By Ian Acheson
Jessica Townsend is a Brisbane girl and if you weren’t aware she is the latest given the moniker “next JK Rowling”. Nevermoor is the first in an eight or nine part series and has been getting big raps since a bidding war took place at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2016. It’s already been sold in multiple languages, hit the New York Times Besteller list in its first week and the movie rights have been optioned, a director and scriptwriters been assigned.
So I decided to see what all the fuss was about. I don’t usually feature non-Christian works on ACW but I thought this was a good one to be an exception. I apologise if this is an issue for anyone reading the blog.
A breathtaking, enchanting new series by debut 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. 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.
Perfect for fans of the Harry Potter series and Neil Gaiman, this fast-paced plot and imaginative world has a fresh new take on magic that will appeal to a new generation of readers.
MY REVIEWThis isn't my typical read and have had little experience with reading middle-grade lit but I loved Nevermoor. It was just so much fun to read. Even though 450 pages I found I couldn't put it down as I wanted to find out the next development in Morrigan's trials.
Morrigan Crow is an 11-year-old girl who has been led to believe that she is cursed and is the cause of many things going wrong around her. She's been born on a special date (think 29 February me thinks) and told that on her next birthday she will die as all children born on that date do. It's soon Eventide and as she prepares to die she is soon whisked away by the strangest man, Jupiter North, who kidnaps her to another world. A world full of surprise and fantasy where magical umbrellas transport you.
Jupiter has apprenticed Morrigan to apply for the Wundrous Society where entry requires passing 4 different trials (hence the book's title). Along the way Morrigan meets various characters including Fen, a Magnificat (a big cat) and Hawthorne who she befriends, he being another entrant in the trials. She stays in Hotel Deucalion that is full of mystery and wonder. I particularly love how her bedroom changes based on her mood.
Throughout this Morrigan wonders what her "knack" is, a prerequisite for the final Show Trial and entry into the Society. She presumes it's her cursed nature. But Jupiter won't tell her requesting she simply trust him as her guardian.
The story moves at a good pace, Morrigan's inquisitiveness gets her in spots of bother, and her friendship with Hawthorn is delightful.
Besides the magic and the fun, there are some good topics explored including we're not all that we appear, evil manifests itself in different ways, some seemingly innocent, others not-so and the notion that we all have a "knack" irrespective of our upbringing or position in life.
I thoroughly enjoyed Morrigan and can't wait to see where Jessica takes her in Book 2.