This is a book Cath from Fangirl refers to as her favorite series. It may be the book Cath is writing, or it may be canon from the series, but ultimately, it’s Rowell’s take on the characters Cath obsesses over in Fangirl.
Genre: YA urban fantasy
Length: 522 pages
Setting: mostly in and around the Watford school for Magicians in England, present day
Summary: Simon is greatest magician ever, come to save the magical world from their greatest foe – the Insidious Humdrum. But, he’s also just a 16-year old kid who doesn’t have the greatest control over his magic. It’s the last year of school at Watford and Baz, Simon’s roommate that’s always scheming against him, hasn’t returned. Simon obsesses over where Baz is hiding and what he’s up to. The Mage, the current Headmaster of Watford, is making a big push to subdue the Insidious Humdrum and the old Families that don’t appreciate all his reforms. However, Simon isn’t included in this effort, even though he’s the only one who’s beaten the Humdrum in battle. Baz comes back to school, and he and Simon end up working together to find out who let the vampires into the nursery the day his mother died and Baz was turned into a vampire. As they bring in Penny, the smart one, they discover they work well together and the Mage is at the center of all the problems.
Final thoughts: I loved this book so much, all I wanted to do was sit down and read it straight through, but life was too busy to manage that. It’s definitely a Harry Potter clone – Simon is Harry, Penny is Hermione, and Baz is Draco – but better. Rowell deals with some of the issues I had with the end of the Harry Potter story much better than Rowling. I was always frustrated with Dumbledore’s exclusion of Harry from the battle with Voldemort. Here, Rowell explains why the Mage keeps Simon in the dark. Turns out he was the guilty party, creating Simon and killing Lucy, Simon’s mother, in the process.The Mage always thought there was some kind of technical solution to his problems – he just needed the correct spell or artifact and all the problems would be solved. No, it doesn’t work that way. Relationships are the important thing.
Speaking of relationships, we have the love story develop between Baz and Simon. I got just as much of a thrill over their relationship as I have with heterosexual couples. It was definitely an example of hate being really close to love, and it didn’t take much to flip Simon into the love side of things. (Baz had gotten there much sooner.)
I liked the way the magic worked in this world. Here, words literally have power and the more people use a phrase, the more power that phrase has for the magicians (like up, up and away or a little bird told me). Nursery rhymes are the strongest spells because everyone knows the phrases.
Title comes from: The last line in the book. Penny, Baz, and especially Simon need to keep going even after everything has changed.
Reading challenges fulfilled: book #25 for the year, a C in my Title Reading the Alphabet Challenge, and I’m counting this as #8 in my Finish the Series Challenge since it’s a logical read after Fangirl
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