Author: Rainbow Rowell.
I really wanted to love this. Not least because everyone seems to love Rainbow Rowell, but because this book came as a recommendation from my bestie Claire (who has great taste mind you). It has wizards who are gay, so what’s not to love?
First off I want to say that I’m sure that Rainbow Rowell is a good writer, and the popularity of her other novels is obviously testament to that. This just didn’t click with me. (Sidenote: I’ve been struggling with YAs for a while now. I don’t know if it’s me or if I’m just coming across YAs that aren’t particularly amazing, but I think I’ve outgrown the genre. Sadface. But we’ll see).
Quick summery: Simon is a wizard who goes to a wizarding school. He has to save the world and his roommate, Baz, is his sworn enemy-come-boyfriend. So my issues with this novel. This is purely a Harry Potter fan-fiction. I’ve no problems with fanfic but I don’t think they should be published. It’s a waste of paper and frankly people shouldn’t profit off of borrowing from someone else’s work. Just saying.
The narrative felt really disrespectful. Rowell decided to throw us into the 8th year of Simon’s school career and summarises the first 7 years by giving us 150 pages of an info dump. I mean, I don’t appreciate that because she was just leeching off the knowledge of Harry Potter, as if we’d just know 7 years of backstory. And speaking of info-dumping, there’s so much of it. There’s way too much exposition. I hate exposition. We’re just told events and summaries of what’s happened, and the story doesn’t get to unfold or live before our eyes. The characters don’t come alive, we’re just told things about them. That’s no way for characters to live.
The protagonist, Simon Snow, was one of the most annoying characters I’ve ever come across. He’s so whiny, and complains constantly about Baz. He’s just like, “Where’s Baz?” “What’s he up to?” “Why is he missing?” “I’m glad he’s gone cause I hate him and I can relax now, but where is he?” This goes on for so long, with no sign of Baz, that I started sympathising with Baz. I just kept thinking “he doesn’t sound that bad” and I would be “evil” as well if I had to put up with a little ^%&$* of a character like Simon. And when Baz turned up he seemed like a normal person. I actually liked Baz. He seemed like the only sane person in the whole novel. That’s why I pushed up the rating from 1/10. I also gave another point for the politics subplot I think, or it might have been the mixed race wizard/pixie. I dunno, who knows?
The romance between the boys was alright. I like male/male intimacy but I don’t know why you would fall in love with your enemy of 7 years. No sense. The book wasn’t for me. Sorry to all you fangirls out there. See what I did there? It’s because another one of her books is called Fangirl… It’s ok, I’ll show myself out.