I know that almost every single one of us that grew up with Harry Potter, has had very little success recreating that feeling of whimsy and magic in other books or movies. However, I will say that while reading Jessica Townsend’s Trials of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor, #1), I felt that feeling of nostalgia that reminded me of how I felt when I first read Harry Potter. I was completely transported into the Wundrous (little story reference there!) world of Nevermoor.
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.
Jessica Townsend has proceeded to create a world that is every bit as magical and kooky as it is mysterious. I loved getting to experience Nevermoor alongside Morrigan. It is extremely imaginative and gave me Charlie and the Chocolate Factory vibes. And just like in that story, while everything gives you a feeling of wonder, there is also an underlying sense that you’re just one step away from something sinister or dangerous. I really liked that part of the setting, as it kept me on the edge of my seat. The pacing of the story was really well done as well. I was constantly engaged in Morrigan’s adventure and didn’t want to ever put the book down. I’m pretty sure I just zipped through the last 150 pages, as I just had to know what was going to happen next.
Morrigan Crow is such an awesome character. I loved her extremely dry humor and snarky comments. I think her personality played off so well against Jupiter’s kooky disposition. Their chemistry was wonderful and I was consistently laugh aloud at their exchanges. I will say that Morrigan does read a little older than the eleven years that she’s supposed to be. Though I guess you could make the argument that her isolation for so long and only interacting with adults helped mature her a bit. Then you have our wacky side characters such as the eccentric Jupiter North and our residential prankster, Hawthorne Swift.
Honestly, I can’t find any fault with this book. It had me hooked from start to finish and really brought out my imagination. I loved that there were moments that made me laugh out loud while also being interspersed with some darker scenes. I’m also 28 years old and thoroughly enjoyed this book, so I think it’s one of those middle grade stories that can be enjoyed at any age. If you are looking for a fun book that can be read as a family, I definitely think this one is a good place to start!
Final Verdict: 5/5 Stars
Do you enjoy reading middle grade novels? If so, what are some of your favorites? Have you read The Trials of Morrigan Crow? Which character was your favorite?