“Simon Snow did what he came to do.”First line in Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre: YA/NA fantasy
Series: Simon Snow (book 2)
My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Synopsis: The story is supposed to be over.
Simon Snow did everything he was supposed to do. He beat the villain. He won the war. He even fell in love. Now comes the good part, right? Now comes the happily ever after…
So why can’t Simon Snow get off the couch?
What he needs, according to his best friend, is a change of scenery. He just needs to see himself in a new light…
That’s how Simon and Penny and Baz end up in a vintage convertible, tearing across the American West.
They find trouble, of course. (Dragons, vampires, skunk-headed things with shotguns.) And they get lost. They get so lost, they start to wonder whether they ever knew where they were headed in the first place…
With Wayward Son, Rainbow Rowell has written a book for everyone who ever wondered what happened to the Chosen One after he saved the day. And a book for everyone who was ever more curious about the second kiss than the first. It’s another helping of sour cherry scones with an absolutely decadent amount of butter.
Come on, Simon Snow. Your hero’s journey might be over – but your life has just begun.
Wayward Son was one of my most anticipated releases of the year, and therefore, I’m so happy to say that it was freaking amazing! I read it in 2 days even though I was trying to take my time with it. I’d been missing these characters for a long time, and it was such a joy to read about them again that I didn’t want to finish the book.
I had to spend some time thinking about what I’d read before I was actually able to write this review. However, now that my thoughts are in order, I will tell you about my likes (there’s a lot) and dislikes (just a few). I’ll tell you about my overall thoughts at the end, but first let’s dicuss the negatives.
- Unnecessary action sequences
Here, you might think “how can an action sequence be unnecessary?”. Normally, I would think the same so let me explain. While on their American road trip, the characters (of course) run into trouble. The action scenes that ensue from this are actually really great and I loved reading them. My problem with them didn’t occur until I had finished the book and I realised that those scenes did really matter. They had no major tie-in to the overall plot. That made them seem like they were just put there to give the reader some excitement in an otherwise dialogue-heavy book. Not a big dislike on my part, but it could have been done better.
- A set up book
A third book has already been announced to this series that was only meant to be a standalone. It shows in this second book although not as much as I’d feared. We spend a lot of time learning about new storylines and not very much is resolved by the end.
I won’t say too much about this as the villain is revealed quite late in the book. I just thought it was such a cool idea and so fitting for the story Rowell wanted to tell.
- Character development
I LOVE THIS! I’m amazed at how well the character development is done. Rowell just continues the work she did in Carry On, and I especially love how she makes the characters so realistic. Her development doesn’t mean one long ascend to perfection. There are ups and downs and some flaws are even there to stay. I love every single character because of this.
- The story structure
I think the entire build-up of the plot was really well done. The book starts kind of slow but I think that’s a necessity. We needed to get the feeling of where the characters were emotionally after the end of Carry On. I enjoyed that Rowell took her time with that instead of just throwing another villain at them from the start. As we get further along, the pace of the story continues to rise to the point where I couldn’t put the book down. I ended up reading the last 80 pages in one sitting.
- A contemporary disguised as a fantasy
This might seem like a negative thing for someone who loves fantasy. However, this is actually the perfect solution if you want me to really love a contemporary. By calling it a contemporary, I mean that there aren’t a great focus on the fantastical elements. This series is way more about the characters and their identity and relationship with each other. I just love how the fantasy elements are incorporated into the issues.
- The representation of depression
Depression is a huge theme of the book, and I will say that Rowell broke my heart several times with that. She showed us the thoughts of someone with a depression, but we also got the perspective of the depressed’s loved ones. From what I know of depression, this seems like a fairly accurate representaion. I haven’t seen anything like this in other fantasy books even though people in those probably should be having depressions all the time.
As this is the second book in a series, I just want to take a moment to compare it to the first book. I very recently reread Carry On so I couldn’t help comparing the two when I read Wayward Son.
The tone of the two books are very different. Carry On is such a funny and heartwarming read. You almost can’t help but smile all the way through. Wayward Son however has some more serious themes and as I mentioned above, it will break your heart if you love these character as much as I do. This doesn’t make the second book worse than the first, but I think you’re going to be dissapointed if you go into this expecting it to be Carry On 2.0.
I will say though that I did enjoy Carry On just a little bit more. Wayward suffered a little from “middle-book syndrome”, which I think is going to be more obvious when the third book is released. I still loved this book though because these characters are so well done that they will shine through even the worst developed plot points.
I will receommed this to anyone who has read Carry On of course and loved it. Even if you have some doubts about this continuation of a standalone. It’s definitely still worth your time.
That was my review of Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell, which I hope you enjoyed. Let me know if I’ve convinced you to read it. Maybe you’ve already read it? Let me know what you thought of it compared to Carry On. Hoping you are having a wonderful day otherwise.