Nevermoor – Jessica Townsend – 2017 – MG Fantasy
Not only does Morrigan Crow’s curse mean she’s blamed for all bad luck, she’s also destined to die on her eleventh birthday. She bravely accepts her doom, but in a very surprising twist of fate, before the clock strikes twelve on eventide and the howling shadow wolves arrive, she’s whisked away by a remarkable man called Jupiter North and taken to the secret city of Nevermoor. Morrigan cannot believe her luck when she’s given a once-in-a-lifetime chance to join the Wundrous Society – a place of mystery, magic and protection. Only first she must pass four impossible trials using an exceptional talent (which she doesn’t have). Racing against time, can Morrigan claim her place in this wild, wundrous city before the shadows catch up with her?
When I first heard about Nevermoor on Booktube a lot of people were comparing it with Harry Potter. I think this is probably natural with a well-written children’s fantasy book, but at times I did think there were a few too many similarities. I’m not sure if that’s because I’m such a big Potter fan and I don’t normally read fantasy so I’m not used to the tropes of the genre, but that did start to wear me down a bit.
In comparing this book with Harry Potter though, I felt like the characters were not as believable in Nevermoor. Instead they seemed a bit like caricatures, and I found it hard to relate to them, whereas the Potter characters, especially the golden trio are more like real people.
Despite the flaws with the book, there were definitely aspects I really enjoyed, and in particular I thought the style was really easy to read. I enjoyed the location of Nevermoor too. I’m not a fan of fantasy normally because I find it takes too much energy to get invested in fantastical worlds, but I could really visualise Nevermoor as a city. In particular I loved the setting of the Chase trial, with the targets all round the city.
I also enjoyed the ending of this book – it had a cute feeling mixed with nostalgia for the early Harry Potter books and made me quite excited for the next instalment.
I think this book will definitely appeal to its target audience in particular. The trials were really intriguing to read about, and I think they will keep younger readers on the edge of their seats. I also think the characters were quite fun, in particular I liked Fen the giant cat and I thought Jupiter North was a fun character. I hope Townsend develops the characters in further Morrigan Crow novels to make them more relatable.
I gave this book 3.5/5. If you’re a fan of MG fantasy, I’d definitely recommend this book. I’m looking forward to reading the sequel, and hoping there are a few more og ideas.