Nevermoor | Jessica Townsend

Nevermoor | Jessica Townsend


‘Fasten your seat belt, Morrigan Crow. And whatever you do, don’t close your eyes.’
‘What happens if I close my eyes?’
‘You miss the fun.’

Nevermore coverMorrigan Crow is cursed. At least that’s what she’s been told her whole life. Broken hips, spoilt marmalade, heart attacks. All supposedly caused by Morrigan. She’s also destined to die on her eleventh birthday. But, as the clock strikes midnight, she’s whisked away by Jupiter North and taken to the secret city of Nevermoor to compete in the trials to enter the Wundrous Society and a chance to finally feel like she belongs.

I really enjoyed this book and I can tell why it won the Waterstones Children’s Book Award this year. It’s a middle grade book that’s compelling, fun and a great page turner. Townsend jumps straight in to the world, throwing new concepts at you every few pages and kickstarting the plot.

Welcome to Nevermoor

Whisked away by the mysterious (and wonderful) Jupiter North on his spider-like contraption, Nevermoor is such an interesting setting for the book. The world is quirky and fun but a little bit dark; like a cross between Roald Dahl, Tim Burton and Harry Potter. Time here is measured in Ages that can last numerous years and the Skyfaced Clock measures the year in four seasons that start and end equally unpredictably from Morningtide to Eventide.

Enter the Hotel Deucalion, where Jupiter brings Morrigan to live. Here the chandeliers grow from the ceiling in extraordinary shapes, the smoking room is literally filled with smoke – scented smoke that is – to suit the mood and your bedroom constantly adjusts itself to suit you better and make you feel at home. The residents range from vampire dwarfs to small children and the patrons may or may not be giant cats (actually, that’s a Magnificat for you).

Morrigan and Jupiter
Jupiter and Morrigan, fanart by veldenmire via tumblr.
The Trials of Morrigan Crow

Morrigan’s rescue from her cursed eleventh birthday and offer to join the Wondrous Society is not so clear-cut: she needs to pass four trials across four seasons, the last of which is based on a talent. The trials are creative and magical – one involves taking a test where the page starts burning if you answer incorrectly – and it’s entertaining trying to guess what each trial will involve and what Morrigan will do. The book leads up to the final talent trial which Morrigan is most worried about – the Wondrous Society only accepts a limited number of children each year and she doesn’t think she has a talent.

The Wundersmith

Along with the trials, there are whispers that the mysterious Wundersmith, an evil man who has been banished from Nevermoor has returned to cause chaos. I think this villain definitely has potential – he’s powerful and charming – though the confrontation with near the end of the book was a little short for my liking.

At almost 400 pages, this is quite a long book and, whilst it throws you right into the middle of the world without too much explanation, the plot is a slow burn. There’s so much going on though it doesn’t drag on. The characters are all colourful from the eccentric hotel-owner Jupiter North to the loyal and wonderful best friend Hawthorne to the prickly Magnificat Fenestra.

I know many books are compared to Harry Potter (and certainly it has influenced so many fantasy books to the point of pastiche) but I have to say: this book is like Harry Potter. It makes me feel the same way that Harry Potter did. It parallels the opening: eleventh birthday, mysterious stranger, sense of belonging and a villain with a personal interest in the main character. But, it has a completely new world and a new set of rules which means it isn’t borrowing anything obvious. I loved the world, I love the quirky details and I think there’s lots of promise to this. I look forward to the next book in the series!

Have you read Nevermoor? What do you think?

6 thoughts on “Nevermoor | Jessica Townsend

  1. Lovely review! This was such a wonderful read and one of the few books that truly deserves the HP comparison. It just gives you that magical feeling 💕

    Liked by 1 person

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