Genre: Fantasy Age Range: MG Star Rating: 4/5 stars Series: Yes - first book
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.
Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.
This is a quirky, pacy read in a stunning world.
I’ve read a handful of MG this year, and I want to keep reading it. It’s so good, but I often feel self-conscious heading into the Children’s section as if I shouldn’t be reading ‘childish’ stuff. Which is stupid – of me and whatever is subconsciously telling me I should be reading ‘grown-up’ books.
No one is ever too old for fun, and MG books are just as well crafted as YA or Adult. I love the sheer magic and fun of books that just go for it, inventing colourful, unusual worlds to loose yourself in.
The world building is amazing, immersing you in a vibrant, slightly off-kilter and completely random world. It’s magical and bizarre, almost bonkers, with trains you ride by holding onto an umbrella and talking cats managing hotels. I love it. There was always something new to discover in every chapter, and the characters just take the madness in stride. The fun pours off the pages, making me giggle more often than not when the vampire dwarf throws extravagant parties or Jupiter debates whether an ostrich is counts as a winged, flying beast.
Having Morrigan as an outsider to this world means we experience the same wait what? feeling at these bizarre happenings, and get a smidge more explanation. However, much of it is left unexplained, leaving it up to us the readers to fill in the blanks. I love that, and the lack of dense info dumping to build the world. The world just is.
The writing has the same quirky tone, full of asides in brackets that give the text a chatty, personal feel. It’s half the reason the book is so engaging. The plot is nothing new (girl has to pass four challenges to become part of a society) but it’s the execution that sets it apart.
Of all the side characters, I love Hawthorn’s unbriddled enthusiasm the most. He just bubbles with energy. Jupiter drips eccentricity, like any good mentor in a world this colourful. The way he holds back information is rightly infuriating but came across as the by-product of a mind flitting about to more interesting matters. The antagonism with Jack was interesting, but I’m not quiet sure why it existed – or why it went after the Christmas duel.
I really want to dive right into the next book, but my TBR is already groaning so I’ll have to make it a treat to motivate me to demolish the books staring down at me.
Read my reviews of other books by Jessica Townsend:
Nevermoor (this series):