Book Review – ‘Wayward Son’ (#2 Simon Snow) by Rainbow Rowell

Entertaining re-visit to some fan-girly characters, but felt a little light on plot.

Genre: Y/A, Fantasy, LGBT

No. of pages: 356

The story is supposed to be over.

Simon Snow did everything he was supposed to do. He beat the villain. He won the war. He even fell in love. Now comes the good part, right? Now comes the happily ever after…

So why can’t Simon Snow get off the couch?

What he needs, according to his best friend, is a change of scenery. He just needs to see himself in a new light…

That’s how Simon and Penny and Baz end up in a vintage convertible, tearing across the American West.

They find trouble, of course. (Dragons, vampires, skunk-headed things with shotguns.) And they get lost. They get so lost, they start to wonder whether they ever knew where they were headed in the first place…

I was really looking forward to jumping back into the Simon Snow universe.

Wayward Son’ did not have the same tone as ‘Carry On.’ There was less of that Potteresque magic and silliness. The angst between Simon and Baz is still there and fabulously kept my attention (if at times, a little juvenile.) Though, it was as if we rolled back Simon and Baz’s relationship for the sake of angst. I’m not mad at it, though I do feel a little cheated.

This felt more like a tale or anecdote rather than a novel. A road tip.

Where ‘Carry On’ felt rich in atmosphere and world building, ‘Wayward Son,’ was a little sparse in comparison. I’m guessing this novel is suffering a lot of that middle book syndrome, where it is about introducing new characters, and setting up a lot of things for the next instalment ‘Where the Wind Blows.’

There is something about Rainbow Rowell’s writing style in this franchise that feels so breezy and innocent. I’m not a massive fantasy reader anymore, but this series definitely gives me all the feels and I was very content to kick back and fall into the world of Simon and Baz with a cuppa on the balcony.

I wasn’t too sure about the plot of ‘Wayward Son,’ there is a lot of time spent with the characters ambling and re-orientating themselves. Trying to find their purpose. I think that is what lost me a bit too. Yes, I love the characters, and the angst, and the magical world they live in… but that meandering purpose dragged a little too long into the novel.

A cute twist at the end involving the new character to the gang was a pleasant surprise and definitely has me intrigued with release of the final book in this trilogy.

In terms of story, ‘Wayward Son’ is interesting, but not one that had me chomping at the bit to read the sequel. It’s more about the characters for me, and I’m hoping that Rowell ups the ante in the third book in the franchise. While I enjoyed ‘Wayward Son,’ it was more of a so-so read. Another novel I’ll hang back on recommending until I read the next in the series: it will make or break my love of the franchise.

Overall feeling: a bit of a wobble…

© Casey Carlisle 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I think I have a problem

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I’m getting to the point where there is so much going on in life, I’m starting to feel resentful that I don’t have enough time to read and write.

Thoughts like ‘I could finish writing a chapter in the time it takes me to do the grocery shopping’ or ‘I’d rather be reading a novel’ weigh against my day’s activities. It’s very anti-social and I find myself measuring units of time in word count, or pitting my chores (as they now feel like chores) against my favourite pastime.

Do I really need food? I could go a few more days on the measly scraps in the pantry…

Why are my friends having so many birthday parties!

Do I have to head out for just one thing? I’ll save all my running around for one trip. Time management will give me more sacred moments with my book. Mwha ha ha.

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Which gives me more satisfaction – catching up on all the gossip over coffee with my friend, or getting another 3,000 words down?

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And if I do go out, that means showering, finding some nice clothes, doing my hair and make-up, driving around for ages!

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Ugh! I could be writing… I think I have a problem.

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UPPERCASE lowercase banner by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

A whole new world inspired by ‘Fangirl’ that is magical and swoon-worthy.

Carry On Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Fantasy, GLBT

No. of pages: 522

From Goodreads:

Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up. 

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I’ve read ‘Fangirl,’ but I have to say, I enjoyed ‘Carry On’ better.

The first thing to note – this is not Cath from ‘Fangirls’ fanfiction, nor is it the original written by Gemma T Leslie from that universe; this is a completely new take on our two male leads, Simon and Baz pipelined straight form Rainbow Rowell’s brain to you. So don’t expect to see any of the text from ‘Fangirl’ in this book – it is its own creature. Additionally, I’ve not read any of the Harry Potter books (better get on to that) from which the world of Simon and Baz is loosely based, and that did not detract from any enjoyment of this book. So you don’t need to have read either ‘Fangirl’ or any of the Harry Potter novels to understand ‘Carry On,’ it’s a marvellous little stand alone.

I deducted half a mark solely for the pacing – especially in the first half. It felt like it was dragging and I put the book down several times, tempted to read something else for a break. Also, even though the ending was great, magical and fantastic, it wasn’t epic. Other fantasy or glbt books have had a more dramatic ending suiting to an angsty protagonist. ‘Carry On’ fell a little flat for me.

But on the whole, I loved it!

Carry On Book Review Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleSimon is a bit of a whiney character, but grounded and all of these points, surprisingly, make him endearing.

Baz is completely misunderstood, and it was valuable to get his POV to gain some insight into the developing plot.

There is a lot of head jumping in ‘Carry On,’ Penelope, Lucy, Simon, Agatha, Baz, The Mage, Ebb, Nicodemus, which I found a little distracting, but it also broke up the narrative into delicious bite sized bits and provided a welcome break to what would have been a very long and boring explanation had it remained as Simon’s POV. It added to the pace and really drove story forward, especially in the last half of the book.

The love/hate relationship between Simon and Baz has its twist and turns, and while I fangirled over the pairing, a key turning point did not have the weight and reaction from Simon as I would have liked – but that is me – I love to revel in the angst. And while there is plenty of that in ‘Carry On,’ I always have an appetite for more.

Some of the more comical moments are presented expertly and got a chuckle out of me frequently – as did some of the characters names – it was very Potteresque.

There is a certain amount of predictability as with most fantasy, but there are many fun surprises as well. This is a big departure from the usual contemporary for Rainbow Rowell, and I have to say, she should write more fantasy – this was thoroughly enjoyable! Highly recommending this one to all my friends and family.

Overall reaction: Gave me all the feels.

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© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.