Morrigan Crow is cursed. Having been born on Eventide, the unluckiest day for any child to be born, she’s blamed for all local misfortunes, from hailstorms to heart attacks–and, worst of all, the curse means that Morrigan is doomed to die at midnight on her eleventh birthday.
But as Morrigan awaits her fate, a strange and remarkable man named Jupiter North appears. Chased by black-smoke hounds and shadowy hunters on horseback, he whisks her away into the safety of a secret, magical city called Nevermoor.
It’s then that Morrigan discovers Jupiter has chosen her to contend for a place in the city’s most prestigious organization: the Wundrous Society. In order to join, she must compete in four difficult and dangerous trials against hundreds of other children, each boasting an extraordinary talent that sets them apart – an extraordinary talent that Morrigan insists she does not have. To stay in the safety of Nevermoor for good, Morrigan will need to find a way to pass the tests – or she’ll have to leave the city to confront her deadly fate.
TW: Child neglect, bullying, acts of terrorism (mentioned).
“If you are not honest, and determined, and brave, then it doesn’t matter how talented you are.”Jessica Townsend, The Trials of Morrigan Crow
It has been a hot minute since I shared a review, let alone a cute middle-grade. But summer’s coming to the end and it’s ‘BACK TO SCHOOL’ season. I’m sure all your Under 12’s are looking for a little escapism and adventures – and that is exactly what Jessica Townsend has created with this fun, charming middle-grade novel. The first in a series (which grows every year) this book establishes Morrigan Crow as an empathetic, compassionate character, regardless of the hardships brought to her by her family.
Morrigan was born on Eventide eleven years ago and is, therefore, a ‘Cursed Child’. She’s set to die on the next Eventide, her twelfth birthday – but the night arrives and she’s whisked away by a strange man with bright ginger hair and a funny scarf. (This immediately made me think of Skulduggery Pleasant, and whilst these books are very different MGs, I enjoyed it just for the coincidence.) This strange man is Jupiter North; owner of a wonder-filled hotel, adventurer and Wunder Society member – a society that looks to protect Nevermoor from the Wundersmith.
Together, with the help of a collection of colourful characters, they attempt the trials Morrigan needs to complete if she wants to be a member of the Wunder Society.
As I said, this is a fun, charming novel and I’m intrigued to see where it’s going. For those looking for a cheeky children’s book with heart and soul, or just another ‘Magic School’ type read to add to your collection, I’d recommend Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow.