Book Review: Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

Summary:

ws-cover

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.

Goodreads

Thoughts:

This is one of the books I was anticipating most this year, in a year full of anticipated releases. Carry On was such a crazy fun ride full of irreverent humor and genuine emotions. Did this sequel live up to my expectations? Yeah, for the most part.

One thing I really do love about this book is it’s premise–what happens to the ‘Chosen One’ after they’ve done their job saving the world? Well, turns out they spend a lot of time drifting around feeling like they no longer have a purpose. Even though Simon has seemingly achieved everything he could have wanted (saved the world, defeated the baddie, got a hot boyfriend) he’s restless and unsettled. He’s moody. His mood is starting to grate on his friends and his boyfriend after a while. Meanwhile Baz seems to be doing great. Some of his other friends have also started to move on to other stages in their lives. But Simon spends a lot of time feeling stuck, especially since he gave up such an integral part of himself in the whole saving the world thing. I love that this book explores this in what feels like a realistic way. I’d probably feel angry and irritated and kind of depressed too! I mean, here you go saving the world and everyone’s must moving on with their lives like it’s no big thing.

The other thing I loved about this book is that it’s a road trip. Road trip! In the US too, which is pretty fun. I had lots of laughs at the gang’s descriptions and observations on America. Also how they didn’t quite realize how big it is and how long it would take to drive across it. PFFT. There was lots of fun shenangans, which the set up helps facilitate. Of course, this set up also makes the other things going on in the story more interesting. After all, when you’re stuck in a car with someone for hours with not much to do except talk or ignore each other when one person is in an especially bad mood, well, tensions will happen and eventually boil over to a head. It’s hard to ignore problems when you can’t get a break from them. And honestly, Simon has a lot of problems and those problems spill into his relationships with Penny and Baz.

One of the few issues I have with the book is that, well, for much of the story it doesn’t feel like there’s any sort of organized plot other than ‘hey, let’s go on a road trip to cheer up Simon and make Agatha come to her senses’. So for a really long time I wondered where the story was actually going. That was a little frustrating. However, eventually things did come to light and looking back on it the groundwork was laid fairly early on in the story but it was so far in the background that you don’t realize it’s significant until way later. I appreciate this, but it also left me feeling like Simon…a little lost. Maybe that’s intentional, and if so then kudos! But it wasn’t enjoyable for me as a reader. The other thing that didn’t work for me is, well, the end. Those of you who have read it will know what I’m talking about. I won’t go into it because of spoilers. But I do feel like this was maybe supposed to be a larger book and it got split into two parts? It doesn’t work well on its own the way Carry On does.

Still, once the acttion picks up near the end, things really get going in a spectacular way. Overall this was a fun read and a good follow up with some interesting explorations of what happens ‘after’. Looking forward to the next one (hopefully soon-ish!). 4/5 stars.

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