabulary isn’t too good, you’re going to have  bit of trouble casting spells. Since the power rests on words, they use spell like “up and away.” It’s a very interesting concept of how the magic is used.

Rowell’s writing is simple and concise and it’s done in a way that doesn’t seem too choppy. The pace of the book also flowed consistently. The book is in four parts and the epilogue. The only thing that seemed to slow the pace down a bit, was that thanks to the bits of information and hints given throughout the text, you could piece together certain prominent information quickly. But because it was information that the main characters didn’t know, it seemed to slow down the pace of the book.

Our Main Characters and My thoughts on them.

Simon Snow

Simon is out our main character. He is the chosen one, who doesn’t feel like he’s a chosen one. Unlike his friends, he can’t control his magic, He refers to using it like using a bomb, it goes off and is explosive. Simon is is the son of Davy and Lucy, however he was put in foster care. He doesn’t now who his parents is. Maybe because of his upbringing in the care homes, Simon eats a lot- (it’s either that or he needs the food to help with the sheer power of his magic). After Simon loses his magic, he is stuck with Dragon wings and a devil’s tail. I like Simon. He’s relatable and he isn’t stuck up or conceited. He’s puzzled with how his magic works. He’s a likeable character who I think depends too much on what The Mage says.


Penelope is Simon’s friend. Based on her description, she seems to be Indian or mixed with Indian and white. She ‘s a smart girl, whose prominent in spells ( think of her as an Indian Hermoine). She often breaks the rules. Penny often doesn’t think things through ahead of time. But she is a lovable character.


Agatha is Simon’s ex girlfriend. I don’t really like her. Her family is wealthy and she acts spoiled. She doesn’t really care about the world of mages, she prefers to live as a Normal.

Tyrannus Basilton Grimm-Pitch

Baz is a special case. He has a doozy of a name and he’s a turned vampire, which he hides.  His mother Natasha was the previous headmistress of the school before the Mage gained control. He has had a crush on Simon from the time the met, but kept it hidden. The two of them have always had a slightly antagonistic relationship. He forms a sort of friendship with Penelope.

The Mage.

The Mage is the interim headmaster of Watford. Through Lucy’s POV and pieces given by other people, The Mage, was once Davy. Davy was a student at Watford who was obsessed with a rebellion at Watford due to the elitist admission standards. ( only those with strong magic, who could past the trials could get into Watford.) He is obsessed with finding the Chosen one ( The Greatest Mage of all) and because of this, he magiks the child he and Lucy are to have to become this great mage. That child ends up being Simon. Although he never told Simon of his parentage and the books don’t state that he treated him in a fatherly way.

The Insidious Humdrum

The humdrum id the main protagonist in this story. In the magical world. Dead spots started opening in the atmosphere, These dead spots are void of magic and thus feel dead to mages. The Humdrum has recently taken the form of 11 year old Simon. It is revealed that Davy;s spell cause Simon to be too powerful ( his parents were powerful in their own right) and every time Simon uses his magic, it tears a whole in the atmosphere. Simon eventually gives all his magic to the humdrum so it will vanish.


The book was interesting and enjoyable. I give it 4 stars


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