My Rating: 4/5 Stars
My Rainbow Rowell and Pre-Wayward Son Feels
It’s no secret that Rainbow Rowell is my all-time favorite author, and it’s no secret that I needed another book by my all-time fave this year. You can then imagine my excitement that 2019 brought us Rainbow and Faith Erin Hick’s fall-themed graphic novel, Pumpkinheads, and the much anticipated sequel to Carry On, Wayward Son.
Like most Carry On fans, I was pretty excited for Wayward Son. I admit that I wasn’t super anticipating it or staying up until midnight to start reading it upon release because Carry On isn’t my all-time favorite Rainbow Rowell book (look at my blog’s name for a hint at which book of hers is). However, I did find myself getting more and more excited for Wayward Son as September 24th came closer. I was just so excited to have a new novel by my favorite author, realizing that we didn’t have a full Rainbow Rowell novel since Carry On came out in 2015. Fortunately for me, I had a few days off from school at the end of the month, which meant having extra free reading time- and let’s be honest I definitely neglected some school work along the way. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the Barnes and Noble exclusive edition. Rainbow Rowell’s B&N editions have the best fan art as end papers!
Somewhat returning to my anticipation, I didn’t really have too many expectations for Wayward Son going in. I knew that the book explored what happens after ‘happily ever after and the hero saves the day’ for Simon in quite an unexpected way- a U.S. cross-country road trip. It made the book just seem so much fun. I was ready for a fluffy story following Simon, Baz, and Penelope’s trip across America. While there was some fluff, even with my little expectations, Wayward Son’s plot was completely what I was not expecting, even as someone who didn’t have expectations.
My Post-Reading Wayward Son Feels
I appreciated that Wayward Son wasn’t as cheery as I thought it would be. Live love Simon and Baz- especially Baz if there’s one thing this book did, it solidified my love for him- but it was interesting to see them not be on the best of terms. The intimate and couple-y moments between Simon and Baz were great, but there were so few. At the same time, however, I was so frustrated with Simon because he doesn’t let Baz and him be a couple and intimate. Considering Carry On’s ending, I know he went through a rough time, but Wayward Son lacked exploring why Simon is going through a rough time. Maybe blame these feels on me for not having read Carry On since 2017.
The intimate and couple-y moments between Simon and Baz were great, but there were so few. Again this might me my bad Carry On memory/not really understanding why Simon is having such a rough go/and everyone’s/Twitter’s love for the couple, but I thought there would be so many more cute moments. Sarcasm and humor are definitely methods of communication between the two, but Baz has so many softie and cute moments (but not when he’s eating..) that made me want to shove Simon into him. Given their age and all they went through in Carry On, Wayward Son’s characters are so mature that I thought they would be able to communicate and work through their issues. Simon definitely seems to be more on the unhappier side than Baz and does seem in a better place by the end, but both need to have a good talk or two (which the ending suggests is to come).
I really enjoyed Wayward Son in the sense that it gave me such cozy reading feels. It was so nice being reunited with the Carry On cast. As per usual, Rainbow’s writing is great and just wraps you up in the story. There is just such great chemistry between these characters and within their relationships. I love Simon and Penelope’s friendship, and I love Baz and Bunce’s so much as well. I loved the first chapters so much because you’re getting reacquainted with the characters within some fluff and personal things, like Penelope’s relationship with Micah and Simon and Baz figuring out their feels.
My favorite perspectives were Baz and Penelope. Penelope really takes charge of the entire situation that makes up Wayward Son. I also just loved her character and romance development (even though I admit that I’m not exactly how I feel about Shepard just yet). Penelope and Agatha are the complete bad asses of this book, and I’m so freaking in love with their ending. I also really enjoyed Agatha’s chapters because they were really outside the magic and other three main character’s plot line (for the most part). I geniunely root for all of these characters, but I have much love and sympathy for Agatha, given how she’s treated by Simon and co. in the Carry On era.
Touching back on Shepard a bit and the ending, my biggest disappointment with Wayward Son was that I was just so confused about what was going on in the main plot magic plot. I had a really hard time following the NowNext stuff and even with Shepard’s guidance and mini history lessons, the American lingo surrounding magicians, Speakers, and Bleeders. While I loved Penelope and Agatha’s gory bad girl-ness at the end, many of the action scenes lacked explanation and I really didn’t understand what and who our main cast was often fighting Although the lack of development may make sense with book #3, I really needed more development to get a full grasp at the magical tension and plot.
However, I really loved the fun moments and very American scenes outside the magic. Before the vampire attack of course, the Ren fair was such a fun setting and gave us much adorable fluff from the characters- get me a Baz who can quote Shakespeare and use ren language at any given moment. Their dinner at the Cheesecake Factory was another favorite scene of mine.
Overall, I did really enjoy Wayward Son. I loved being back in the world of Carry On and my favorite author’s writing. While I am not the biggest fan of the plot and development, I loved being reunited with the characters. I am definitely going to need a reread to give myself another attempt to understand the magic plot and magic system/element and get ready for book #3! What ultimately really threw me off about Wayward Son is that I thought that this sequel would be the end of our road for Simon and Baz. While I really need more development and explanation, I’m so excited for Rainbow Rowell and what she has in store for us.
I cannot deny that my favorite news coming out of New York Comic Con week was Rainbow’s hint about Any Way the Wind Blows on her social and her Vanity Fair interview. I loved how this article clears up the song inspiration behind the series’ titles and how Rainbow Rowell used popular British songs to help her come up with spells. In a YA world that loves answers and sequels, I did really appreciate her answer that while Simon Snow is slated as a trilogy, that doesn’t mean she isn’t going to write more sequels. While she caught us off guard with Wayward Son’s ending, I think it’s really cool that such a big-name author and series was able to keep that a sequel(s) would be coming a secret. Although Wayward Son had its faults, I appreciate that she acknowledged the book is really is a middle book. I am excited for her to stay in this world and give us a fun reading experience with these books.
Have you read Wayward Son? Any similar thoughts or feels? Are you excited for Any Way the Wind Blows? Share in the comments!
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[…] Rainbow Rowell writes but I’ve been really hoping she’ll come out more contemporary books soon. Wayward Son fell into unexpected middle book syndrome, since most readers thought that it would be the finale […]