Review: Nevermoor

“Morrigan’s eyes doubled in size. “All I did was wish him luck!”
“Precisely, Miss Crow,” the caseworker said as she handed the list over to Corvus. “You should have known better.”

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend
461 pages
Genre: Children’s literature, fantasy
Published by Little Brown and Company, 2017
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Reviewed by Indiana
Spoiler free

The beginning of this book was one of the best opening scenes I’ve read in a long time.

“The journalists arrived before the coffin did. They gathered at the gate and by dawn they were a crowd. By nine o’clock they were a swarm.”

The tone of this book certainly starts off bleak. Morrigan Crow, the protagonist, was born on the unluckiest day of the year, known as Eventide. She’s blamed for all the towns people’s misfortunes. Because her father is the chancellor, it reflects poorly on him. Needless to say, they don’t get along.

Worst of all, Morrigan is fated to die on her 11th birthday. As the day draws a near, however, something odd happens when she meets Jupiter North. With his brilliant red hair and beard, odd fashion-sense, and air of something jolly and peculiar, he hurries Morrigan away from her home as they’re being chased by shadowy hounds and hunters on horseback.

North, it turns out is a member of the Wundrous Society, a prestigious group of explorers, adventurers, and people of great talent. He has nominated Morrigan to become another member. Yet, in order to have a chance at getting into the society, Morrigan must compete with hundreds of other children who have been nominated as well, some with incredibly special talents and abilities, as well as dedicated coaches.

Morrigan must navigate the challenges and find out why in the world North would pick her, the unluckiest girl, to compete.

Townsend has a knack for world building. I really enjoyed envisioning the fantastical hotel that North owns and Morrigan stays in. There’s a giant talking cat, a smoke room that isn’t for cigars but almost like a sauna but for scents. The rooms change depending on what it senses people want (Morrigan’s changed several times over the course of the book).

I also thought that all the relationships in this book were really well done. North’s relationship with Morrigan developed quite a bit throughout the book and was believable. Morrigan’s friendship with Hawthorne Swift, a fellow competitor, was also well done. He reminds me of one of the Weasley boys from Harry Potter, though his character doesn’t seem derivative.

The only issue I had with this book, and it’s a minor one, was with the pacing in the middle. It takes a bit too long for the reader and for Morrigan to understand what’s going on with her “knack/talent.”

Otherwise, I thought it was a great and fantastical adventure.

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