Written by Rainbow Rowell
Published by St Martin’s Griffin, October 6, 2015
My star rating: 3.5 stars
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 starts something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend 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 were here — it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up. Find it on Goodreads
It’s safe to say that this book was a long time coming! I think that I picked it up back in 2015 when all the hype started but never got around to it. I wanted to read Fangirl before I picked this one up. Problem was – I didn’t like Fangirl. At all. So basically, after that experience, I was terrified that I wouldn’t like this either. But so many people assured me that this was nothing like Fangirl and it was well worth the read. After a rocky start, I have come to the conclusion that this is DEFINITELY worth the read! Brace yourselves – this review might be a long one!
I had a very rocky start with this one. In fact, I almost DNF’d it. The book starts off telling us about Simon Snow and his life up to his last year at the school Watford. We are introduced to his friends, enemies, and teachers, while also being told of events in the past. Problem was, the way that it was written made me feel like I started a 7 book series on book 7 without reading the first 6. I was totally lost. I wasn’t able to focus on the story or connect with the characters because my mind was preoccupied trying to piece together what happened before now. It wasn’t good my friends. And I almost gave up. It wasn’t until about half way through that I really started to get into the story. We were focusing more on the present and I was able to connect a little more with the characters and the plot. I still wasn’t fully invested though. But then, about 3/4 of the way through, I couldn’t read fast enough!!
It’s hard not to compare this book to Harry Potter. If you’ve read this book, I’m sure you saw the comparisons. There were so many characters that you could relate to a Harry Potter Character. We even have the Chosen One trope. They were really quite parallel. And I think that’s another reason why I struggled in the beginning. I found myself daydreaming and drawing lines between the two instead of focusing on what was happening while I was reading. After that halfway point, I felt like I finally had enough information about these characters that I could focus on just them instead of Harry Potter.
I will say though, the characters weren’t my favourite. Agatha was just annoying as hell. Penelope was ok for the most part. She was super smart and seemed fearless. Simon was a bit spineless and clueless – but I feel like it added to his boyish charm. His loyalty and love more than made up for his dimwittedness. But Baz. BAZ!!!! OMG I love everything about that boy! Now that I think about it, it wasn’t until we finally started getting his perspective that I really got into this book.
The relationship in this story…… I’m still undecided how I feel about it. On one hand it was sudden and annoying. These two lovebirds went from sworn enemies to head over heels in a heartbeat. It was unrealistic and confusing. But on the other hand they are just so freaking adorable together! They make sense. They’re polar opposites yet there is such a great balance between them. Not to mention they’re both very powerful. It took me a little while to get on this love train but now I wouldn’t have it any other way!
This wasn’t the most original story in the world. Far from it actually. It’s a story we are all familiar with. It was written as the fan fiction that one of the characters in Fangirl wrote. So it’s origin is a story that we already know, just with a different outcome. I thought that this being a familiar story would bother me, but it didn’t! It felt like fan fiction. A sort of reimagining or a retelling. It was a little over the top sometimes. It was silly at other times, but it felt like it was an escape for me and I really enjoyed that aspect.
It was also great to read a Harry Potter like story that dropped F-bombs here and there!! My foul mouthed soul really enjoyed that!
Even though the start of this book was really rough, the last half more than made up for what the beginning lacked. Once I got past the half way point I just couldn’t put it down! I’m looking forward to more from these characters and their journey!
Until next time, happy reading!