Thursday, 24 January 2019

Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend is a book I started hearing a lot of good things about right from when review copies first went out to reviewers, some time in 2017. Back then, when I saw how well-received it was, I started kicking myself for not reviewing it when I had the chance. Fast forward to this past Christmas and I bought a copy for my niece, then decided I should also read it and bought another copy. And here we are.

Morrigan Crow is cursed. Having been born on Eventide, the unluckiest day for any child to be born, she's 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 her eleventh birthday.

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 then that Morrigan discovers Jupiter has chosen her to contend for a place in the city's most prestigious organization: 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--an extraordinary talent that Morrigan insists she does not have. 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 a fun book to read. It's a quirky read that I expect will appeal to young (and some older) Harry Potter fans. It's full of all sorts of fantasy tropes, especially children's fantasy tropes, but then so was Harry Potter and that turned out fine. And Harry didn't have a giant cat (a magnificat) for a friend, so in many ways Morrigan is ahead.

Nevermoor is full of magic and adventure and peril, all mostly centred on the fact that Morrigan is cursed. To rescue her from an early death, her benefactor, Jupiter, takes her to Nevermoor and enrols her in the Trials to enter the Wundrous Society. Hundreds of children apply each year and only nine get in, so Morrigan is understandably anxious when she learns that if she doesn't get in she will be deported back to her homeland, where death awaits. The trials are also a bit bonkers, in the quirky and magical way that sets the tone of the whole book.

As I said, this was quite a fun read. Even the episodes of mild peril were enjoyable. I wasn't always in the mood for quirky fantasy while I was reading this book, but when I picked it up anyway (choosing something else to read is too hard), I invariably enjoyed it. I highly recommend this book to young readers and older readers who can see past the existence of a few popular tropes.

4.5 / 5 stars

First published: 2017, Hachette Australia
Series: Yes. Book 1 of 2 (so far?)
Format read: Paper, gasp!
Source: Purchased at Target because it was so cheap (but I bought the copy I gave away at a proper bookshop)

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