Sometimes there’s just a book you can’t help but pick up.
You know the ones. They’re so aesthetically pleasing on the outside that there’s just no possible way they won’t look as good within. The colors, the cover. The finish, the spine. The length, the publishing insignia, whether or not it has an emboss or deckle edges. Sometimes, all things just work together for good.
Carry On is one such book. And it certainly lived up to its promises of beauty.
- Author: Rainbow Rowell
- Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
- Year: 2015
- Genre vibe: So like, Harry Potter, but less involved and more trope-filled and contained. Also romance. Kinda.
- At a glance: Simon Snow is the chosen one. Baz is his roommate and, apparently, his nemesis. But I mean, times change, right?
This is the fourth draft of this particular review for this particular book. During my Year in Book Review I awarded Carry On the prize of Most Memorable Book from 2015. So I guess the question this review needs to answer is: Why?
Well, I don’t know.
I’ve been thinking about this book ever since I read it. It was a book that was my reward for finishing another book and a long work week, and it was the book that got me through Thanksgiving week amid more working and sleep deprivation.
I don’t even know why. I wasn’t reading it at the time. But having the giant thing on my desk all week helped, for some reason.
Carry On is not a book I would call “my type”. The heavy themes it hints at are tucked safely and quietly behind a veneer of cheerful colors and Harry Potter-type world that begs to be more important than story. Not exactly the dark/gritty/gothic/otherwise urban and definitely not fairy-tale-like feel I generally go for. It’s not something that asks you to care.
So the only real draw to this book, for me, was the vampire.
So why’d I read it, for one thing, and for another, how come I enjoyed it so freaking much?
I think, that after thinking about it for all this time, I discovered what it boils down to: Family.
Family dynamics in books are, again, not exactly my absolute favorite thing. A good brother/sister relationship will rip my heart to pieces, but a full family? Meh.
But Carry On wasn’t about just a family. It was about a family of friends. And that, I think, is why I liked it so much. Even looking beyond Baz and Simon’s incredible relationship, what you find at the end of this whole massive book is a support system made out of all these people.
It’s rock solid, a dynamic I haven’t enjoyed reading about since the Golden Trio. Carry On is a fantastic blend of romantic dynamics, pure youth, and strength. And I think that’s what makes it so fantastic.
- Rating: 5/5 stars
- Recommended to: Anyone that likes high fantasy, honestly, with the addition of gay vampires.
- Lasting Impression: The scene. With the fire. You know the one I’m talking about. That one.