(06/1/17) Book Review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Sometimes you read a book, and it makes you want to write a book, to write something as good as that, to make someone feel the way you’ve just felt after reading it.

And sometimes, you read a book and it makes you want to write a book, just because you’re certain you can write something a million times better than that.

And unfortunately, Carry On was the latter for me.

I had heard SO MANY amazing reviews about this and I’d enjoyed Rainbow Rowell’s previous books, so was looking forward to reading it. But that didn’t last long.

There was nothing about this book that seemed original. I’m well aware that practically any novel written with a magical theme will be compared to Harry Potter, especially one set in a school, but I have read many other magic books other than Harry Potter – I’m even writing one myself – but never has one been even close to being this much like Harry Potter.

First (and there will be some spoilers here), there was the fact he was an orphan, and had to go back to the non-magic world during the school summer holidays, where he had no friends. ‘Muggles’ were now called ‘Normals’, the headteacher, who he was particularly close to, ignored him for a long period. The castle itself – his dorm was in a tower, much like Gryffindor, there was the Wavering Wood (cough cough Forbidden Forest), and a room that you had to have a genuine desire to enter. Did someone just say the Room of Requirement?

And I KNOW, that Rowell has talked about how it’s meant to be similar to Harry Potter and it is practically Harry Potter Fanfiction, and I also know there were a lot of good points about it. Good points such as the notable increase in diversity regarding characters race and sexualities, something Harry Potter was painstakingly without.

But I still didn’t particularly like it. It felt too much like a rip off, and I didn’t care for the characters that much either. The idea of the book was always going to be strange – writing a novel that a character in her other novel had already wrote fanfiction for? She should have just not bothered.

I appreciate the effort Rowell went to in making this a diverse book, and I don’t want to discourage people from reading it, because we need more diverse books, especially fantasy. But it just was not for me.

Katie

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