It’s here, it’s queer, it’s Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. A fantasy genre fictional series that has magic, mages, vampires, ghosts, and features LGBTQA+ characters. The book follows Simon Snow, “the chosen one”, who is considered the worst chosen in history, according to his roommate Baz. On his journey for his final year in Watford, a magic school located in London; his girlfriend has broken up with him, his roommate and enemy is missing, his mentor is not interacting with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster on the loose with the same face as Simon. A prefect way to end his final year. Carry On is a very refreshing take on the idea of being the “Chosen One” in a story, the hero of the day. It’s a great blend of fantasy, mystery, and love story.
Some might draw parallels to Harry Potter as both, Hogwarts and Watford are in the United Kingdom, so if you’re a fan of Harry Potter, it is a definite recommendation! Especially if you’re not feeling like supporting J.K. Rowling for her recent actions, here’s a story where the characters are canon to be gay, as well as acknowledged by the author, and it’s not the primary focus of the story.
In addition, the magic that is performed in Carry On is different compared to Harry Potter, as Carry On is casted by using common phrases that Normalies (Muggles) used such as idioms, song lyrics, lullabies, etc. A spell is as powerful as the phrase is used often, so songs or idioms can go out of relevancy. It might be confusing, reading through the book and some phrases might be British rather than Americanized English but it’s a clever way of magic.
As a person in the LGBTQA+ community and a Potterhead of the original Harry Potter series, I fell in love with the book and mid-reading, I was already wanting a sequel. It had what I loved to be seen in a fantasy novel while also having the romance be put on the side but develops. I was already a fan of Rowell’s style of writing, her other book, Eleanor & Park is one of my favorites as it features an Asian male, main character. It clearly shows how diverse Rowell is when it comes to character and character development, to her writing styles. As Eleanor & Park and Fangirl (another one of her works) are more realistic plotlines. Carry On, on the other hand, is fantasy.
Overall, I rate the book a 9.5/10 since it’s such an easy read and engaging. It has a wonderful story line as well as well thought out characters. Though, there are parts that were hard to comprehend so I’ll have to read a second time but it will be worth it.