Any Way The Wind Blows – the third and final book in Rainbow Rowell’s Simon Snow trilogy – was one of our most anticipated reads of 2021, and it did not disappoint. I, for one, devoured the book in about 24 hours, and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since.
Now that the book has been out for a week, let’s revisit some of our favourite things about Any Way The Wind Blows.
1. The Banter!!
For some reason, I always forget just how good the dialogue is in these books until I’m actually reading them. Simon and Baz bounce off each other so well, and every combination of characters is guaranteed to produce incredible quotes. That whole scene when Baz and Simon first went hunting rats together? Comedy gold. Every single exchange between Baz and Fiona? Incredible. I love these books.
2. Simon processing his trauma
Yes, this book is funny and entertaining and so, so horny, but it’s also a really good exploration of how trauma affects your relationships.
The Simon Snow series is a story about chosen one stories. It explores what it’s like to be exceptional, and then to lose everything that made you exceptional. Simon spends so much of this book trying to figure out who he is if not the Chosen One. Is he a Normal? A Mage? Is he even worthy of Baz and Penelope? If he isn’t the Chosen One, could it be someone else?
We saw some of that in Wayward Son, too, but one thing I really appreciated about his arc in this book is how he got to explore the impacts of being lied to by the Mage for so much of his life. He knows nothing about himself, or his family. The Mage took everything from him, just to turn him into the Chosen One. That’s a lot to deal with, and it was very interesting to see that get explored in the finale of the series.
Just… Shepard. Everything about this guy.
Shepard was introduced in Wayward Son, and he was great in that book, but he really shone in this one. As Penelope remarks in one scene, it’s impossible not to like Shepard. The more I learn about this guy’s past misadventures, the more I love him. The fact that he has absolutely no sense of self-preservation only makes him more lovable. It also makes him a great love interest for Penelope “let’s just summon the demon and work from there” Bunce.
4. “I’ve killed so many things for you”
Simon’s love language is murder. We knew, but it’s still nice to get confirmation.
5. Penny solving everyone’s problems
Penelope just kicks so much ass. I’ve loved her in every Simon Snow book, but especially this one. The fact that a really vulnerable moment between her and Shepard turned into a comedic moment with him listing off magickal problems he’s gotten himself into, which turned into Penelope summoning the demon and absolutely kicking its ass using the law was just *chef’s kiss*
6. Agatha and Niamh
I just love the way this relationship progressed over the course of the book. The way you couldn’t quite figure out where it was going at first, like, why are you interrupting the main story to tell me about goats? Then the slow realization, as you read the descriptions of Niamh and think hold on… is she… are they…?
I just loved their dynamic. I also think that, like a lot of other main characters, Agatha really blossomed in this book. I loved watching her journey of discovering who she is outside of being the popular girl and the chosen one’s girlfriend. Our girl is finally free to live her life however she wants, and I’m so proud of her for doing it.
7. Simon finding his family
Obviously, we knew it was going to happen in this book. As readers, we’ve known since Carry On that Simon was the Mage’s biological son, but Simon didn’t figure that out until the end of this book.
And it worked so well. Finding his living family didn’t suddenly fix all his problems – by the time he found this out, he already had a steady relationship and good friends and a general sense of what he wanted to do in life. This was just… a bit of closure. He learned that he had always been a magician. And yeah, he found himself a family, including a grandmother who loves to bake. How perfect.
8. Baz is emo shit
I just need to give a special shoutout to Baz’s narration in this series, because it gives me life. Years after reading Carry On, the line “I imagine myself spitting in his face. And then I imagine licking it off his cheek and kissing him. (Because I’m disturbed. Ask anyone)” still lives in my head rent-free. And while I don’t think that line will ever be matched, Baz’s narration in Any Way The Wind Blows definitely provided plenty of great quotes – including the one about being emo shit, which made me laugh out loud.
I just love hearing the fucked up little thoughts that run through his head.
9. Headmaster Bunce’s own kid brought down a classroom wall with a “yeet”
I love learning about this magic system. It’s really funny to think of kids using internet memes instead of song lyrics as spells, because, yeah, that is how kids speak these days.
Full disrespect to JK Rowling, but fancy latin spells will never be anywhere near as funny as kids running around pointing their wands at things and yelling “YEET!”
10. Cannibalism: sexy?
Did I go into Any Way The Wind Blows expecting monsterfucking? No. But now that I think about it, I’m not sure why it surprised me.
Of course Simon thinks that Baz kissing him with rat blood on his mouth is sexy. Of course Simon thinks it would be sexy if Baz drank his blood. Of course Baz is really into Simon’s wings and tail. What else could I have expected from these two?
I’m going to miss them.