Monday, 19 February 2018

BOOK REVIEW: Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow - Jessica Townsend

Book: Nevermoor - The Trials of Morrigan Crow
Author: Jessica Townsend
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Synopsis: Morrigan Crow, a cursed girl who escapes death and finds herself in a magical world - but is then tested beyond her wildest imagination

I was kindly gifted this book at a publishing event I attended last year at Hachette Publishing Group in London. I’d seen them promoting the book on their twitter as it was one of their newest releases around the time, being hailed as the next Harry Potter. Now that is a massive statement to make, and I know that the Harry Potter series means so much to so many people, so obviously I was intrigued!

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow is the story of Morrigan Crow, a child who happened to be born on Eventide which, in the world she lives in, means that she is cured and destined to die on her 12th birthday. However, things take a turn for the worse on her 11th birthday, and the next Eventide starts a year early. Having accepted her fate, Morrigan believes she is to die, until a strange man named Jupiter North turns up and whisks her away to a magical world she had no idea existed.

After being taken to Nevermoor and escaping her death, Morrigan finds out about the Wunder Society, a group who only let in people who have a little something more than the average person, a special talent that sets them apart from the rest. Each year they hold trials to induct new members to their society, and that is why Morrigan Crow is brought to Nevermoor.

All the characters in this book are fun, lovable and encompass the innocence of childhood (even the adults!). Morrigan comes from a family the embody their last name. The Crow family have black hair, pale skin, and always wear black clothes. This is also somewhat reflected in Morrigan’s personality, but not in a bad way. Her dad believes she is cursed so wants nothing to do with her, spending most of his days dealing with the supposed problems that Morrigan creates by being cursed. Once she enters Nevermoor, all of that is behind her! She still has doubts that she is cursed, but for the most part, she takes everything that she encounters in her stride, accepting everything and everyone, even a giant talking cat.

Morrigan can come across as being a bit passive sometimes throughout the book. In her old life she was always told what she could or couldn’t do, and in her new life she is in a completely new world where she doesn’t know anyone or their customs. She’s learning about Nevermoor and the Wunder Society all throughout the book, so she just lets Jupiter and Hawthorne tell her the facts and lets them decide the best things to do.

I think Jupiter is my favourite character. Despite being an adult, he is such a lovable character! He’s silly, quick-witted and eccentric, and basically one of the kids. He does have moments towards the end of the book when things start to heat up that he shows his serious side, but 99.9% of the time he is just a big kid, always getting in trouble, bending the rules and finding loopholes to get him out of his shenanigans. You can tell that he truly cares for Morrigan, wanting the best for her and trying to give her a better life than the one she had with her real family. It was heart-warming to see him take her under his wing and give her the family that she never had.

The interactions between the characters is kid logic at its finest. Both Hawthorne, Jack, and even Jupiter say stuff to Morrigan and answer her questions with bizarre answers, but as if they are the most obvious thing in the world, forgetting that she didn’t have a normal childhood due to her ‘curse’ and the fact that she grew up in the different realm and not with the magic of Nevermoor surrounding her.

The whole world of Nevermoor was brilliantly developed. You discover it’s many secrets just as Morrigan does and I think that adds to the magic. Nevermoor is magical, whimsical and original. I’ve not read a world like it! If a map had been included in the book, that would have helped a little to establish where the different locations mentioned are in relation to each other, but nether-the-less, it was a fantastic world. The magical hotel and the brolly rail were two of my favourite aspects. Who wouldn’t want to stay in a hotel that adapts your room to your personality?!

I can defiantly see the comparisons between Nevermoor and the Harry Potter series. They are connected by the tropes most often found in fantasy and adventure novels. They both have a ‘chosen one’ who is not from that world and had a horrible upbringing, an evil force who has been quiet for years, but all of a sudden is back and after the chosen one, and a magical world full of fun and adventure. But apart from that, they are both different. If you enjoy the Harry Potter series, then you will enjoy this.

The trials mentioned in the title of the book are what Morrigan has to go through in order to get a place in the Wunder Society. The whole book builds up to the last trial, which is basically a talent show, except Morrigan doesn’t know what her talent is, Jupiter promises that he will sort it though. The last trial was the only thing that I found a bit disappointing with this book, however, I can kind of understand why the author chose to write it this way from the explanation given in the book.

This is the first book in a new series and I’m looking forward to the next one to be released! I want to find out more about Wunder and the magical qualities it holds, discover more of Nevermoor and follow these characters as they move forward after the end events of this book.

It made me suspend my belief and made it all seem real and normal which is what a good magical book is supposed to do!

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