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Book Review: Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell (4/5)

26 May

I hope everyone had a good Memorial Day! I took the day off to pretend holidays are meaningful during the quarantine. I’m hoping that having finished this book will get the Kansas song out of my head. I’ve been listening to it daily and my husband is getting really sick of me.

Cover image via Goodreads

Wayward Son (Simon Snow #2) by Rainbow Rowell

Other books by Rowell reviewed on this blog:

Attachments (and Book Club Reflection)
Carry On (Simon Snow #1)
Eleanor & Park

Summary from Goodreads:

The story is supposed to be over.

Simon Snow did everything he was supposed to do. He beat the villain. He won the war. He even fell in love. Now comes the good part, right? Now comes the happily ever after…

So why can’t Simon Snow get off the couch?

What he needs, according to his best friend, is a change of scenery. He just needs to see himself in a new light…

That’s how Simon and Penny and Baz end up in a vintage convertible, tearing across the American West.

They find trouble, of course. (Dragons, vampires, skunk-headed things with shotguns.) And they get lost. They get so lost, they start to wonder whether they ever knew where they were headed in the first place…

This was pure fun. I’m a little wary of this series just because we dove into the final installment but this book took a great turn with it that I’m 100% on board for. The ‘final battle’ is done and all the things we don’t know about Simon’s history don’t matter as much anymore. Now we’ve got characters we like in a fun adventure. Even better, they’re in the Midwest to start so it’s like your favorite fantasy characters visiting your hometown (ish).

The variety of personality types amongst Penny, Baz, and Simon was fun. Penny’s very take-charge and pushy, Simon flies by the seat of his pants, and Baz won’t speak up unless he has to. They make a great team. I think Penny is a bit unbelievable, though. Which is funny to say since she’s the only non-vampire non-winged character. Her personality is so pushy that I’ve never met someone anywhere near her level and I took honors classes in college. If you’re going to meet a pushy personality, it’s there. And no one was anywhere close to her. So I think it’s ironic that the human character is the one I don’t believe in.

Baz was my favorite character. He is most like me so I could understand him better than the other characters with narrations. He and I approach life in similar ways and my husband is as impulsive as Simon sometimes so I related to having to reign someone in a bit. I thought he handled his vampirism well and it was always fun to read about how he fought the urges to bite Penny or Simon and things that affected him differently because of it.

I probably related best with Baz and Simon in regards to their relationship. I’m not a ‘touchy’ person (it’s my least strong love language) but my husband loves to snuggle and hold hands and put his arm around me. The way Simon always hesitated to touch Baz and Baz was afraid Simon didn’t like him because he pushed off any physical intimacy resonated with me. I’m like Simon: I can like someone a lot and not even think of holding hands or walking arm in arm. I can see how it was frustrating to Baz, it’s a conversation I’ve been a part of.

Rainbow Rowell
Image via Goodreads

The time in Las Vegas was so fun. I adored the idea that the city is run by vampires. It makes so much sense! Learning about the vampire culture was really fun and I enjoyed Lamb a lot. I hope he appears in future novels though it seems we’re leaving him behind in LV and heading back to England.

Tying Micah into the story seemed unnecessary except to make Penny single. But with Simon and Baz being together, I don’t understand why that was important. Is Shephard going to be a new love interest? As much as Penny is broken up about it initially, he isn’t mentioned after two days so it’s a bit of a flash in the pan. It only served to put them on an epic road trip to California. I do laugh about how non-Americans can’t fathom how big our country is.

The audiobook was narrated by Euan Morton. I think his overdramatization of Penny was part of why I didn’t like her very much. Simon seemed a bit giddy, too. I liked how he did Baz and his American accent for Shepard wasn’t bad. Agatha sounded a bit like a Valley Girl which was finally appropriate because of where she was living but was still irritating.

I didn’t get a lot of strong themes from this book. The growing tenderness between Simon and Baz was touching, but I don’t think it qualifies as a theme. I’m wondering if it’s something like, “It takes all types”? That might be the best fit I can think of. Shepard ended up being very helpful even after he was written off initially. And without his magic, Simon is still useful in fights. Baz being a vampire ended up being an asset instead of a detriment like he seems to think it normally is.

Writer’s Takeaway: Not every book needs to take itself seriously or have a strong message. This book was fun. It dealt with friendships and relationships and long, fun journeys in multiple stolen vehicles. Simon and Baz’s relationship was strengthened but nothing decisive happened to the characters. It was fun, it was an adventure, and it has me anxious to come back for more. Nothing wrong with that.

I enjoyed the book overall. Four out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

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Related Posts:
Carry On + Wayward Son, there’ll be angst when you are done | inkandplasma
Book Review: Carry On & Wayward Son By: Rainbow Rowell | Bookcave
Review: Rainbow Rowell- Wayward Son | Anniek’s Library