This review contains spoilers. If you have not read Carry On yet, and want to be surprised, save this review for later.
If you've every read Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl, you are already slightly familiar with the story of Simon Snow and his roommate Baz. They are fictional fictional characters that exist in the story Carry On. After finishing Fangirl, Rowell decided to actually write Carry On. So, when I found out Carry On was coming out, I knew I had to read it.
Carry On starts with Simon catching the bus then a taxi to the magical school he attends - Watford. However, he almost gets killed by the taxi driver. He eventually finds his way to Watford, where he discovers that his roommate, Baz, is not at school. Simon spends an inordinate amount of time thinking about where Baz might be and searching for him. When he's not thinking about Baz, Simon is thinking about the Insidious Humdrum, a figure that never really makes much of an appearance in the book. This is ironic, considering that the Insidious Humdrum wants to kill Simon.
Carry on is basically one long think-fest with a couple of typical teenage diatribes thrown in. I thought for sure that there would be some attempts by the Humdrum to enter Watford and get Simon. I thought perhaps there would even be a huge battle between Simon and the Humdrum. Now, granted, there is a battle in which Simon saves the world of Mages - but that's really the only action in the ENTIRE novel. In the whole thing. Even Simon ending the world of Mages is not that big a deal - it felt very anti-climactic.
The characters were all a little boring - they just seemed flat and dull. There wasn't any good character development throughout the book at all. Also, the book read like a drab, boring copy of Harry Potter. The Insidious Humdrum was the Voldemort of this book, except that Voldemort actually tried to do stuff to Harry. Baz could easily have been Draco Malfoy - but with less development and insight into his own self. Penelope was the Hermione of this book.
The only saving grace was that the book was technically well-written. Rainbow Rowell can turn a phrase, but even her ability to write well couldn't save this book. There was not one part of me that ever thought this book was worthy of the fandom it apparently had in Fangirl. I couldn't find any reason why Cath would go so crazy for Carry On. You'd be better off reading a different story - one where something actually happens!