Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow
By Jessica Townsend
Morrigan Crow has the dubious distinction of being a Cursed Child (no, not the same one from the play.) When a child is born on Eventide, they are said to be cursed, and are doomed to die on their eleventh birthday. Everything bad that happens, be it a lost spelling bee or a spoiled batch of marmalade, is blamed on the local cursed child. Morrigan’s father, a government official, sits down periodically with her and another official to go over all the events that Morrigan is blamed for, determine which ones need monetary reimbursement and which need apology notes from Morrigan herself. People are afraid of her, because of what they believe she can do to them. Her life, to be honest, is miserable.
But fate has something other than death in store for Morrigan on her birthday. That something comes in the form of Jupiter North (which is a fantastic name!) Jupiter is an eccentric realm-traveller, and he arrives on a giant mechanical spider thing that kind of reminds me of Wild Wild West to steal her away from her death. Their destination is Nevermoor.
Morrigan is completely out of her element. People aren’t afraid of her here, and Jupiter insists that she’s not even cursed! She is allowed to have friends and fun, and no one expects disaster to follow her every footstep! But in order to stay in this wonderful place, Morrigan has to fight for the chance to enter into the very elite Wundrous Society. Hundreds of students aim for only nine spots, and not just ordinary students. All students trying to get in the Society have a knack, a special talent. But Morrigan doesn’t appear to have one…
Author Jessica Townsend has built a large, new world full of magic and mysteries that some compare to Harry Potter. There are rules (I assume?), but we don’t know them. There are so many different knacks, each with their own rules that are never really explained to us. How do they work, and where do they come from? It’s never really explained, at least not in the first few books. With each new character and creature we get to see just a little bit more of the universe that this story takes place in. It’s not all fun and games, however. There is darkness present, and as the series goes on, we see more and more of that too. (Further on, we get more of the darkest creature of all – politics!) The story becomes more complicated and less black and white than is comfortable. It’s easy to hate an enemy when they are a concept. But a person? That sometimes starts to get a little harder.
I originally picked this up because another book I read listed this as inspiration. So glad I followed that lead!
This is the first book of a series that is currently up to the third book, with the next expected in October 2022. The series was on the New York Times best seller list for a week!
(This fulfills the 2021 CBR 13 Bingo square of “Gateway.” I’ve managed to get most of my coworkers hooked on the series, so check it out!)