Book Review: Nevermoor

No, I am not making a bad pun about Poe’s poem. Now that we have that out of the way, shall we get to the book review?

Morrigan Crow is cursed.(we think) 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. (tough luck kid)

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, (no kidding, they were super freaky) 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. (waggles eyebrows) In order to join, she must compete in four difficult and dangerous trials against hundreds of other children, each with 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 just trust Jupiter knows what he is doing, that tends to be a good idea) or she’ll have to leave the city to confront her deadly fate.

This fast-paced plot (oh really?) and imaginative world (absolutely) has a fresh new take on magic that will appeal to a new generation of readers. (excuse me? I don’t look that young)

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor Series Book 1)

First, can we all take a minute and just enjoy the cover? With all the colorful umbrellas and the giant cat in the back ground. You know, the big cat looking out the window, just wanted to make sure you saw that.

I was introduced to ‘Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow’, by a good friend of mine. She basically told me I should read them and I, being good natured at the moment, said yes. I will never regret that decision.

One of the reasons I am drawn back to fantasy again and again as a reader and as a writer is the sheer amount of possibilities of it. Anything is possible in fantasy, from talking animals to fairies to castles in the sky. I know when I open a book that there is no such thing as giant cats that talk, but while I am within the pages, I believe there is. Even if it is only for those brief moments.

Nevermoor captures the possibilities and wonder of fantasy and brings them to your attention like a child capturing a firefly and showing it to you. In the city of Nevermoor, anything is possible. An alley could take you anywhere, a market could be selling vegetables along side fairy dust, a child can learn to trust again.

Morrigan Crow has been an outcast her entire life, shunned from a society that is terrified of her. She lives a half life, spent writing apology notes for things she never did and waiting for her death to come. Something no child should be thinking about, yet she is faced with it day in and day out. Until Jupiter North, explorer extraordinaire and owner of the Hotel Deucalion whisks her away to the Free State and the city of Nevermoor.

It is hard to say which I liked more, the world of Nevermoor or the characters. Like I said earlier, the world of Nevermoor is a romp into the possibilities of the fantasy genre. Which isn’t to say it was chaotic. The author, Jessica Townsend, did not merely stuff everything possible into the story and say it was fine. There are rules to the world, but those rules are, well, much different from the ones that define ours. While umbrella rails may not make sense here on earth, they make perfect sense in Nevermoor.

Morrigan Crow is a likeable character from the very beginning. She struggles to do what is right even while she is trapped in her old world.Hoping to someday earn the love of a father who barely looks her way. She finds happiness where she can, but is never really happy, for good reason. Then she is taken to Nevermoor. There, in the city of talking animals and twisty streets she finds what she has been looking for her whole life.

I think for me, her happy acceptance of Nevermoor was a welcome change from all the angst of the young adult genre. She did not spend half the novel guilty because of one thing or another, nor did she keep unnecessary secrets from the people who were trying to help her. Sorry but I really can’t stand secrets. Maybe some of you like them, but personally I prefer to keep them at a minimum. In stories and in real life.

Morrigan grows from the little thing scared of anyone glancing at her, to a girl confident in who she is and what she wants out of life. And she gets there because of her friends. Not because she suddenly becomes amazing or talented or powerful. Honestly all that outward stuff does not change much in this book. She is still the same Morrigan, just a little more confident.

I don’t think it is much of a stretch to say that we all need someone who believes in us completely and without reservation. I need it, and Morrigan needed it. When the book begins Morrigan had no one who loved her or believed in her. They all thought she was a burden and a curse. And then along comes Jupiter North. He is the first adult in her life who has complete confidence in her even when, perhaps especially when, she does not have any in herself. He believes she is special, in fact believes it so strongly she begins to hope he is right.Through him she meets the staff at the Hotel, all of whom go out of there way to make her comfortable and happy. And through him she meets her very first and very best friend Hawthorne, a willing accomplice to all of her adventures and comic mishaps. These people stick with her through thick and thin, no matter how odd things get, no matter how bad it looks, they are at her side.

Morrigan’s confidence begins with those people. It will not end there, but it is a pretty good beginning.

Remember the cat from earlier? Well, if you aren’t going to remember anything else from this review, remember the talking giant cat Fenestra. You are missing out on an essential part of life if you have not read her sassy remarks. Somehow, a cat is a housekeeper, and manages to keep the rest of the hotel in line at the same time. If she hates you, you will have moths in your closet and hair balls under your pillow. If she likes you, you can expect to be insulted three times a day (at least).

If you need a laugh, a break from reality, or just like a good book, read Nevermoor. You won’t regret it.

Shaina Merrick

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