Author // Jessica Townsend
Publication Date // October 2017
Publisher // Lothian Children’s Books (Hachette Australia)
Readership // Middle Grade
Genre // Fantasy
Rating // ✭✭✭✭✭
A breathtaking, enchanting new series by debut Australian author Jessica Townsend, about a cursed girl who escapes death and finds herself in a magical world – but is then tested beyond her wildest imagination.
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.
Welcome to Nevermoor: be prepared to enter a world of wunder!
I’m always wary of books that are claiming to be the ’next Harry Potter,’ but Nevermoor certainly has a similar, magical charm about it. Jessica Townsend has built up a world that resembles what we know, but is just a little bit more, and it’s fantastic.
Morrigan Crow is an eleven year old girl, whose life is about to end – born on an unlucky day she is cursed to die at midnight on Eventide, after a life in which she is blamed for everything from injuries to natural weather phenomenon. With little support from her family, life seems a bit hopeless until she meets Jupiter North, and Morrigan is swept up into a new world that is more than she had ever imagined. It’s not without danger – Morrigan is competing for the right to be admitted to the Wundrous Society, and endures trials that test her strengths and skills. If she fails, she must return to her world and an almost certain fate.
Nevermoor is a delightful book; I love a good portal fantasy, and if I could step through into Nevermoor and explore the sights (especially the Deucalion hotel) I absolutely would.
Morrigan is very likeable, even when she’s doubting herself – her insecurities mirror what many people would feel, but she learns to trust herself, and others, and to see herself as they do. Jupiter North is utterly delightful, and his sense of character leaps off the page so well I could just about hear him speaking aloud as I was reading. Morrigan makes a host of friends in Nevermoor, and I’d love to know more about all of them, especially the near-constant residents and staff of the Deucalion hotel.
There’s enough tension and suspense interspersed between the world building, and there’s so much room for the Nevermore world to be expanded in future books, and I, for one, am really looking forward to what happens next for Morrigan and her new-found friends.
If you’re looking for a magical, middle-grade read, definitely pick up Nevermoor.
5 out of 5 stars!