CBR 13 Bingo Square: Shelfie
THIS BOOK! After having reread Carry On and Wayward Son, I was primed for Any Way the Wind Blows. I devoured it so quickly that I immediately reread to be able to slow down and better absorb the story. Rowell brings the Simon Snow trilogy to a satisfying close but what an emotional journey to get there. Carrying their hearts on their sleeves, Simon and Baz are so vulnerable and continually bracing for the pain that might come. Penelope’s decisions and the events of Wayward Son are causing her to feel discouraged and filled with self doubt. Agatha is rootless, she tried the mundane world and has returned to the World of Mages but unsure of how she fits in any more.
Picking up immediately after Wayward Son, Any Way the Wind Blows finds Simon, Baz, Penelope, Shepard, and Agatha back in London and scattering in different directions. Simon uses the turmoil, and funds from the Mage’s estate, to get his own flat. He’s sick of being surrounded by magic, of needing magical help from Penny or Baz because of his wings, and it kills him to look at Baz. While not as magically talented as Baz, Simon once felt himself near equals, and now all Simon sees looking at him, is what was lost. Baz would give Simon anything but each time Simon pushes him away it breaks his heart into smaller pieces and Baz isn’t sure how much more rejection he can take. It’s Baz’s accusation that the only thing Simon ever gave up on was him, that shakes Simon up. For the first time, Simon begins to try and have a relationship with Baz. Simon has so much to work through and the best thing Baz can do is just be there and constantly reassure Simon to not worry about where they are at right now (relationship wise and intimacy wise). As long as they are committed to one another, Baz is convinced the rest will follow. I felt like Rowell was carrying my heart in her hand as I followed Baz and Simon on their journey.
Penelope brought a Normal home and instead of her mother being willing to help Shepard with his curse, she is horrified and spells his memory away. Penelope takes him back to her flat but begins to breakdown under all her perceived bad decisions. Used to working with a crew, she is flailing when all on her own but then Shepard supports her and we see Penelope begin to bloom again. She’s like a determined terrier once she decides to take on a task and saving Shepard’s soul is a worthy goal. Watching Penelope find her self confidence, while also building something with Shepard, is lovely to watch. He is a perfect match for her, brilliant in magical knowledge but in a completely different way from herself.
Agatha thought she was done with the World of Mages but America showed her that she’d rather have magic in her life than be without. However, upon return to London she doesn’t know what to do now. Agatha has never gotten on with people and her years at Watford kept her isolated from classmates as she went from one harrowing experience to another, sucked along in the Chosen One’s wake. Her parents insist that Agatha work at her father’s medical clinic and intern a bit with Niamh, who is studying to be a magical vet. When Niamh introduces her to the goats of Watford, Agatha finds an unexpected connection.
Any Way the Wind Blows gives the readers, and our beloved characters, new mysteries. What is up with the new ‘Chosen Ones’ popping up in the World of Mages, how exactly did Shepard get cursed and what are the terms, and are the goats of Watford more than they seem? I loved every moment of this book. Rowell gives a satisfying conclusion but left tempting threads dangling. I would love to see a spin off series of Simon and Baz solving mysteries in the magical world. Penelope and Shepard could have their own series touring the world and visiting with magical beings. And I would like to see Agatha left alone, she doesn’t thrive off of danger the way Simon and Penny do.
If you’ve read Carry On and Wayward Son you MUST read Any Way the Wind Blows. Despite having read it twice, I’m already feeling bereft knowing there are no current plans for more Simon Snow books. Funny how I didn’t know of their existence until last year and now I can’t imagine a world where I didn’t read them.