Another popular book in recent years was actually inspired by fan fiction. Not only that but it was a spin-off from the author’s previous work Fangirl, in which Cath writes fanfiction for her favourite series, Simon Snow. Now we finally get to visit his world, clearly inspired by Hogwarts.
I never got into the Harry Potter club so personally, I loved the world of Carry On way more than Harry Potter. Instead of spells being in Latin, they are based on popular rhymes or songs, the more popular the song or rhyme the easier the spell is to cast. I absolutely loved this, which made this magic system one of my favourites within the first few chapters. Like the author’s previous book, it was full of pop culture and fandom love.
The Chosen One is a common trope in many fantasies but this novel manages to use a unique take on the cliché trope. Simon Snow may be the gifted Chosen One, destined to save the entire magical world, but he is absolutely terrible at it. He can’t control his magic, instead, it blasts out like a bomb. The build and build, intertwined with the plot, until a wonderful reveal and an emotional climax.
In a world where words are literally magic, being terrible with language is more than a nuisance, yet that is something Simon must struggle with (as well as being the Chosen One). Throughout the entire book, you really get the sense of his struggles, especially under the weight of an entire society’s expectations. He has never had to really think about anything, and he still continues to try and not think. I love this, so many main characters, especially epic heroes, are smart, quick and prone to lengthy, in-depth analysis of themselves and their challenges.
Bas and Simon have hated each other since they first met over five years ago and being roommates has only made it worse. Constant plotting, stalking and numerous attempts by Bas to kill Simon has only made Simon see Bas as a threat, even when he’s not around. Underneath Bas’ hate, he hides feelings towards Simon that are anything but hateful. Yet his feelings for Simon only make him resent ‘the Chosen One’ even more. I loved that for once there’s no shipping or secret meanings, after all, if the author wanted those two to be together they would have written it like that (I find it frustrating when two completely non-romantic characters are shipped as being ‘secretly in love’). It was great to find a popular fantasy with gay main characters, it helped enhance this book’s uniqueness.
Penny is the smart know-it-all best friend, an enjoyable character who really helped keep Simon alive since their first year. Meanwhile, Agatha, Simon’s long-time girlfriend, is more than your typical pretty, popular girl. Unlike many love interests, she isn’t content to simply be a prize for the Chosen One after the villain has been taken care of. She doesn’t feel like Simon loves her for her – and I have to agree with her – and wants someone to desperately need her now. Like many of us, she simply wants a normal life and enjoys her summers spent with her mortal friends more than her time at Watford. All of this made her an entertaining character (though I would have enjoyed the wonder of the magic world more!).
This book was definitely not overhyped. I absolutely loved it. In fact, I actually loved much more than Harry Potter – its’ spell language was fun, its’ magic system was great, captivating characters and a unique villain. I know that’s probably controversial but I never really got into Harry Potter. I give Carry On 5/5, it is one of my favourites and absolutely can’t wait to read Wayward Son!