Firstly, I have to say, this is a really fun book to read. Before I get into the details, here is some context to the creation of this novel: Rainbow Rowell, the author of Carry On, has written another book, called Fangirl. In Fangirl, a young girl named Cath writes fanfiction for a fictional series written by a fictional author named Gemma T. Leslie. To quote Rainbow Rowell, the main character of Carry On, Simon Snow, began as a “fictional-fictional character. Kind of an amalgam and descendant of a hundred other fictional chosen ones.”
“an amalgam and descendent of a hundred other fictional Chosen Ones.” Is a perfect way to describe Simon. One of the things I found most interesting in this novel was the fictional “Chosen One’s blatant self-awareness. Carry On is very different from other fantasy novels in that way. Instead of just using the Chosen One motif as a plot device, Rainbow Rowell makes the idea of destiny itself into a struggle for the characters. Simon knows that he is the Chosen One. So does everyone else. They walk on this fictional universe with that knowledge pint heir heads, along with knowledge of the common fantasy motifs. Simon’s relationship with Agatha a perfect example. With the two of them, it’s almost as if they know they are in a book. Both Agatha and Simon feel the constant pressure to be “endgame”, the fan-term for the lasting relationship in a story. It’s not just Agatha, though. Simon and Baz struggle with destiny as well. They know that they are supposed to be enemies. They know that according to all the other fantasy novels in the world, one will have to kill the other. The struggle is that they don’t want to. In fact, (SPOILER ALERT) Baz is in love with Simon. He hates it and himself for doing so, because he knows that enemies can’t be in love with one another.
Something I found incredibly amusing was the parodying and almost making-fun-of Harry Potter. Watford, the school of Mages, is almost exactly like Hogwarts. The Mage, the supposed all-powerful wizard and the main character’s father figure, parallels Dumbledore. (In fact, there’s this one line that says that The Mage basically abandoned Simon in the sixth year, which I found to be hilarious).
So far, I am LOVING this book. It´s satirical, funny, and incredibly introspective not only on the fantasy genre, but about relationships as well. We often think of other people as one-dimensional and only in a way that affects ourselves, but this book is teaching the readers to imagine complexly.