Book review: Wayward Son
Book reviews

Wayward Son – Rainbow Rowell

Release date: 24 September 2019
Goodreads link
Book Depository link
Pan MacMillan (for Aussie’s)
Rating4.5 stars

Wayward Son (Simon Snow, #2) blurb:

Come on, Simon Snow.
Your hero’s journey might be over –
but your life has just begun.

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 happily ever after, right?

So why can’t Simon get off the couch?

What he needs is a change of scenery.

That’s how Simon and his two best friends end up in a vintage convertible, tearing across the American West.

That’s how they end up in trouble.w

A book for everyone who has ever wondered what happened to the Chosen One after he saved the day, and for everyone who was ever more curious about the second kiss than the first.

Book 1: Carry On

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Friends, we’re getting to the pointy end of the year. I can tell because all of my anticipated reads are coming in thick and fast now. (I’ve been thinking – I will hit my goodreads goal, but I may not his my Beat the Backlist goal!!)
Where was I? Oh yeah. This book was everything, and also nothing, like I needed wanted it to be. Totally amazing, and equally frustrating. And I need MORE. Thank goodness Rainbow has announced book three: Any Way the Wind Blows, because I will never get enough of these characters!!

The Good

I love how Rainbow threw the Chosen One trope out the window on this one. Simon’s story is over. He won. Now what? This is where the angsty depression of accomplishing all your life goals at the age of 18 sets in. I mean, what else is left when you have no more magic and there’s no more enemies. I adore that Rainbow explored this deep seated “now what?” And I do feel like Simon probably got it worse than some others. He no longer has his magic (not that he was very good at it anyway), and he had to kill some people who were important to him. I’m glad this wasn’t glossed over in any way. It made the book feel more real.
I also loved that Penelope did some ‘dubious’ things in the name of ‘helping’ her best friend. Baz outs her during the novel and is all “this is illegal”, but she just kind of shrugs it off. Because, I mean, it’s Simon!! For someone who was so straight-laced and rule following in the first book, we get to see what actually pushes her past the breaking point, and see what motivates her to break the rules.
Baz and Simon’s relationship was EVERYTHING. There’s this one quote about halfway through that I think encapsulates all the good and bad in it:

“Can I?” he asks.
Can you what, Simon? Kiss me? Kill me? Break my heart?

At the start of the novel you get a glimpse of how Simon’s depression has affected their relationship. While Penelope and Baz, and even Agatha to a certain extent, have all moved on, Simon is just perpetually stuck because he can’t figure out what comes after you fulfill your life’s purpose. And I just found it really interesting to see that from both, Simon’s and Baz’s perspectives.
I also really enjoyed watching how the nuances in their magic changed when they were in America. Obviously the sayings / vernacular / spells they use in the UK are quite different from those in the US, so seeing Baz really struggle with something he has always excelled at was quite satisfying. (I mean, can you not imagine Hermione floundering because words had a slightly different pronunciation and not giggling to yourself when all her spells fail?)
Baz being totally extra with all the other vampires was one of my fave parts. That suit on the cover? Totally in the book. As well as many, many other delightful wardrobe choices. OMG I love Baz.

The Bad

So, you know how I talked about Baz and Simon’s relationship in the good section? It was also highly frustrating to watch because I just want them to be happy and in love (and I should know better because it’s a Rainbow Rowell book, but still…). Like, you have a couple of really amazing scenes, and the rest of the time you kind of just want to shake them and be all “YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE COUPLE GOALS!!” cough
I feel like I didn’t really understood Shepard’s motivations… Like, I kind of get it, but also, what are you doing, guy?! How are you consistently this smart, but also this bad?
Agatha needs to learn some ‘self-rescuing princess’ techniques, because that girl is a trouble-magnet. Also, I think the lesson there is “you can’t run away from your problems”.

The Recommendation

Overall, I loved it – although not quite as much as Carry On. I will be absolutely interested to see where this goes with the third book – also, Rainbow has said she will NEVER rule out writing more Simon Snow books (which hopefully means we will get a continuous stream of Baz books as well)!!

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Micah is a dick. I mean, Penelope had some self-realisation to do, but if the person isn’t listening to what you’re saying, then change the words and make them understand. Like, “Hey Bunce, I’m dating someone else because we haven’t spoken for 3 months.” isn’t all that hard to say in the grand scheme of things.


Thank you to Pan Macmillan Australia for providing me with a free copy of this book to review. All opinions are my own.

Until next time, happy reading. Love Meegs x


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