(Struggling to) Carry On - Rainbow Rowell
Okay, so I had decided a while ago to not write any individual book review posts and to group them together, however, for this book, I needed to give it its own post.
I love Rainbow Rowell. I loved Eleanor & Park and Attachments & Landlines and (to a slightly lesser extent) FanGirl. She has a beautiful way of writing and I love her. So as soon as I saw I could preorder her next book, I didn’t even read the description, I just pressed yes (or whatever the button actually said). However, when I heard it was about Simon Snow, the boy wizard who was the main character in the secondary story in FanGirl, I was gutted. I couldn't see how a knock-off Harry Potter would be any good, and if I’m honest, I skimmed over those bits in FanGirl anyway (Sorry Rainbow!).
So the book remained unread. I was annoyed at myself for buying it and annoyed at the world that it existed.
But then Bethan read it. She was as reluctant as I was but she took the plunge. She text me along the way and she very quickly began to love it. She made me promise to read it and although I was not looking forward to it, I am not about to break a promise so I did.
And I loved it.
And I hated myself for it.
There are a bloody lot of similarities to Harry Potter of course, but after a while you stop comparing. There is a Voldemort kinda character, and a Hermione, and Simon Snow’s whole backstory is very Potter-esque but that’s really where it ends. Simon is a powerful mage and his roommate Baz (who is a little Malfoy), is a secret vampire. And, spoiler alert, they fall in love.
It’s beautiful and emotional and believable (the love more than the magic of course) and a little bit sexy. The story is told from various characters’ points of view, although mainly Simon and Baz and you really feel the energy and attraction. It was one of the best-written romance stories I’ve read in YA for sure. They didn’t have magical nights laying under the stars, nor did they swap over-poetic declarations of love. It was beautifully awkward and real and natural and I couldn’t put it down. I read it constantly for days - I even took my Kindle to the gym and read whilst I was on the exercise bike. I didn’t care about anything but Baz & Simon’s love.
The book is good, man. Whether you want to admit it or not, Rainbow Rowell knows how to write a bloody good story, with unique twists. She can do no wrong in my eyes and I can’t wait to see what she writes next.
Until then, I will probably fill my time reading Baz & Simon fan fiction and I’m not even ashamed.