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Harry Potter World Hogwarts
Harry Potter World Hogwarts
Jocelyn Hsu / Spoon
Culture > Entertainment


The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UPR chapter.

Dear readers, welcome to yet another book review. This time it’s the Simon Snow Trilogy by Rainbow Rowell. If you’re expecting to read compliment after compliment about this trilogy, you’re in for a big surprise because, spoiler alert, I did not like these books at all. See, I’m an easy person to please, and if a novel is queer and romantic, there’s a 97% that I’m going to like it. Perhaps you’re wondering, what about the other 3%? Well, I have your answer: it’s Rainbow Rowell’s series. That’s the 3% that made me want to scream and email the author, but instead, I’m writing an article about it. After all, when my best friend and I read the first two books, we basically created our own little Rainbow Rowell hate club. 

Warning: This is a trilogy review, so there’ll be spoilers of all the books. However, I will try my best to not give a lot of details, in case you decide to read these books after reading this article.

Rainbow Rowell’s Simon Snow series is divided into Carry On (2015), Wayward Son (2019), and Any Way The Wind Blows (2021). First, there’s a couple of things you need to know about the concept of the story. The characters of the Simon Snow saga are from another of Rowell’s novels called Fangirl, where a girl writes fanfiction about Simon and Baz. It’s not a spin-off, it’s more like the author decided to write the book series her character was writing fanfiction of. A little bit meta, right? Rowell took inspiration from Harry Potter to create the world and characters of this series. As soon as you start reading the first book, you immediately think about Harry Potter. The story is about the “Chosen One” trying to fulfill his prophecy and what happens to him after. So, if you want me to explain the plot of the first book, it would go like this: an alternate universe where Harry Potter (Simon Snow) is smarter and way more aware of everything that’s trying to kill him. Hermione Granger (Penelope) is his best friend but she’s not fond of Harry’s (Simon’s) girlfriend Ginny Weasley (Agatha) who happens to break up with him. While Harry (Simon) is trying to fulfill his prophecy of being the “Chosen One”, attempting to kill Voldemort (the Humdrum), and following Dumbledore’s (The Mage’s) orders, he keeps an eye on Draco Malfoy (Baz), a vampire who’s been his nemesis since his first year at Hogwarts (Watford). 

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love fanfiction with my entire soul. At this point, if I don’t read a fanfic before going to sleep, my routine feels completely off. When I noticed that the novel was almost like a Harry Potter fanfiction (specifically, Draco Malfoy x Harry Potter), I was more than interested. The plot was great but the execution and the writing weren’t…at all. Before I dive into a discussion of each book, I want to explain why I didn’t like this trilogy in general. It’s not news that I’m not fond of first person point of view (POV), but I have reviewed Perfect On Paper and Iron Widow, which are first person POV and I loved them so much, I gave them a 5/5 rating. Therefore, I tried to ignore the POV in these books so I could give it a chance, but…Oh my, it just kept getting worse when every character had a POV and a different subplot. It was like every time something important or good was happening, the author would change the POV to a completely different character and a different subplot. It got to a point where it wasn’t really about the cliffhangers, and instead it felt like the author just didn’t want to write some parts and decided to move on to another thing. It was very annoying, especially when a lot of the characters are very dislikable. Every time I saw that the POV narrator was going to be Penelope or Agatha, I was already rolling my eyes.

Harry Potter No GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

I have to admit that I’m surprised these books are so well liked by many people when they’re so badly written. I’m not going to get into details about the inconsistencies of the plot, because I will do that later. I will talk about the way the author wrote everything. I have no idea how the editors let this series get published. Was it really the author’s intention to narrate the three books this way? Example A: When Simon and Baz kiss for the first time in the first book (in chapter 61!), there’s nine changes of POV’s. Nine. And you would think, “ah it’s not that bad, Nahiria.” The chapter only has five pages. Five. She wrote nine POV’s in five pages. Do you know how distracted I was in their first kiss? And don’t get me started on how every time Simon and Baz have an intimate moment like this, Agatha (Simon’s ex) gets mentioned. Every single time. I swear it feels like the author hates Baz (too bad, because he’s my favorite character). Example B: “‘Agreed,’ I agree.” Example C: “‘Mmm,’ he mmms.” Oh my, these books are the very bane of my existence.

Another thing that I mentioned briefly before is that there are some characters that are very dislikable. Penelope and Agatha are the characters I hate the most. I swear it got to a point that I felt like I had internalized misogyny but it’s not even about that. I have never hated a character so much, let alone two female characters. Penelope is Simon’s best friend, clearly inspired by Hermione Granger. But it feels like every bad trait that Hermione could’ve had, she has it sans any redeeming qualities. She’s infuriating and very much annoying. You know how best friends are supposed to be there for each other? It sort of felt like Penelope was interfering more than anything, especially between Simon and Baz. I thought at some point, she actually had a crush on Simon and I was preparing myself for a love triangle. In the case of Agatha, inspired by Ginny Weasley…Well, she’s just a girl without any personality except being a victim and complaining about Simon Snow. If you’ve seen the Harry Potter’s films you’d know that unlike the books, Ginny has no personality whatsoever except for being in love with Harry. In this series, it’s sort of like that, but Agatha is considerably more annoying, spoiled and entitled.

