All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Any Way The Wind Blows by Rainbow Rowell

on July 29, 2021

Any Way The Wind Blows (Simon Snow #3)
Rainbow Rowell
Pan Macmillan
2021, 516p
Purchased personal copy

Blurb {from the publisher/}: In Carry On, Simon Snow and his friends realized that everything they thought they understood about the world might be wrong. And in Wayward Son, they wondered whether everything they understood about themselves might be wrong.

In Any Way the Wind Blows, Simon and Baz and Penelope and Agatha have to decide how to move forward.

For Simon, that means deciding whether he still wants to be part of the World of Mages — and if he doesn’t, what does that mean for his relationship with Baz? Meanwhile Baz is bouncing between two family crises and not finding any time to talk to anyone about his newfound vampire knowledge. Penelope would love to help, but she’s smuggled a cursed American Normal into London, and now she isn’t sure what to do with him. And Agatha? Well, Agatha Wellbelove has had enough.

Any Way the Wind Blows takes the gang back to England, back to Watford, and back to their families for their longest and most emotionally wrenching adventure yet.

This book is a finale. It tells secrets and answers questions and lays ghosts to rest.

Carry On was conceived as a book about Chosen One stories; Any Way the Wind Blows is an ending about endings. About catharsis and closure, and how we choose to move on from the traumas and triumphs that try to define us.

I remember that originally, I was a bit reluctant to read Carry On. I wasn’t sure it’d translate from the background story in Fangirl, to actually thriving on its own. And I was surprised just how much I loved it. It was four years before the sequel, Wayward Son came out and I had a lot of feelings upon finishing that book. Mostly sadness, for Simon and Baz and the way they were at the end. Thankfully I didn’t have to wait four years for this book but it was with even more anticipation and trepidation that I picked this one up (same day it arrived) to see where things were going to go.

I really enjoyed this. It gets a lot worse before it gets better but things were never going to be resolved easily and even after things start to improve, there are still hard moments. Both Simon and Baz are traumatised, for different reasons and they’re grappling with a lot of things. Simon is dealing with the fact that he killed the Mage, that he no longer has magic and because of that, where does he fit into this world now? His boyfriend and his best friend are two very powerful mages. It’s a huge part of their everyday lives. He has to rely on them to spell away the wings and tail he gave himself, so that he can go out in public. For Simon, this is a huge struggle and it’s something he doesn’t want to deal with and for a while it seems the easiest thing is to just…run away. Be alone. But Baz isn’t going to take that lying down.

For the most part this is two, maybe even three stories in one. Penelope and Shepherd are spending a lot of time trying to free Shepherd from the deal he made with a demon. Simon and Baz are investigating why Baz’s stepmother is following someone who claims to be the ‘new’ Chosen One and getting to the bottom of that. And Agatha is well, being Agatha I suppose, and learning about Watford’s goats.

If you’re reading this for the Simon and Baz moments, this book has a lot of them. Some of them are quite heartbreaking, others are really hopeful. Some are sexy – there’s quite a bit more physical stuff between Simon and Baz in this one as they get closer in different ways. Thankfully, they finally do some proper talking and there’s a lot that is revealed and explored and picked over and dealt with so that they can start to move on. Simon still doesn’t like thinking about things and he still claps back and they still argue and stumble their way through objects in their being together. But this time Simon is invested in ways where he wasn’t before. Because he was always waiting for it to be over. Now he’s working on it not being over and the difference is huge. For both of them. And we get to see Baz in a state that could best be described as a “hot mess” or maybe even just a mess, just a boy grieving over something, rather than this always put together specimen that Simon seemed to view him as. It’s about them showing each other that they accept each other for all that they are, the good and the bad. And love them for it, no matter what.

I didn’t love Shepherd in the previous book – I just found him too much. But I enjoyed him more in this one, maybe because he was just mostly with Penelope and he provides a good contrast to her earnestness. He’s so eager to learn about everything and he already knows so much about the magical world – it ended up being quite funny, what the deal was with the demon. I thought he and Penelope ended up being quite good. I wasn’t super into it going in that direction in the previous book but it worked in this one. Likewise Agatha, previously always my least favourite character (what even is her personality?) was definitely more palatable in this book, perhaps because she didn’t have a huge amount of POV chapters and she actually ended up having some purpose.

There’s no perfect ending for this, because most or all, of the characters, will still have some ongoing trauma. But there was a lot of things that happened in this that felt perfect. Even the bad things felt perfect because the enabled the better things to happen. I felt as though everyone was left in a place where they had all they needed to go forward with their lives in a way that would be happy – not perfect, still with some scarring and trauma. But happy. And the potential to be happier as time went on.


Book #128 of 2021

One response to “Review: Any Way The Wind Blows by Rainbow Rowell

  1. Ocean Bream says:

    I too had some thoughts about reading Carry On as its own standalone book after reading the backstory bits in Fangirl… I adored Fangirl! And to be honest after reading your excellent review, I still don’t like the idea of Carry On and its sequels. Maybe it’s the fact of the author writing about fantasy when I was introduced to her through YA fiction, I don’t know! Still, you write an impeccable review which gives a tantalising taste of a book without revealing too much!

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