Rainbow Rowell is back with a newly released sequel to her 2015 fiction novel: Carry On. This new book: Wayward Son is thought to be book two of an intended three-part series. The titles are reminiscent of Kansas’ hit song, Carry On Wayward Son, which begs the question of the title of Rowell’s next book. Although the third book begs more questions than it answers, her fans will appreciate any new content she writes, even with a four year waiting time in between the publications.
The first book in the series reads as a knock off Harry Potter. The story is also set in England and features the story of three teenagers with magic abilities who need to defeat a villain reminiscent of Voldemort: the Humdrum. However, by the end of this book, I had learned to appreciate Rowell’s new take on a modern fiction novel about magic. Carry On reminded me of the fiction books I read as a child while including content meant for more mature audiences. The story touches on many adult themes and the characters curse often. The main romance in the story is a gay couple, which contributes to the highly contemporary based storyline. This style of writing allows for an easy, even childlike read, despite not being appropriate for younger audiences. It was perfect for me when I first began reading her series at age fourteen. However, I worried that I would no longer be interested in Rowell’s story four years later, come the release of Wayward Son. Luckily, as soon as I picked up the second book, I found I was incorrect.
Wayward Son takes place after the final battle in Carry On (in, I believe: Harry Potter book eight) and depicts the three main characters on vacation to America. I was happy to find that I easily became immersed in the book and was reminded of my love of the characters. Just as Rowell’s first book made me nostalgic for childhood fiction, this novel did the same, although I was now brought back to my fourteen-year-old self reading Carry On.
Although I have yet to finish reading the second part of the series, it has been the first book I’ve read so feverishly in a long time. I was not expecting to love this book as much as I do, but Rainbow Rowell seems to know her audience well. She perfectly encapsulated my favorite parts of the first novel and structured the plot to ensure her readers would “carry on” reading. It is evident that she listened to her fans, writing this book to cater to their wishes. I would recommend this series for anyone who misses the simplicity of their childhood fiction novels or anyone who wants an engaging, low-effort pleasure read.