Wayward Son came out in September, but I am woefully behind with my book reviews. My middle schooler and I actually had the chance to meet her when she came to the Boston area, and that was an amazing evening.
I was excited when I first heard there was going to be a sequel to Carry On, but I’ll admit to some skepticism when I found out that Simon and Baz and Penny were going on an American road trip. But my fears were unfounded; it turns out that the United States was exactly where the gang needed to go.
Readers should start with Carry On in order to understand the plot, but needless to say, everyone is trying to move on from the events of Carry On, and this is something Simon has been struggling with. What does the Chosen One do once the job is done? Penny decides that they all need to go visit Agatha in San Diego, and what starts out as a visit turns into a rescue mission. Along the way, they encounter a variety of personalities: some are friendly, and some are hostile—but the fate of the world is at stake again.
I liked the addition of Shepherd as a new character— his optimism and his wide-eyed curiosity served as a nice balance for the gang, who are accustomed to magic being a part of their lives. I also liked Baz’s exploration of what it means to be a vampire. He’s hardly conventional, and he hasn’t really associated with other vampires. Simon and Penny also had interesting story arcs, but Shepherd and Baz’s development were what intrigued me the most.
I also liked the treatment of Simon and Baz’s relationship. They were mortal enemies for years, until they weren’t. Then they were together in a romantic relationship, and that was great— but things are strained, and a road trip is the last thing they need, but Penny is persistent.
Rowell infuses this adventure story with a delightful sense of humor. Even when things get serious, there’s still a wry take on the situation. Everyone’s banter was great, especially when they were annoyed with each other, which seemed like all the time because things constantly went wrong.
I have loved the world of Simon Snow since Rowell first introduced it in her novel Fangirl. I never could have imagined a full-length Simon Snow novel, let alone a sequel. So, needless to say, having Wayward Son end on a cliffhanger was completely unexpected, and I can’t wait to find out how Simon and his friends are going to save the world next.