Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow launches with a dim, dark start. Poor Morrigan has been labelled as a cursed child. Everything is her fault. Everything. Her family dislike her – such bad luck to have a cursed child.
The apparent bleakness of tone is punctuated by some great touches of humour from Jessica Townsend. Morrigan must spend her days writing notes to apologise to various people for everything from bad marmalade to a freak hail storm. Obviously, it must be Morrigan’s fault.
Tradition states, that Morrigan will die on the eve of her 11th birthday. But, just as her family gather round the dinner table to quietly pretend they care about the fate of Morrigan, she gets whisked away, snatched literally from the jaws of death, by Jupiter.
This is where Morrigan’s journey of self discovery begins.
Townsend creates a wonderfully eccentric character with Jupiter, appearing to be a semblance of the Mad Hatter and Willy Wonka – I would loved to have seen more of him. He is in charge of the fabulous ‘all is not what it seems’ hotel in the middle of Nevermoor – an intriguing, imaginative land that Townsend has conjured. But Morrigan must earn her place in Nevermoor by becoming a member of the Wondurous group – otherwise she must leave, and go back…
What follows is a series of trials – strange, unusual trials test this strong, feisty character. For eleven years she has been told what she is, now Morrigan must discover the truth for herself.
Townsend has created an intriguing, layered magical world. I enjoyed her unusual take on Christmas (red AND green for me BTW). Inevitable comparisons will be made with Harry Potter, they are the books that have shaped many writers. Townsend introduces a fantastical range of eclectic characters – I would love to see more of these in future books, and for Townsend to delve even deeper into the world she has created.
Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow’s fast paced action scenes are a delight to read, and will have many young readers hooked on the fate of Morrigan as she navigates this strange land, with its strange rules and customs.