My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What started as an idea for Cath’s fan fiction in Fangirl turned into a fully realized book called Carry On. In Fangirl, Cath writes about a magical world with a big bad, a Chosen One and a school for mages. There were only small passages from the fictional work, but the author knew there was more of a story to tell. Carry On is the tale of a boy with magical abilities that far surpass any other student or mage currently alive – except he has very little control over them. It has been foretold that he will be the one to save the world of the mages, but he’s not sure that he is capable of it.
The story is heavily inspired by the idea or trope of a Chosen One, as well as the world of Harry Potter. We enter the world as the main characters return to Watford for their eighth and final year. There are not actually any books that tell readers about the first seven years at the school, so that is where my critique stems from. Those years are when you would likely experience the world building and character development, so they felt lacking in this novel. The world building especially fell a little flat for me and I wish we could have learned more about the world of the mages.
Simon, the Chosen One, learns more about his magic in this book but doesn’t experience any real growth as a character. He is likable, if a bit of a daft mess but didn’t feel as real to me as he could have. Penny, his best friend, filled the role of the typical brainiac of the group and wasn’t given significantly more depth than that. Agatha, his girlfriend, filled the role of the pretty girl and was quite happy with that position – although it made her very one-dimensional. Baz, his arch-nemesis, was the one that felt the most developed and grew over the course of the novel.
The ending is a little anti-climactic, but overall I enjoyed reading this book. After reading Fangirl, I was very curious about the fictional world that Cath was so obsessed with. This book was a fun addition to the lore and depth of Fangirl but isn’t strong enough (in my opinion) to truly stand on its own. I would definitely recommend reading this book directly after reading Fangirl.