Harry Potter Socerer'S Stone GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Carry On

3.5/5 star rating

The plot of this book was good and interesting; only if you’ve seen the Harry Potter movies or read the books. If you haven’t, then it’s a little bit strange to start a fantasy book without any worldbuilding. It’s implied that many of this universe’s details are obvious and you’re supposed to catch on. The writing is not the best, as mentioned earlier. The characters had so much potential, and yet, they were left at the most basic. Like Harry and Draco, Simon and Baz were nemeses since their first year at Watford, making this story is an enemies-to-lovers one. I just wish the author would’ve given us more content of them interacting before making them kiss, and boom! They’re suddenly in love. But, taking into consideration that Simon was having almost daily near-death experiences, I will let this cliché slide. One thing I will praise about this book (this is a spoiler), is the fact that the villain was actually the hero without anyone, not even the hero, noticing. I’d never read something like that and it was a pleasant surprise (I also loved that the Dumbledore of this story, the Mage, was explicitly a villain. As it should be. We all know that JK Rowling didn’t have the guts to do that).

Wayward Son 

2/5 star rating

This book hurt me. I did not want to pass the pages because I wanted to throw it against the wall. The author had four years to write this book, and it was a complete disappointment. The only reason I’m giving this book a 2 instead of a 1 is because the book focused a little bit more on Baz, and Baz is my baby. However, everything else was so bad, it deserves that 2 star rating. When I finished Carry On, I went the next day to the bookstore to buy the second book because it’s still a queer story so a part of my heart wanted to know more about Simon and Baz. I’m a character person. Normally, I prefer the character development more than the actual plot, and with the way Carry On ended (the “Chosen One” fulfilling his prophecy), I really wanted to know the aftermath of the magical prognosis. What is going to happen with the “Chosen One” when he no longer has a prophecy to fulfill because he already did it? What’s going to happen with the Boy Who Saved The World? It is a plot that needs to focus a lot on the characters, so I was very excited. Imagine my surprise (and my disappointment), when the book started with Simon wanting to break up with Baz, Penelope dragging Simon and Baz on a roadtrip in America to look for Agatha, and random vampires wandering about in Las Vegas. First of all, who cares about Agatha? Second, what? Literally what? There was just one single scene where Simon and Baz were together alone, and it was so good. One single scene in the entire book. I felt like I was chasing something throughout the entire book and I could never find it. You know what’s actually the most ridiculous part of all this? When I read the third book it became clear that the second book was completely and utterly unnecessary. The only thing the second book did was create problems in Simon and Baz’s relationship, find a new love interest for Penelope (after her boyfriend told her that they had broken up months ago and she just didn’t care enough to realize), and bring Agatha back to England. Unnecessary and ridiculous. 

Any Way The Wind Blows

2.5/5 stars rating

This book came out in July of 2021 and I only read it now because I knew how angry I was going to get while reading it. I wasn’t joking when I said my best friend and I have a little club that consists of hating these books every time we remember them. We decided to read the third book together so we could suffer together. Our chat is filled with a lot of “What is this?,” “Why is this so badly written?,” “The author has to be joking, this can’t be real.” We knew that it wasn’t going to be good, but the fact that nearly the whole plot of the second book was completely dismissed in this one was a joke and a waste of time. The third book had so many subplots that it got really annoying to pass the pages because at any given moment, the author would change the POV and jump to the other plot. I understand that it’s the final book and she’s trying to give every character their closing, but… it wasn’t good, and the execution was horrible. Can you believe it took three books to finally have the main characters act like proper boyfriends? It can’t even be considered a slow burn romance because they were technically boyfriends for the majority of the trilogy. I will say that I’m surprised the author gave us so much content of Baz and Simon together and alone. Of course, it only took her getting Penelope away from them and being distracted by a demon curse (that had no relevance to the plot other than keeping Penelope away) for Simon and Baz to have their moments. The villain plot in this book and how it got resolved felt so anticlimactic. I think that’s the perfect word to describe the entire third book: anticlimactic. Except for Baz, the best character and the one who deserved better. Here are some of his quotes: 

“I never thought I’d be the first thing you ever gave up on.”

“I wish I could believe him-what would it take for me to believe him? And what do I need in the meantime, what am I willing to withstand? (How would someone with pride answer these questions…)”

“As if I wouldn’t make the world spin backwards if I thought he’d like it better that way.”

“I’m an ‘I love you’ gun with the safety off, a finger constantly on the trigger.”

Baz is a simp, but I love him with all my heart. He’s the only good thing I will take from these series. Simon can come too, if he promises to treat Baz better for the rest of their lives. 

Confused Harry Potter GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

I found out about the first book on TikTok. Everyone was recommending it saying that it was “the original” gay book, that it was so good everyone had to read it, rating it 4 to 5 stars, and so on. After more than a year and three books later, I can officially conclude that the lack of LGTBQ+ romance stories is very real for people to be praising these books so much. I can sit down right now and name you about 30 fanfics and published books that have better characters and are way better written than this. However, I will say this trilogy is a decent alternative if you don’t want to support JK Rowling, but you still enjoy the magic world. Luckily, things are slowly changing and more queer novels, movies, and shows are coming out. We have a long way to go, and I can’t wait to read and see all the new LGTBQ+ content that’s making its way into the mainstream. 

Nahiria I. Rivera Dieppa is a writer and social media co-director at Her Campus at UPR. Along with her co-director, she handles the planning, posting, and creation of all the content posted to socials associated with HC at UPR. Nahiria's preferred articles discuss life experiences she has found impactful as well as review books she enjoys. While she is double majoring in Creative Writing and Public Relations and Advertising at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras campus, any team she has been part of outside of Her Campus has been focused on PR and Advertising. She interned in BRAAVE Tribe Collab for the first half of 2023 where she participated in events such as Cumbre Afro 2023. Afterwards, she lent her skills at Infopáginas Media for a summer internship where she analyzed data from small and medium businesses. Nahiria's passion towards writing is directed at Her Campus articles because, in her spare time, she would rather read. Despite what the many physical books on her bookshelf might suggest, fanfiction is where her interest lies most often. Aside from reading, Nahiria loves listening to music (her entire BTS collection can testify), traveling, and spending quality time with friends.