“Carry On” Review

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Eva Kung-Bi

“Carry On” is a stand alone novel by Rainbow Rowel. That may not seem like a surprise, because Rainbow Rowel is most well known for writing stand alone contemporary  novels. You might have heard of “Fangirl”, or “Eleanor and Park”, both of which are well loved and absolutely amazing contemporary reads that both have Rainbow Rowel’s name on the cover. However, “Carry On” is a fantasy novel, which is rather odd, considering contemporary and fantasy are two rather different genres that don’t typically mix well. But throw any doubt out the window, because “Carry On” is hands down one of the best books I have ever read.

“Carry On” is a stellar bundle of words, hitting the nail on the head in all aspects. The character development is wonderful, the world building is fabulous, and the romance is not forced or too insta-lovey either.

First off, the novel is an example of just how versatile Rainbow Rowell’s writing can be. Her previous novels (“Landline”, “Attachments”, “Fangirl”, and “Eleanor Park”) all are contemporaries. Don’t get me wrong, even though I do love tough, gritty adventure novels, I do love a good contemporary every now and then, and “Fangirl” and “Eleanor and Park” are very solid reads that I would definitely recommend. However, Rainbow Rowell’s writing style is very fit for contemporary writing, and produces beautiful stories. Because of this I was a little bit skeptical when I first started “Carry On”. And at first, it does seem like these speculations are correct. The plot is slow, there’s more talking than anything else, and not much happens. However, once part two hits, and a certain someone returns to school, the plot thickens almost immediately. The reason this front bit seems so long is because Rainbow Rowel is providing a lot of background information about the world and magic system present later in the book. While you are reading, this may seem long and slow, and you might want to quit, but STICK WITH IT. You need the information Rainbow is shoveling at you if you want to understand the rest of the story.

The second point I wanted to address was the world building and character development. Rowel has proved just how wonderful she is at developing characters with her previous contemporary novels, so the wonderful characters are no surprise. However, I had never seen her develop an original world, and I was utterly impressed. granted, it isn’t the best, (obviously), but it is extremely well done. She weaves things from the current world into the novel, giving readers something to relate to. Many people have called this book a Harry Potter wannabe, but I cannot disagree more. Though the story does seem similar to Harry Potter at first glance (magical school in Britain, wizards), but the story proves to be allot more than that. Rowell’s writing is allot different that Rowling’s, because Harry Potter is a children’s series, the writing is a bit juvenile, however, Rowell’s is allot different, as Carry On is a Young Adult novel, and thus the writing, and by writing I mean the manipulation of the English language, is a lot better. I’m not saying Carry On is better than Harry Potter, I’m just saying the writing is better. The story is definitely still second best.

Lastly, I’d like to talk about the romance in this novel. And lemme just say, don’t read this if you’re homophobic. There’s your warning. Anyway, this romance is beautiful. It isn’t forced, it isn’t insta-lovey, it’s perfect. I cant’s say much about this without spoiling the novel, but just lemme say that this romance is probably one of the best ones I’ve ever read.