The Simon Snow Trilogy
The Simon Snow Trilogy currently consists of two books, Carry On and Wayward Son, with the third book set to release in July of 2021.
In Carry On, The Big Bad Evil Guy is draining magic from the world and it’s up to the main characters, a group of magic high school students, to do something about it.
Carry On starts off feeling like fan fiction for a series that never existed before; like it should be the 5th book in a series instead of the first. The orphaned Chosen One, Simon, and his best friend, the know-it-all overachiever, Penelope, regularly recount their misadventures fighting the minions of, and surviving the traps set by, the Big Bad Evil Guy. Meanwhile, Simon is also roommates with his rival classmate, Baz, who is always out to get him and might be trying to steal his girlfriend, Agatha.
The book eventually comes into its own when it starts taking big turns and leaps away from stereotypical tropes, sending the reader on a rollercoaster where they never know which way it’s going to turn. It jerks to the left when you’re expecting to go right, and starts climbing again when you thought it had already peaked.
Book two, Wayward Son, is its own thing entirely. You could read it without first reading Carry On and probably not be too lost. A few callbacks might go over your head, but the book stands alone pretty well.
When friends ask me to explain Wayward Son I tell them it’s the story of a Mage, a Vampire, and the Chosen One who leave England to take a road trip across America, and they behave very much like tourists.
Wayward Son really expands the magical world of Rainbow Rowell, adding in new magical creatures and shedding light on how magic works in their world.
Wayard Son has a few new, fun characters, and a new evil. The big evil isn’t as big and scary as the Bad Guy from the first book, but he’s just as much of a threat to the main characters. Carry On dealt with a global pandemic that threatened the entire world of magic, while Wayward Son’s villain is much more a direct threat for the protagonists themselves.
Both books switch between character perspectives quite regularly. In some cases, it switches perspectives after every few sentences, meaning it can be a little confusing keeping track of who is talking at the time; especially if you’re listening to the audiobook version.
In all, I would rate the series a 4 out of 5. Great characters, great plot, great development. I would gladly reread this series and eagerly await the next book.
The books are narrated by Euan Morton who has a good history with audiobooks. He has 64 credits listed to him on Audible with a number of them being related to Dune, Star Wars, and Halo. He reads all three of the Simon Trilogy books and he does them all justice. There were a few times I couldn’t quite tell who was talking, but it could just as easily be because the series jumps back and forth between different character perspectives. In all, I feel Euan did a great job.
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Narrator: Euan Morton
Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy