Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend – a great fantasy for all who are young at heart

Hodder & Stoughton, 2018, paperback edition.
Pages: 371. Genres: Children’s fiction / fantasy. Approx. age: 9+
We rate it: (5 / 5)

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“Morrigan Crow is cursed, destined to die on her eleventh birthday.”

From the opening pages of Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow, it would be tricky for any reader not to hope things will get better for Morrigan Crow. Everything is stacked up against her. Morrigan has been branded a cursed child. She is destined to die at the age of 11, and like other cursed children living in the gloomy and rigid territory of Jackalfax, is treated as a scapegoat for all the troubles that befall her community.

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Morrigan Crow’s cursed destiny

Reading on we find out Morrigan’s father must pay reparations for the damage she supposedly causes. She must write a stream of letters of apology to those who have suffered broken hips, bad marmalade and other calamities which are attributed to her very existence.

Morrigan mostly maintains a stoic resilience to the coldness she endures from her family and her community. Occasionally she allows her feelings of frustration and sadness to show. We feel Morrigan’s heartbreak when her father dismisses her education as a waste. She is destined to die on Eventide night. We can only hope things will change for Morrigan and she will find a brighter future…

Sure enough – and just in time as it turns out Eventide is coming early – an opportunity arises. Morrigan takes the opportunity to sign a contract and accept the patronage of Jupiter North. The tall and stylishly dressed member of the Wundrous Society arrives during Morrigan’s final birthday meal on Eventide. Without delay, Morrigan joins Jupiter and escapes the dreary world of Jackalfax into the colourful and magical world of Nevermoor.

Wundrous new home and adventures

Once she has arrived Morrigan settles into her new home, the Hotel Deucalion. Nevermoor and the Deucalion are bright places which contrast with Jackalfax.  Nevermoor author Jessica Townsend has spent time in London and is fascinated by strange pockets of cities and public transport. Scenes set on the Wunderground in Nevermoor reminded us very much of the London Underground.

Morrigan embarks on an exciting journey to learn about her skills and talents. But her position in Nevermoor is precarious. She is threatened with deportation – which doesn’t just mean a dull existence where she is unloved – but likely death for Morrigan. We really feel her terror at the pursuit of the sinister Hunt of Smoke and Shadow. This is one aspect of the book which makes it so gripping. When Morrigan begins to take part in the daunting trials to join the Wundrous Society, the stakes are so high for her. Unlike other children taking part, she knows if she fails she will be sent back to Jackalfax to confront the fate of all cursed children there.

New friends and rivals

Her newfound friend Hawthorne, who has a knack for dragon-riding, joins Morrigan in her trials. She also deals with adversaries Cadence and Noelle. She gets to know an intriguing collection of staff and residents at the Deucalion. These include a huge Magnificat, a singer who charms small creatures, a Vampire dwarf and Jupiter’s off-hand nephew. The trials which Morrigan faces are thrilling and shocking. The lead up to the fright trial was particularly creepy and left me with genuine goose bumps.

Not everything is as it seems in Nevermoor. Morrigan wonders what ability she has that made Jupiter nominate her. She is also curious to know why the assistant of Ezra Squall is taking such an interest in her progress.

My son gave me this book as a mother’s day gift. He read it before I did and enjoyed it immensely. While reading I loved the way the story kept me guessing. So I had to read it as quick as I could to stop my son from revealing spoilers to me!

Could this be a great new book for Harry Potter fans?

Morrigan’s journey from being an unloved child into a magical world has already drawn comparisons with the boy wizard Harry Potter. This is certainly a great book for fans of Harry Potter. But don’t worry, Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow has plenty of original characters, ideas and novel twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. Cursed or not, (you will have to read the book to find out), Morrigan has won our hearts. This is a great book for children and also for any older readers who enjoy magical fantasy and are young at heart.

Look out for the sequel

We are already looking forward to the next installment of Morrigan’s Wundrous adventures. Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow is due out in October 2018 and available for pre-order:

Waterstones – signed edition Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk

What do you think?

Have you read Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow? If not are you tempted to give it a go? Let us know in the comments below. If your child enjoyed this book they may also like to read other recently released fantasy books like this or classic magical fairy tales like this.

 

– Find lots more Wundrous children’s books here at readinginspiration.com –

 

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Angela Stapleford for Readinginspiration.com is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme and the Amazon Associates Programme, affiliate advertising programmes designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com



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Angela

Angela is a mum who has had plenty of experience of worrying about reading! When she is in the mood for serious reading she loves dystopian and speculative fiction including the works of David Mitchell and Margaret Atwood. But secretly Angela enjoys borrowing all her son's books and shares his love for middle grade fiction, especially fantasy. She has a background in education & publishing and believes all children - no matter what holds them back or where their interests lie - can enjoy wonderful story-telling. Angela has created this blog to provide a resource for families to find great books for the whole family - parents included!

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