- Love. This. Book.
the second half of the book has similar qualities as the first half of the book, except now the two love interests, Simon and Baz, are no longer holding their feelings in. The way that they talk about their sexuality may take place in a fictional and fantasy universe, but the way the story deals with LGBTQ+ characters are very authentic. It has a diversity of characters, including “very-gay-knew-from-the-beginning” Baz, and the “I-don’t know-what-I-am-but-it’s-okay” Simon.
I also liked the underlying themes of the basics of politics, like the different major powers in their world. The interesting thing about the world of Mages is that it’s basically the same as ours, but with magic. Especially with politics.
There are two rival sides: the Mage and his allies, and the Old Families. At first, the two sides seem, well, one-sided. The Mage is good, always striving for change and progression. The Old Families are bad: they are against change and are very elitist. However, it mirrors our world and our history: the progressive, revolutionary ones became obsessed with power, and ultimately elitist, (the whole absolute power corrupts absolutely thing) and the Old Families, in their attempt at preserving their families, helped with absolutely nothing. All they did was make sure the Mage didn’t rise too far, and even with that they failed. The charming thing about this book is that it is so raw and real. Which is strange, because of its fantastical features. I think the juxtaposition of the fantastical setting with the raw human emotion and real teenage problems really creates an interesting dynamic never before seen in the fantasy genre.
If I didn’t mention this before, I love this book. It’s so unique, and instead of focusing on the plot, it focuses on the characters, which I think all great books revolve around. I guess the only disappointment I had was on the fact that (SPOILER ALERT) Simon was the source of the Humdrum. For some reason, after all that build-up, it felt anticlimactic. But even that seems like commentary on the fantasy genre. Like, maybe the villain was never evil, just what the world needed all along. Rainbow Rowell makes sure to focus on more than the single story, which is why she writes from the point of view of like, ten different characters. I REALLY recommend this book!