Author: Jessica Townsend
Publisher: Hachette Children’s Books Australia
Published: 10 October 2017
Rating: 5 stars
‘A tornado of questions swirled in her head, and all she could do was try to grab them as they flew by.’
I will start by saying that I was given an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own.
Miss Morrigan Crow has known since she was born that she will die on Eventide. Although she is the daughter of the distinguished Chancellor Corvus Crow the people of Jackalfax, her family included, will not mourn her passing. Morrigan is wonderful and whimsical eleven-year-old girl, who is desperate to find family and appreciation, all the while resigned to accept the responsibility for all bad luck that plagues Jackalfax. This is the dark reality of being a cursed child. On the eve of Eventide Morrigan receives an invitation to the Wundrous Society sponsored by a man named Jupiter North. Survival and Nevermoor await her.
Morrigan Crow is a fantastic character. She finds herself as the blame of all kinds of disasters from a burnt batch of jam to a boy losing the spelling bee to the Crow’s gardener’s heart attack. But thanks to Jupiter she finds herself living in a hotel that adapts to its guests’ needs and mingles with a cast of crazy characters. She finds out that for her to stay in this wonderful world she must get into The Wundrous Society and in turn face four trails which aren’t what they seem.
This is why I love middle-grade fantasy. I flew through this. It was so much fun and at times suspenseful. There something about this genre that allows the worlds to be innovative, creative and refreshing. Cursed children, brolly rails, secret societies, giant talking cats, magic trails and my new favourite holiday, Hallowmas. Townsend has mixed the whimsy of worlds like Wonderland and Whoville with the dark humour of Lemony Snicket. The Trials of Morrigan Crow is a wondrous adventure, which will ignite the imagination of any reader.
Townsend hasn’t only created a relatable protagonist and an amazingly creative world; she also created a cast of amazing secondary characters. These characters are all well rounded and aren’t just there as props to support Morrigan. Jupiter North is really the child at the heart of this story. He is a mysterious man who is an explorer, hotel proprietor, member of the Wundrous Society and Morrigan’s Patron and guardian. I adore Morrigan and Jupiter’s friendship, mostly how the roles seem reversed with Morrigan being the reserved and sensible one. Along with Jupiter, we have, Fenestra the talking Magnificat, Jupiter’s broody nephew, Jack, a vampire dwarf, an opera singer whose voice summons woodland critters and Hawthorne, Morrigan friend and fellow competitor in the Wundrous Society trials. I adore all these characters and they have—Hawthorne and Jupiter especially—become some of my all-time favourite characters.
I have a feeling this book is going to create a new generation of readers much like Harry Potter did when I was a kid. Please, pretty please can we have some kind of TV or film adaptation! I need to see Nevermoor in Technicolor! All I can say is it’s going to be a long wait for the squeal and my Wundrous Society Invitation.