Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

Title: Wayward Son
Series: Simon Snow, #2
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publication date: 2019

Date started: 11/11/2019
Date finished: 19/11/2019

First sentence: “Simon Snow did what he came to do. What they all said he would do someday. He found the big baddie – he found two – and he finished them off.”
Last sentence: “Her brown eyes are lit with horror. ‘Baz, there’s trouble at Watford. We have to go home – now!’”
Favorite sentence: “’Ha! Does Agatha know we’re coming?’
‘It’ll be a surprise!’ Penny says.
Surprise!‘ Baz sing-songs. ‘It’s your ex-boyfriend and his boyfriend and that girl you never liked very much!‘”

Summary: Simon Snow fulfilled his destiny as the Chosen One, and found himself a boyfriend, but he’s now fell into a deep depression due to his lack of purpose. He stopped doing anything but eat junk food and drink cider, and is ready to break up with Baz to spare him from having to do it. That’s when his best friend Penelope decides to take him and Baz to a road trip to the US! They try to refuse, but they’re in the plane soon enough. The plan is to visit Penelope’s boyfriend in Michigan before heading to California to see their friend Agatha who abandoned magic to live with Normals. The trip is off to a rocky start when Penelope’s boyfriend breaks up with her as soon as they meet – they barely talked in a year and he tried to tell her they were over many times but she never listened to him… They go back on their way, but when they stop in a medieval fair for some fun times, they spot some vampires and decide to fight them in the open, attracting a lot of unwanted attention. Afterwards they realize they are being followed, and while trying to lose their tail, they end up in a place without magic surrounded by some were-animals. A Normal saves them, and explains everything to them: in the US, there are some Quiet Places, where there’s not enough people to give Mages power through their words! The Normal is named Shepard and he’s part of an online community tracking magic beings. He knows a lot of magical creatures in the US, from dragons to water spirit, and even though the Brits are reluctant to keep him around at first, he becomes too useful to get rid off. Penelope has been worrying about Agatha since they arrived because she hadn’t answered her texts, but the boys had been writing off her worries as paranoia until they received a very worrying voice mail from Agatha. They start to suspect that she’s been taken by the Next Blood, a group of Silicon Valley vampires who want to acquire magic and make themselves extremely powerful. They go to Las Vegas, a city full of vampires, to try to get information, but the vampires trick them by saying they will help them take down Next Blood, and instead deliver them to their enemies while being in a Quiet Place… Thankfully, the Burning Man festival is nearby, and the presence of thousands of people gives enough power to the mages to free themselves and get rid of Next Blood! As soon as they escape, they receive news that something terrible has happened in Watford, their old school…

Opinion: This wasn’t terrible, but kind of a disappointing sequel? I really loved Carry On, both for its plot and its romance, and I was thrilled that its sequel advertised itself “for everyone who was ever more curious about the second kiss than the first” (that’s me) and explored the depression of a Chosen One after he fulfilled his destiny. The plot of Wayward Son was nice but nothing mind blowing and there was basically no promised “second kiss” as the whole Simon / Baz relationship was based on resentment and lack of communication. I’m glad there will be a 3rd book, and I hope the author will take her time to mend their relationship then, and in a way I’m happy that we get to explore the difficulties of relationships, but this was so extremely depressing to me that it spoiled my enjoyment of the book.

Bonus sentence: “‘Do you believe us?’ Bunce asks.
Margaret shrugs. ‘Believe you are malformed outcast tourist trash.’
She’s not wrong there.”

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