10 Reasons to Carry On with Wayward Son

wayward son

I know I promised my last review would be the last of the year… but I managed to squeeze in Wayward Son before the end of the year and just needed to SQUEE!! And keeping with the tradition of its predecessor, which I reviewed back when this blog was just a baby, I simply have to write a list telling you all why I loved it! Consider this an unexpected (but hopefully rewarding) sequel. So, here are the reasons you should pick this up:

#1 If you loved the first one. And why wouldn’t you? Carry On was an ingenious and heart-warming parody of Harry Potter that I will recommend till the end of time!! As I mentioned way back when, it was the kind of story that left you satisfied but wanting more… which is why I’m delighted Rowell came back to this world and continued on. There was room for more- and that’s what we got here! And if you’re in any doubt about whether the standalone needed a sequel, have no fear…

#2 The premise for this was perfect. I knew I was in for a treat when I saw that the story opens with an epilogue- pitching you a story that starts after the war has been won. Yes, this is the story of what happens to the hero once the last page has been turned and we’ve been assured of their happily ever after. This is the sequel we never knew we needed (but boy did we need it!).

#3 Fortunately, the plot was hella entertaining. I loved the meandering twists of the roadtrip; I was grateful for the more American feel (some of which I unfortunately can’t talk about cos spoilers!). Needless to say, there was more than enough excitement to keep me going.

#4 The world building was expanded upon really well. I particularly liked how it’s only Americanisms that work as spells in America. This was especially cool, because it showed how Normals, with their language, give mages their power. And in case that wasn’t enough, this book had (more) DRAGONS! (frankly, I’m a sucker for that)

#5 I also loved the references. I’m guessing the title is a nod to Supernatural- which YAS I AM HERE FOR IT! It works beautifully! Think season 2, when you think the story is all over… then somehow the story rises from the ashes (we’ll pretend that show isn’t still going and that metaphor totally works 😉). Point is, I really enjoyed a lot of the gags. Speaking of…

#6 It’s funny! The humour alone makes this an absolute pleasure to read. That said, sometimes there was a dark edge to that light touch, because…

#7 This book has hidden depths. Because sometimes carrying on after hardship isn’t easy- yes, the big bad is gone- but there are other kinds of humdrum villains lurking. Rowell had a wonderful quote to sum this up: “Bad things happen, and then they stop, but they keep wreaking havoc inside of people”. I can’t tell you how much this spoke to me; I just want to *applaud* it.

#8 Plus, there was plenty of character growth. People (*ahem* characters) don’t just stop growing when we’re done reading about them- life goes on- and this is a testament to that. Every single character had an arc- which I really appreciated. Some, like Agatha, who you might’ve written off were writing themselves back into the narrative. Simon was struggling, but as lovable as ever. Penny has her own heartache to deal with. There was even *the mysterious new guy*… who I guess we’ll have to wait and see about 😉And of course, there was the dead gorgeous Baz, who always manages to be the life and soul of the party. I particularly liked how the villains integrated into the story and acted as a real foil to their personal issues.

#9 As you might have expected, love was in the air. In typical Rowell fashion, there was hints of a budding romance and then there was the existing relationship… which, again, I can’t spoil for you. Let’s just say it was rocky at times, but I will go down this ship dammit! Baz and Simon are IT for me!

#10 For all the ups and downs, this series was just so much fun!! Wayward Son really carries on the tradition. It was a stonkingly good sequel and I was tremendously satisfied with it. I will happily throw away all my bananas for a chance to read another one! *Here- have my bananas- have ’em all!*

Rating: 5/5 bananas

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana 

Worth every one! Have you read this series? Do you want to *squee* with me about it? Or do you plan to read it now? Let me know in the comments!

Fangirling Over Fangirl (Mostly)

FangirlWIPGoing into this, I will admit I didn’t think it would be my thing. Don’t get me wrong, I have my fangirling moments, but I’ve never written fanfic, engaged in it or been properly part of any fandom. So when I heard of Fangirl, a book ostensibly about fanfiction, years ago, I just put it aside as “not for me”. That was until I read Rowell’s Carry On. In the end, rather poetically, my fangirling for that book pushed me to give this a go- and I’m glad it did!

To start with, like all of Rowell’s books, this was a perfect blend of wit and heart. I will be the first to admit that the plot was not all that exciting- but it’s not that kind of book. It’s more the sort of story where the characters take you by the hand and lead you through their world. You get to know them and you fall in love along with them.

