I blame faintingviolet (and crystalclear) for my new obsession with everything Rowell. I was so happily ignorant before cracking one of her books, but now I’m like an addict and I can’t get enough. I haven’t suffered from book-hangover in a very long time, but Wayward Son has me moping around wondering when book 3 is going to hit the shelves. I don’t know what to read next, I have a stack from the library that I’m sending back because everything is just paling in comparison to the Watford cast.
Is this book perfect? No. If I’m being honest and true to craft, it’s not 5 stars, but Rowell’s uncanny ability to create such vibrant characters from book to book means that I don’t care about the craft because the characters are so real they’re almost jumping off the page. This isn’t to say there isn’t good craft here. There’s amazing craft, and world building, and deep dives into characters. It’s just almost too full. In Carry On, while we had the backstory plot going on, the book was character-centrist, and one of the most enjoyable things was that much of the action took place off-page and we were given the space to see how the characters dealt with the aftermath of whatever those actions were.
Wayward Son has the action much more center-stage. This is in part because we already know the characters very well, and we have more space for plot, but there’s an almost picaresque nature to this story in that our Watford friends go on an adventure and stuff happens to them along the way. A lot of stuff. At the risk of spoiling, I won’t go into it, but suffice to say that I felt as exhausted as the characters by the end. There was never a space in this book for them to have a sit. While it rang true for the road-trip theme (and there are some fabulous details about this theme that were so creative and well done), I wanted our beloved characters to have a few minutes to rest in there somewhere. I wanted to watch them get to that introspective place that they inhabited much more closely in Carry On.
That all being said, I really enjoyed this book. Like, so much, I almost want to pick it up right now and read it again. Rowell expands the magical world, and our characters’ places in them. We meet more creatures and Rowell presents the intersection of ‘otherness’ and judgement in a fresh and new way. I so can’t wait for book 3.
Bingo Square: Reader’s choice – replacing Pajiba
Bingo across: Pajiba (reader’s choice), The Collection, Travel, Illustrated, Science!
4 squares to blackout – a new personal record for me!