Wayward Son
November 8, 2021 4:12 AM - Subscribe

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?
posted by Literaryhero (9 comments total)
Unlike apparently everyone else I actually liked this more than Carry On. I feel like Simon and Baz (dragon wings and tail notwithstanding) are less caricature and more human in this novel? I don't know, maybe because they were in America it was more relatable to American me or something. Either way, I found this story more interesting.
posted by Literaryhero at 4:14 AM on November 8, 2021

I liked this one also! Well enough at any rate that I was sad my library didn't have the third one.

...Which turns out, now they do! I'm glad you are posting these. I've put a hold on Any Way the Wind Blows :)
posted by solotoro at 7:55 AM on November 8, 2021

Anyway, so I leave a comment about THIS book, I liked seeing Simon take a different path from "hero keeps being all hero-y no matter what." At least for a while. I agree with you entirely that they seemed a bit more relatable in this one. It's hard to imagine what it would be like being super-gifted-mega-magical, but it's somewhat easier to imagine what it would be like to lose all that, and ENTIRELY relatable to have to adapt to ending up being very different from who you'd thought you'd be, in a way you can't help but feel is lesser and can't believe when people tell you they appreciate.
posted by solotoro at 8:03 AM on November 8, 2021 [2 favorites]

I liked this, but not as much as the first book. It kind of felt like half a book to me in some ways. I assumed all the things I felt that way about would get resolved in the third book, and some of them did, but not all of them.
posted by kyrademon at 10:16 AM on November 9, 2021

I also liked this a lot more than most other people I've talked to. I definitely get the "not much development, lots unresolved" feeling but that was actually a strength of the book for me. It's very rare that characters get a chance to breathe after trauma. Not much happened in this book and I think that was very intentional because everyone was still Processing (TM). I almost never seen that in media, tbh. Bone Dance by Emma Bull is the only other one I can think of where trauma just totally halts the narrative and character development while the person recovers, and while I can see why some people don't like it, I love it.

I haven't read the third book yet though, so we'll have to see if it concludes in a way that makes that pay off or not.
posted by brook horse at 3:16 PM on November 19, 2021

I also liked this book more than I thought I would based on hearing other reviews. I felt like it did a good job of capturing what it's like to try to learn to live again after years of trauma and stress. I didn't mind stuff being unresolved.

I enjoyed the first 2/3 or so of the book better than the finale with the vampire throw down in the dessert. I actually would have preferred if there was no big throw down. Like, if Agatha made it out of their herself, and they just all went and picked her up. Or something.

I just sort of feel like it would have been more in line with the themes of this part of the story if there was no actual heroic rescue, if it turned out none of this really led to anything.

But I still enjoyed it either way.
posted by litera scripta manet at 2:09 PM on December 3, 2021

I liked it more than the first (which I also liked), though there were a lot of little things that bothered me. For example, some of the San Diego dialogue ("activated"??) was weird, along with the "Burning Lad" thing - were these minor but noticeable differences from our world meant to be put in to some effect? It felt kind of gratuitous and pointless and took me out of the narrative a bit. "Burning Lad" would have been funny as something only the British characters said, rather than being the actual name is the festival.

A bigger problem for me throughout the trilogy is that the characters' internal voices are all really similar, and Simon's external voice often feels inconsistent with his internal one. That can happen a lot in the real world, but it felt fairly disorienting in the books. I couldn't really get a grip on how he was meant to sound in real life.

(Some smaller annoyances, because what else is Metafilter for: after reading all about how Baz does Shakespeare-style English fluently and correctly, and also (in the previous book) about his extensive classical and literary education, his random Olde Englishe conjugation mistakes stuck out like a sore thumb. Pretty sure those are author/proofreader errors rather than character errors. I also felt like Micah got a bit of a weird pass on his behavior: if your old girlfriend seems to believe she's still your girlfriend and is planning to come visit you from halfway across the world, and tells you so, maybe say the actual words "we're done, I'm dating someone new" before she does that instead of blaming her for not getting your hints.)

Still, despite everything, I enjoyed it and immediately started reading the next one. And I really liked the approach of taking the standard Chosen One (and boarding school!) structure to the next stage.
posted by trig at 6:58 PM on December 3, 2021

Also, I thought the part about Baz finally having some mentorship in how to be a vampire was pretty poignant.
posted by trig at 7:04 PM on December 3, 2021

I have a hard time reading this book. It's good and such a logical continuation of Carry on, but that's actually why it's difficult. Simon was able to get through life so long thinking he was the hero, but when he realized that the Mage wasn't the hero he thought and maybe he wasn't on the right side either, well. What side was he on then? "Was Simon supposed to see it coming? He doesn't see anything coming! He's taken aback by Tuesdays!" -Penelope p. 13

So, this book isn't so much about being in a depression, it's more about being in a relationship freefall, constantly wondering whether you're still together. It honestly gives me more suspense than all the people they fight and that leaves me on the edge of my seat through a great deal of the book. There's a lot of not knowing what you want to do or who you are. And a lot of depression too, though that's somewhat distracted by fights for now.

There are some great Agatha moments, (I feel she speaks for me here especially):
"I've told her to text me like a normal person. (I texted her to tell her.) 'But you don't reply to my texts!' she replied. 'Yes, but at least I read them, Penny. When you leave a voicemail, I just recoil in horror.'" p. 15

And I love Shepard. Sometimes I think he wandered in from Seanan McGuire. "If you got a glimpse into a secret world, would you pretend it hadn't happened? Or would you spend the rest of your life trying to find a doorway?" p. 158 I love the time he spends getting to know people and the number of friends he has everywhere and that his survival instincts rival Penelope's.

I love these characters so much that it can be hard to see them just struggle. I want to see them back in therapy and with some real support in their lives. (But Baz getting some education in being a vampire is amazing, even from that source.) And of course they are struggling. Who goes through what they have and comes out just fine?
posted by blueberry monster at 8:41 PM on December 26, 2021

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