All The Books I Can Read

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Review – Nevermore: The Trials Of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

on January 10, 2018

Nevermoor: The Trials Of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor #1)
Jessica Townsend
Lotharian Children’s Books (Hachette AUS)
2017, 448p
Purchased personal copy

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

Morrigan Crow is cursed. Born on an unlucky day, she is blamed for all local misfortunes, from hailstorms to heart attacks – and, worst of all, the curse means that Morrigan is doomed to die at midnight
on Eventide.

But as Morrigan awaits her fate, a strange and remarkable man named Jupiter North appears. Chased by black-smoke hounds and shadowy hunters on horseback, he whisks her away into the safety of a secret, magical city called Nevermoor.

It’s there that Morrigan discovers Jupiter has chosen her to contend for a place in the city’s most prestigious organisation: the Wundrous Society. In order to join, she must compete in four difficult and dangerous trials against hundreds of other children, each boasting an extraordinary talent that sets them apart. Except for Morrigan, who doesn’t seem to have any special talent at all.

To stay in the safety of Nevermoor for good, Morrigan will need to find a way to pass the tests – or she’ll have to leave the city to confront her deadly fate. 

This was so much fun! I’d been hearing so much praise of it from every direction and I bought a copy way back in October not long after it was released. I decided to add it to my summer reading pile because it seemed like just the sort of book for school holidays. Now that I’ve finished it, I’ll be passing it on to my oldest son, who is 9.

There are plenty of comparisons to Harry Potter that I’ve heard about this one. I’m not really the biggest Harry Potter expert (only read the first book) however I see some core similarities. Both Harry and Morrigan are maligned children – in Harry’s case treated hopelessly unfairly by his unwilling guardians and in Morrigan’s she’s claimed to be ‘cursed’ and is blamed for everything that goes wrong in her town, no matter what it is. Her father is counting down the days until Morrigan is due to die on Eventide and how it will benefit him, no longer being the father of the cursed child, especially as he is the town chancellor and no longer has to calculate how the fear of a cursed child will impact on his approval rating.

Instead of dying on Eventide, Morrigan finds herself whisked away by Mr Jupiter North to a place called Nevermoor, saving her from that fate and introducing her to the possibility of another. He wants to be Morrigan’s patron for an organisation called The Wundrous Society containing Nevermoor’s brightest and talented minds. Morrigan has never felt particularly gifted at anything and it takes her some convincing that this is something she should be doing. There are to be a series of trials in order to be accepted – only a handful applicants out of hundreds will be accepted and Morrigan spends most of the time in eternal panic because all applicants have to demonstrate a specific gift or talent in the final trial and as far as she’s aware, she has no gift at all. And Jupiter is annoying vague about it every time she asks him, merely patting her and saying it will all be fine and to trust him.

This is just so highly entertaining. I started it at the local pool one morning while my boys were swimming and was astonished to find I’d read 150p while we were there. I couldn’t put it down. Morrigan is a likable child, you can’t help but feel sorry for her given the life she has had so far. A disinterested at best, hostile at worst father and an entire community who seek to lay the blame for every little mishap at her door whether it be a flood, failing a test or falling ill. Although she believes herself to be cursed (hard for not to, I would imagine it’s probably all she’s ever heard) and had accepted the inevitability of a premature death, Morrigan still has such an endearing personality, a clever mind that is prone to bouts of self-doubt.

Nevermoor is such a quirky setting – Jupiter’s hotel is a living, breathing character all on its own, always changing and evolving. I especially loved the idea of Morrigan’s bedroom and how it evolves throughout the story. And the Wundrous Society gives Morrigan the chance to belong to something for the first time in her life. As Jupiter says, it will give her a family – her fellow candidates who are successful with her will become like brothers and sisters, a bond of which cannot be experienced another way. I think those relationships, closeness with people, a true sense of belonging and family is something that Morrigan desperately wants because she’s never been able to experience it. She’s been cheated out of that experience by a family who believed in a curse accusation and now she has the chance to start her life fresh as someone with worth and value. It’s a strong draw for anyone, that they are special and wanted. Jupiter is the sort of character who pops in and out of the story but he has this unwavering faith in Morrigan even when he won’t tell her any sort of information. For Morrigan that was understandably frustrating but I found it sort of reassuring – much is made of the fact that Jupiter has never been a patron of any candidate before, despite members being obliged to perform this role. So you know that there’s something he knows about Morrigan that everyone else does not.

I figured out what it was before he revealed it, as the author cleverly inserts the clues for the reader at various points in the story and you simply have to put them all together. It’s a fantastic reveal and sets up this story for future volumes. Count me in as being part of the ride!

8/10

Book #4 of 2018

 

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One response to “Review – Nevermore: The Trials Of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

  1. Amazing Review!😊 There is so much love surrounding this book! I’m glad you enjoyed it

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