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… Nothings ever that easy for Simon Snow. Wayward Son follows Simon, Penny and Baz as they tear across the American West in a convertible, with the hood back and the sun shining, not knowing exactly what to do with themselves after the end of the war. However, trouble never seems to be far away for this trio as they encounter all sorts of danger on their trip – dragons, vampires and much much more.
I think I made a huge mistake in getting exciting for this release, having fallen in love with Simon and Baz. I had so many expectations following Carry On and after reading the much anticipated sequel, my disappointment is palatable.
I want to start off by saying this isn’t a bad book – it is incredibly easy to get through and has many moments where I fell deeper in love with these characters, laughing even, at their adventures. Somehow, Rowell successfully develops the characters more so than in the first book, exploring how Simon now has no magic, a tail and devil wings alongside a deep lack of knowledge of who he is anymore. The start of a beautiful relationship between Simon and Baz at the end of the first book is also threatened by this identity-crisis, allowing Rowell to explore this romance in new lights.
The characters are the reason I return for the sequel so many years later, living vicariously through fanfiction and fan-art since the end of the first book and with Wayward Son, they felt more real to me, more fragile, more connected. In some ways, this book focused less on the plot and more on evolving the characters and for that, I did love it.
I even liked how the novel expanded the World of Mages outside of what we knew from Carry On. Much like Harry Potter, magic in the UK is very different across the pond and I enjoyed reading about the different spells and the moments where magic didn’t even work Even the bits about the vampires was interesting – we’ve not had the chance to delve into the history, the ins and outs of vampires in the previous book so it was nice to finally get some evolution there. Especially with Baz being my favourite character.
My issue, then, is the lack of resolution and lack of a solid plot. At the end of the book, we have no idea where the characters stand with each other, what they’re going to do about America, whether Simon finally has an idea who he is. The book feels messy, rushed and unresolved. And I hate to say this but the POV with Agatha and Shepherd were completely useless and boring. There’s nothing interesting there and at some times, I really wanted to skip to the next chapter.
What made me mad was how we spent the entire book not really knowing where Baz and Simon stood with each other and by the end, we still don’t know. It’s disappointing and cruel. While this book feels more mature than Carry On, it lacked a substantial plot with substantial resolutions. It was one of those books that focuses primarily on characters, forgetting that to keep my interest, I also need a developing, strong plotline.
Wayward Son is a book that truly felt like something we did not need and if it didn’t exist, I don’t think I would bat an eye.