Rainbow Rowell’s Simon Snow series is probably one of my favourite YA series out there. Although Snow first debuted in Rowell’s standalone novel, Fangirl, their characters were so popular that they warranted their own series. It’s got a little bit of everything: magic, adventure, LGBTQ+ romance and it’s got some cool Harry Potter vibes too. If you’re new to the Simon Snow series, I can’t recommend Carry On enough. It’s a must-read for HP and Rainbow Rowell fans.
This instalment of the Simon Snow saga finds him back in London and grappling with his place in the World of Mages after the events in Carry On and Wayward Son:
In Carry On, Simon Snow and his friends realized that everything they thought they understood about the world might be wrong. And in Wayward Son, they wondered whether everything they understood about themselves might be wrong.description from dust jacket
In Any Way the Wind Blows, Simon and Baz and Penelope and Agatha have to decide how to move forward.
One of the reasons that I love Simon Snow and his friends is because despite living in a magical world, their struggles feel deeply rooted in (as Simon would say) the Normal world. Simon struggles with feelings of self-worth; now that he isn’t The Chosen One, he doesn’t know where he fits. I think that Rowell wrote his character in an honest way and that makes his journey so relatable. Sure, Simon and Baz are trying to uncover a supernatural mystery, but they’re also trying to sort out their relationship and to figure out how to live now that they aren’t at Watford anymore. For anyone who has finished with school and has attempted to join the adult world, their journey feels true.
A Quirky Mystery
I liked this about Wayward Son, too. The mystery starts slowly. For at least the first one-hundred pages, the plot focuses on Simon and Baz’s relationship and Penny and Shepard’s dilemma. Although the pacing is a bit slow to start, I was genuinely interested in where my favourite characters ended up since the last book, so this didn’t bother me. Readers who are new to the Simon Snow trilogy will probably want to start at the beginning of the saga though, otherwise they might feel a bit lost.
The mystery was fun–a sort of play on the idea of The Chosen One. There was enough intrigue to keep me turning pages and the idea of a cult revolving around the idea of greatness and The Chosen One was interesting. This idea carries through from Wayward Son, too, so there is a nice tie-in.
Overall, Any Way the Wind Blows was a fun read with lots of magical adventure and romance.