By Mary Curvey
While plenty of stories revolving around arcane academics are already lining bookstore shelves, none of them are told quite like Rainbow Rowell’s “Carry On” trilogy. This will be a spoiler-free review of all three books in an attempt to persuade you to add them to your reading list!
The concept of the trilogy began when Rowell wrote “Fangirl,” the story of a college girl who writes fanfiction about her favorite wizard book series. Many years later, Rowell decided to re-create that fanfiction as its own story, giving us Carry On. This book can be read as a stand-alone, but many readers will want more once they’ve started.
Our main character, Simon Snow, is the prophesied “Chosen One” sent to save the world of Mages from The Humdrum, a villainous monster that is sucking the magic from all over England. While struggling to keep the Watford School of Magicks safe, he has to trust his best friend, Penelope Bunce, and his enemy and vampiric roommate, Tyrannus Basilton “Baz” Grimm-Pitch. Along the way, he finds more questions than answers about who he is and what it means to fall in love with the one person you hated the most.
The second book in the series, “Wayward Son,” picks up shortly after the events at the end of “Carry On.” After saving the day, what is left for a hero to do? In an attempt to help Simon find purpose again, Baz and Penelope take him from the United Kindgdom on a wild road trip across America. Before long, the trio find themselves escaping a vampire cult and battling something far scarier than any monster—their relationships and morality.
Finally, “Anyway the Wind Blows” ties up all of the loose ends, picking up immediately from the end of “Wayward Son”. After returning to the UK, the gang must split up to piece together their new lives. Penelope is tasked with helping Shepard, a cute boy from the state of Nebraska, who is trapped in a demonic contract. Simon and Baz investigate the rumors of a new “Chosen One” and decide how to truly rely on each other and make their relationship stand the test of time.
This series is a must-read for any lovers of magic and romance. A true enemies-to-lovers story is never free of angst and drama, but the “Carry On” trilogy is filled to the brim with such raw emotion and softness to keep the reader coming back for more. For those wanting more after “Anyway the Wind Blows,” Rainbow Rowell included a short follow-up story with Simon and Baz in “Scattered Showers,” a collection of short stories based on her past books.
If you are wishing for romance and magic, I highly recommend giving Rainbow Rowell’s “Carry On” trilogy a try.