Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

two and a half dragons

I bought this book the week it came out because I just had to know what was going to happen. I will admit that I had very different expectations for everything about it. I loved Carry On so much that I stayed up late reading it and bought a physical copy after I read it in e-book form from the library. I admire so much about this book: that it is Harry/ Draco fanfic, but still has so much of its own story and characterization. It does have a little bit of a gay-for-you vibe and I still haven’t decided how I feel about that.  There’s just so much that’s great about this book and in many ways it reads so differently than other Rowell books. With Wayward Son we are brought back into her more traditional storytelling, where life is hard and happy endings are rare.

If someone forced me to only save one of these books it’d definitely be Carry On. It’s not that Wayward Son is written badly or doesn’t have an interesting storyline (though it does take forever to get going), but the two are so vastly different that considering one a continuation of the other is ludicrous. It’s like Wayward Son is the fanfic of Carry On only it’s written by someone who writes realism not magic. Which is kind of accurate.

When asked by my boss at the bookstore what I thought of Wayward Son I simply said, “Remember all those characters you know and love from Carry On… Yeah, they’re super depressed now.”  That’s not a 100% accurate statement because only Simon is depressed but Baz and Penny are so upset that he’s depressed and that they haven’t done anything to get him out of it that they are likewise pretty friggin’ sad. Ring around the rosie pockets full of …depressed. Yeah, it’s not what I expected going in, because I wanted more of the happy go lucky magic and fun.

I can’t describe this book well other than to say that it was very realistic about Simon’s depression which made the whole thing super sad, but then wait there are vampires who try to fight him and that makes him happy. So what she’s trying to say is that if Harry hadn’t become an auror he and Ginny would have had the worst time ever because he would have felt all sad and lonely and useless? I don’t like it. I understand that this is his adjustment period where he learns how to be happy living a semi-normal life rather than being “the chosen one” but I think he needs to have some action and fighting because the world needs it and it makes him happy. He followed Baz’s advice a bit too well and lost himself.

The other hugely irritating thing for me was that every time Simon was happy Baz wasn’t. Simon loves the sun and obviously Baz, being a vampire, doesn’t. Simon wants to fight crime and Baz wants to hang out and drink tea. Simon likes road trips and new things while Baz would love to stay in the same place preferably with no *dust*, that’s right folks Baz goes on and on about how much he hates the dust while Simon flies high and happy. I know that relationships are about balance and respecting differences, but if one of you wants to travel constantly and the other one just wants roots it’s really hard to make that work. I guess Baz could just stay at home and work a “normal” job while Simon goes off and fights crime and will hopefully be home in time for dinner. I don’t know what the next book will bring for the two of them, but if they didn’t come a little closer to sharing some interests then that relationship is not going to work long term.

The action scenes were fun and involved. The plot to get them on the road trip was a little silly but turned out to be real and Agatha truly was heading for some not good times. Agatha felt even more like a secondary character in this one. She felt like a sideline that works only as an excuse to get Simon out of his funk. The plot didn’t draw me in.

I was annoyed at the ending which felt like a gimmicky cliffhanger that didn’t connect well to the rest of the story from this book. I hope Rowell returns to the roots of this series. This book simply wasn’t for me.

Let me know how you feel about Wayward Son or Carry On in the comments below

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