I loved this. Even more than the first book.
I love the direction the author decided to go, to show what happens after the whole big showdown between the Chosen One Protag and the Big Bad Villain. Because you don’t often get to see that part. But it would impact the characters’ lives.
But, in this case, it wasn’t necessarily for the better. At the beginning of this book, Simon is still dealing with what is possibly depression or PTSD or both (I don’t remember if it was explicitly stated). His mental health has affected Penelope and Baz because they both care and want to help him feel better. Simon and Baz have started having relationship struggles. Agatha has attempted to run away from her problems by running away from the entire world of magic.
So even though I loved this book even more than the first, I loved it in a different way. It was less adorable and more sad. Instead of moments that made me say awwwwwww, there were moments that made me want to give the characters big hugs and sometimes also lock Simon and Baz in a room together and make them just talk. They were all struggling so much, but in a way that felt very real. It wasn’t just magical problems, it was real people problems, and definitely real people emotions. And it wasn’t all resolved by the end. But the ending makes it clear that there will be another book coming, so there’s still a chance for things to get better. And there were still some sweet and fun moments amidst the struggles.
Anyway, I love Baz, a broody vampire, but also a grumpster with a heart of gold. I love Simon, a stubborn ball of confusion and emotion and energy and brute force, also with a heart of gold. I love Penny and Agatha and Shepard (a new character), all just doing their best and dealing with their own things. I love the feel of this author’s writing, how it somehow feels so immersive and immediate, how it always makes me want to keep reading.
And good news! The two issues I had with the first book (too many POVs, some confusing plot stuff) were not a problem in this one. My only complaint this time would be that only one issue from this book was really resolved, so there are a lot of loose threads and a kinda cliffhanger leading to the next book, but I was planning on continuing anyway, so it’s not that big a deal.
Oh, and here’s what the hardcover looks like:
I won't be able to read it right away because of my health problems, but at least I can look at this gorgeous cover and spine until then! (Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell hardcover) Thank you @ShannonMiz & @NicoleMHewitt for the Discussion Challenge giveaway! pic.twitter.com/BLwq9Qv9vx
— Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight (@whykristenburns) September 27, 2019
Overall, I loved this book (could you tell?), the characters and story were yet again great, and I can’t wait for more!
*I’ve read this book multiple times. This review was written after my 1st read.*
2nd Read Update:
Once again, I loved all the same things, plus a few more.
Also once again, I really felt for all the characters. They were just a bunch 19- or 20-year-olds doing their best but in way over their heads.
Like the first book, this one explores the darker side of things that are often kind of glamorized in books. I mentioned above how it continues showing how being the chosen one has affected Simon (and others), how he’s struggling with trauma and mental health *SPOILER (for Book 1)* (losing his magic and therefore feeling like he’s no longer fits in with magicians, and like he doesn’t have the thing that him who he was, and like Baz won’t want him anymore because of that—and that is so sad, to realize Simon only ever saw himself as a magic bomb/battery/weapon and can’t even fathom that someone might love him for who he is as a person rather than for his magic) *END SPOILER* and trying to figure out how to live a life he never thought he’d have. This book also shows the potential darker side of vampirism though. Yeah, I already knew Baz wandered the catacombs feeding from rats. But this time, away from his usual food source, there was more desperation. He had to feed from people’s pets. He had to feed in front of people. I also felt so bad for him, knowing so little about vampires despite being one because he had no one to teach him.
Simon and Baz have relationship struggles in this one, but you know what? Their feelings are still adorable. They don’t communicate well, but they love the crap out of each other.
The audiobook narration by Euan Morton was natural and enjoyable to listen to. Voices aren’t super different, but accents (British and American) and female voices sounded good.
Overall, another fantastic book.
Fans of Book 1 in Rainbow Rowell's Simon Snow series. Anyone who likes YA, magic, lovable characters, adorable enemies-to-lovers romance, a look at the darker side of common fantasy elements without *too much* darkness, and happy endings (if you read the whole series).