Simon Snow was the chosen one, a student at Watford, and the most powerful magician in the world. But now that he has saved the world, left school, and won the boy he loved, what comes next? WAYWARD SON by Rainbow Rowell tackles that question, and doesn’t give readers the happily ever after they may have been expecting at the end of CARRY ON.
Simon lost his magic in CARRY ON’s final battle, and now he lives with his best friend, Penny, while they attend university. However, Simon almost never attends his classes, and spends most of his time moping on the couch. Baz and Penny are almost ready to give up on him, but Penny comes up with a plan to cheer Simon up. They are going to go on a road trip across the United States of America and visit their friend Agatha in California!
The U.S. is a whole different world in WAYWARD SON. The politics of magic are much looser, there are magical dead zones, and even the spells Baz, Penny, and Simon spent years learning are all different! What follows their arrival in America is a wild and fantastic journey filled with confrontations with magical creatures, car chases, renaissance fair shenanigans, vampire parties, and even more witty banter than you expect from Baz, Simon, and Penny.
This book is an absolute delight. Despite the out-there plot, this is a very character-driven story. It feels like a contemporary road trip YA while maintaining its identity as a fantasy book. Just like CARRY ON, it reads like fanfiction in the best way. However, there is a lot more world building in this sequel. It is really interesting to learn more about the world’s magic system, the way magic works differently in different countries, and what it really means to be a vampire. There are also lots of comedic situations the gang gets in because of Simon’s wings and tail.
Simon, Baz, and Penny are incredibly lovable characters that will keep you grinning throughout the 300-plus pages. Simon and Baz’s relationship was a slow burn in CARRY ON, so it’s nice to see them as a couple during this entire book. Things aren’t all sunshine and rainbows between them, though, which makes for intriguing character dynamics that will keep you wanting more. The best part is that Rainbow Rowell leaves this open for a sequel, so we will be seeing more Simon, Baz, and Penny soon, and once you read WAYWARD SON, you won’t be able to wait!
CRITICS HAVE SAID
- “At last! A sequel to Carry On…every fine as fine as the first. …overall excellence of a book in which every vista pleases and every character delights. Carefully plotted, the book is a classic page-turner right to the open ending which, o frabjous day, promises a sequel to the sequel! One can hardly wait.” – Booklist (Starred Review)
IF YOU LOVE THIS BOOK, THEN TRY:
- The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, 2012
- Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, 2015
- In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan, 2018