Review Blog

Oct 05 2017

Nevermoor : The trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

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Lothian, 2017. ISBN 9780734418074
(Age: 9+) Highly recommended. Fantasy. Adventure. Sorcery. Good and evil. Mystery. Jessica Townsend's debut novel unveils the mystifying, magical world of Nevermoor filled with 'Wunder', extraordinary larger than life characters and gothic drama. The countdown is on. Cursed child Morrigan Crow, born at midnight on Eventide, is destined to die on her twelfth birthday. Unfortunately, time speeds up and her life is to be cut short a year early. While her distant family, her father Chancellor Crow, her stepmother and grandmother tolerate the child and pay for her misdeeds, Morrigan is resigned to her fate. Fortuitously, she receives two last minute bids for her to study under two different mentors. Mysterious Jupiter North rescues the terrified child and they travel far away to Nevermoor, a magical city protected from the Hunt. North nominates her as a candidate to become a pupil at an elite school for the smartest and most talented students.
Life in Nevermoor is intriguing. Morrigan resides at the amazing Deucalion Hotel with fantastical rooms, including the sensory Smoke Room and an ever-changing bedroom filled with amazing decor. Fenestra the talking Magnificat, is the larger than life housekeeper who provides guidance for the young girl. Morrigan finds friends who help her understand the four challenging trials she has to compete in. From five hundred children, the elders of the Wundrous Society will accept only nine candidates.
The trial of Morrigan Crow compellingly delivers the quintessential fantasy in a beautifully crafted world. In this coming of age story, Morrigan is a survivor who shows determination, courage and resilience, questioning her life, her destiny, and her talents. Townsend builds her layered plot, with poignant and descriptive language, with colourful characters, magical places filled with light and shade and emotional heights and depths. She explores the themes of political unrest, bureaucratic power and the impact of the energy crisis. Transportation takes on a creative twist: Octavia the mechanical spider carries them across the border, and there is dragon-riding in the trials and flying with magical umbrellas. Townsend takes the reader on an exciting journey and leaves us wanting so much more; where to next for Morrigan?
Rhyllis Bignell

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