"No, I didn't."
I hate it when I dislike popular books. People enjoy them and rave about them all over the Internet, I get all pumped and then... Meh. Still I don't believe that I disliked this book because of the hype, I usually don't get influenced by it. I do believe though that between me and Rainbow Rowell it just doesn't work. "Fangirl" was an ok read for me, but just it, and when this book was in the read now section of Netgalley I decided to give it a try.
My complicated relationship with Ms Rowell though is not the only thing I blame when it comes to "Carry on". I was initially going to give it 3 stars because I enjoyed the angsty romance and because I didn't care about the Harry Potter-ish setting (I mean, there was an Harry, a Draco, an Hermione, an Hagrid, a Dumbledore, even a Percy, and since I knew that was going to be a strong feature in this book I forced myself not to mind) so everything was exciting and quirky and magickal. What I strongly disliked was how quickly the romance escalated and how I then realized how little I believed in this relationship (I love the "I hate you but I also love you" trope but only when I understand and know the characters, not when I was just given a glimpse into their past). I disliked how the side characters were unimportant and then important but then unimportant again, how the plot twists were forseeable and didn't leave me hanging at all. The villain was lame and we were given too much backstory and too little present action. Characters that could have been multi dimensional just fell flat. The magic system made me just angry. What do I hate more than spells that rhyme? Spells like the ones in this book: "Some like it hot" to heat up food or drinks,"Up, up and away" to fly and "And we all fall down" to land. There was even "Easy come, easy go. Little high, little low" which purpose I didn't get. Come on! Tell me I lack a sense of humor but if the power of these spells resides in their linguistic influence spare few paragraphs to explain it better, don't just make your characters look like fools! (Just, imagine Lord Voldemort cursing Harry Potter but, instead of Avada Kedavra, he uses the "Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall" spell. Ridiculous, isn't it?)
Finally, and I don't believe I was influenced by Fangirl in this last complaint of mine, I found the writing not so great. It felt like a rushed fanfiction that needed to get to the point and then wrap everything up without a second thought to the characters and to the logic of the plot.
In few words, this book has been a huge let down and now I'm just sad. I do believe that if Rainbow Rowell had written these characters in a non fantasy universe it would have been better, much better and if you intend to read it by all means do it! People have loved this book and I'm part of the minority but, as for me, I'm just very disappointed.