Rainbow Rowell: Carry On



I started my Rainbow Rowell journey with Fangirl, moved on to Eleanor & Park and finally to Carry On. The last one I read first in Finnish and then in English. I just had to check whether it really was so good as it felt on the first read. And yes, it was.

Carry on by Rainbow Rowell 2015

Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: MacMillan 2015, UK
Category: Fantasy
Original language: English
Rating: 5/5

HelMet Reading Challenge 2017: number 9. A book inspired by some work of art.

Rowell clearly has the skill in her finger tips. All three novels are exceptionally good romances, with unique characters and unique plots. She manages to surprise you, touch you and make you feel warm all over with happiness.

While reading Fangirl*, I wasn’t too much into the Simon Snow inserts in the book. But after reading the Carry On on its own, I’m completely converted. It is one of the most beautiful romance descriptions ever, which is incredible considering the characters being somewhat tongue-in-the-cheek magicians in a twisted harrypotteristic world. But this delusion is soon shaken off as Simon and Baz come to their own. They have a relationship and connection that is beautiful, tender and gentle, while being passionate, burning and touching.

I would recommend this book to all those people, who say they don’t like fantasy and deem it as a waste of time. Rowell brings in all the clichés of the sword and sorcery fantasy, paranormal romances and – indeed – fanfiction and twists and turns it so that in the end the reader finds herself having read a story with the most authentic, raw and honest description of human relationships in a long time.

As a bonus to all this, and to the humour imbued in the magical world she’s created, is the fact that this world operates literally by the power of words and phrases. Rowell creates layers into her writing with an elegance and ease that can only be admired.


*Fangirl tells about a girl writing fanfiction, and the story she’s writing is the story of Carry On.


“Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who’s ever been chosen

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlsfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he was here – it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Carry On is a love letter to love stories and the power of words – to every “chose one” who ever had more on their mind than saving the world…”

Fangirl, in which Simon Snow first appeared:

By the same author:


Annukka Salama: Käärmeenlumooja (Snake Charmer)



Some of us are more beast-like than others. Some, in fact, are partly animals. Unna learns that there’s a reason she’s not quite like the others and the reason is she’s a faunoid – a mixture of a human and an animal.

Annukka Salama Käärmeenlumooja

Author: Annukka Salama
Publisher: WSOY 2012, Finland
Category: YA fantasy
Original language: Finnish
Rating: 4/5

Salama (Lightning in English) has created a truly original world, where some humans have “power animals” i.e. they possess the powers, but also the instincts and behaviour patterns of a certain animal. For Unna this gives the ability to move in a ways an ordinary human could not, but it also makes her scared of many everyday circumstances and thus she appears a bit neurotic. Unna has kept to herself all her life, but when she suddenly meets Rufus, there’s a certain electricity in the air, she cannot deny. Rufus’ power animal is a snake, but a very unusual snake that puffs smoke when he’s excited and makes his eyes turn into red slits…

Unna learns there’s a whole new reality for faunoids like her and it’s not just fun, there are those who want to use faunoids to their own ends and take their powers. Unna and Rufus end up fighting for their lives and their happiness together. But first they have to resolve some issues stemming from the animal nature and the misunderstandings it can easily create.

Snake Charmer is entertaining, credible in all its fantastical inventions and relatable in the fears of its MCs that aren’t unknown to their more ordinary peers either. Salama has captured the sound of the real voices exceptionally in her dialogue, making the characters feel live and well fleshed out. Snake Charmer is the first novel in a trilogy and there are plenty of surprises in order in the coming books.


“Have you ever thought, what it would be like, if half of your skills would come from a randomly chosen animal? Unna is agile like a squirrel. She always falls to her feet, climbs up to a tree even backwards and does breath-taking tricks with a skateboard. 

Unna thinks she’s one of a kind, until she skates in the middle of the gang of the mysterious Rufus. Darkly handsome boy takes Unna under his wing, but brings with him a new social life and a bunch of uncontrollable risks. Some of them are sweet like a kiss, others fatal like a bullet of a hunter.

Käärmeenlumooja / Snake Charmer is the first wildly elegant book in the series about faunoids, combining supernatural and steaming passion in an exceptionally attractive way. Annukka Salama (born 1980) is a multitalent in child and youth culture. Snake Charmer is her debut novel.”