Bingo Just Because: Reader’s Choice
Even though I’ve already posted the review to fill in my bingo card, I still wanted to do this out of stubbornness, and because I have another book finished that would have probably ended up in this square anyways.
So, Any Way the Wind Blows is the finale of the Simon Snow trilogy, the Harry Potter fan-fic originally created for the stand-alone novel Fangirl, which was actually my introduction to the author Rainbow Rowell. I have to admit, in spite of some minor problems, this was in some ways a better series conclusion than the series by she-who-shall-not-be-named, although is apparently getting a Netflix show.
The biggest thing I liked about this novel is that we actually get to see some growing up, and characters genuinely figuring out what they’re going to do with themselves. Not everyone mind, I mean, Simon hardly gets much character growth as he spends most of his time trying to deal with the various trauma’s he’s been through until now, and to be fair it has been a lot. Baz though starts out as the Malfoy/rival type, and he ends up being the one who matures and forces Simon to really consider the importance of their relationship, and he also has to deal with some family expectations things, but there isn’t quite as much focus there. Simon and Baz as a pair definitely start having to deal with more adult things too, and there’s one scene that’s decidedly more adult than most YA I’ve read before, but at least here it fits with the plot and character trajectories.
Penelope also gets to deal with growing up and figuring out how to deal with her own previous expectations of how her life was going to go changing after evens from the previous book. Agatha finds a place in the world too, but she still feels kind of fourth wheel; she always has, but it still sorta works since she knows it. She and Niamh actually have a conversation about that. I have to admit the re-introduction of the (flying) goats of Watsford and their significance was kind of interesting and a fun reference to the ravens of the Tower of London (at least I assume that’s the parallel).
The Penelope arc feels a little forced on one thing and that’s her connection to/with Shepherd. They’re going along trying to solve his curse, and then suddenly, it’s feelings time without much set up for that. I do agree with Shepherd on one thing, and that’s his discomfort with Penelope’s habit of using magic to get out of paying for anything in the Normal world. Her refusal to see Normals as people in that regard really makes her attachment to Shepherd feel like it’s only for the intellectual challenge which makes the sudden feelings-time and what is suggested about them afterwards less final than it’s presented.
What annoys me a bit are the large-ish hole that get left. Several characters mention university, but no one is apparently currently attending or preparing to attend. There are the running references to what is Simon going to do about his dragon wings, but that’s not really resolved either. Neither are the hints about some of the parent-generation folks having insecurities about their places in the magic world. The stuff with Niamh and Agatha isn’t developed hardly at all.
There’s a lot of closure for most of the main questions of the series, like Simon finding some belonging and figuring out what’s up with his magic or lack thereof, and the hints about Lucy. Overall, this was a good ending to a mostly light and entertaining series. I do wonder if I’m the only one who can’t see the title without completing the line as of a Queen song.