And let’s face it: the romance is what you’re here for. It didn’t disappoint. Levi made me smile stupidly every time he talked or turned up. And, of course, any hint of Baz and Simon scenes and I’m gonna be right there- cheering it on! The interspersing of their story into the plot, while not for everyone, was just the dose of warm fuzzies that I needed.

Of course, it was also incredibly relatable. The love of books (even if they’re not real books) came across brilliantly. And while I think that everyone has their own style, so the descriptions of writing aren’t entirely universal, I did enjoy those parts too.

However, this subject also brought up the biggest problems for me. Because Rowell did bring up the question of fanfic and plagiarism in quite an awkward way. I might offend some people here, but there is an issue with repurposing someone else’s work for uni, and I don’t think that Cathy totally got that. The professor’s view was just seen as a bit old fashioned- when in reality universities have to be strict about plagiarism and you can’t use someone else’s work for profit (yes grades count). None of this was addressed. To top it off, there was another character who stole some writing and this was seen as categorically not okay (because it isn’t). It just felt like a bit of a double standard and, considering the juxtaposition of these two ideas, I don’t know why the main character didn’t consider comparing the two incidents. What was even more frustrating is that it was left pretty open ended and I never felt like this issue was actually resolved.

It left me thinking that this had never really been a plot point anyway… which brings me back to the fact that there really is very little in terms of story beyond the romance and relationships. In the end, issues like this receded to background noise. Even the “small matter” of finding oneself didn’t end up as being as important as finding a boyfriend. Ultimately that was enough for me and I found it an enjoyable read, though perhaps not something to go crazy over.

Rating: 4/5 bananas

 hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana

Have you read this? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!

Ten Reasons to Read “Carry On”

carry on*Spoiler Free*

Okay, I am totally on board the Rainbow Rowell train now- because how could I not be after reading “Carry On”??!?! I wanted to write a full review, but, as anyone who has read the book will understand, I’m just feeling too jittery (partly because I read it in one sitting and stayed up most of the night to finish it). Honestly, I had heard good things about it before I read it, but I never expected to like it *this much*.

So, just as Simon has a list of reasons at the beginning of the book of why he’s looking forward to going back to school, here’s my list of ten reasons why this book is un-frickin’-believable:

  1. It’s ingenious. At first I thought it was overcomplicated, but as the plot developed and all the little strands started to come together, I realised just how perfect it was.
  2. Because it’s self-aware. It’s not like any other fantasy about another “chosen one”. Rowell is perfectly aware how cliché and overused these tropes are, so she takes that concept and flips it on its head. Some people think it’s derivative (of Harry Potter in particular). But that’s the whole point- it knows exactly where it stands in the genre and takes full advantage of that. I haven’t read Fan Girl, but I can see how it plays into the idea of fanfiction by transforming an already well-known concept. It’s so meta. Rainbow Rowell really knows her craft.
  3. The world-building. At first I thought, being a parody and all, that the world-building might be sub-standard. Boy was I dead wrong. I have to say that the way they do magic in this book is one of my *absolute favourite* magical concepts out there. Because I love words, and in this book, words have power. And onto the subject of words…
  4. The humour and the writing. All the dialogue has a lovely witty edge to it and there are so many laugh out loud moments I wasn’t expecting.
  5. The plot’s all twisty and intriguing. There are so many twist and turns and unbelievable concepts thrown into the mix. There were points when I thought I was on track with what was going on, but there were so many times when it caught me by surprise. And on top of that it’s jam packed with action and excitement. It’s just epic! And so unexpected, but not as unexpected as…
  6. The romance. I won’t say anything more about that here- this is spoiler free after all- just… oh my goodness… the feels!! And speaking of the feels…
  7. Baz!!! I have no words to express my feelings for this character. He is absolutely everything you want in a character- he is both good and bad meshed together- and so dynamic! Speaking of characters…
  8. The other characters are brilliant too. I love how the villains and heroes are so ambiguous. And all of them are so complex and very, very real. I feel like I know them all. And I’ve only read this book once (so far- cos I’m gonna have to go back and reread this- and then I’m gonna have to read it again).
  9. And I love their relationships with each other. Not just the romantic ones, but the friendships too. And finally, the main reason why this book rocks is…
  10. Because it left me both satisfied and wanting more. And you don’t get much better than that when you read. It is the best compliment any book can receive.

So, yeah, in case you haven’t guess, I loved this book. I suppose giving this rating is a bit of a foregone conclusion at this point. Ah well, it deserves it:

Rating 5/5 bananas

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana

 

To be honest, I’d like to give Rainbow Rowell a whole crate of bananas after reading this.

Have you read this book? Are you as crazy in love with it as I am? Let me know in the comments below?

(I feel like I might need to start a support group or something)