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Morrigan Crow is cursed. Born on an unlucky day, she is 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 Eventide.

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 there that Morrigan discovers Jupiter has chosen her to contend for a place in the city’s most prestigious organisation: 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. Except for Morrigan, who doesn’t seem to have any special talent at all.

Author: Jessica Townsend

Publisher: Hatchette AU

Rating: 5 Stars

Nevermoor took me by surprise. I purchased it on kindle, alongside The Library Book, as my first kindle reads. Books like this are the reason I love Middle-Grade fiction. I don’t often put books on my favourite shelf on Goodreads, but this book now sits proudly next to Vicious, The Book Thief, Harry Potter and The Hobbit on that shelf.

I’m not going to say it’s the next Harry Potter – I bet everyone (me included) is so sick of that phrase. But, I will say this: Nevermoor is the only book that I’ve read that has made me feel even close to that. I’m not quite sure how to describe that. It feels like coming home, that you’re on that that level of adventure with those characters – that are so real you’re right there with them, discovering and feeling exactly what they are.

 The difference between “ripping-off” and being “influenced by”

Nevermoor remains unique, a book that stands on its own merits. But Nevermoor and the Wunderous Society are beautifully influenced by the predecessors (Harry Potter, Artemis Fowl etc etc). In the same fashion that dystopian novels are influenced by 1984. Of course Nevermoor had Harry Potter vibes – it’s a middle-grade fiction about a girl from another (not-as magical) world that is discovering her own identity, friends, and place within this new world. But the story, world and characters are all new – and honestly, it was so refreshing. Comparing Nevermoor to Harry Potter is not an insult in any way. I loved how this book brought back similar feelings!

A band of quirky character

The characters were written in a way that was extremely relatable. Even me – a 25 year old adult – could relate to Morrigan’s inquisitive mind and doubtful nature. But in the end, she had to just embrace the world (after a little push). It really kept me reading, to follow her on her journey – each chapter I was urging her to believe in herself.

Jupiter was perfectly annoying in the way a quirky, semi-helpful adult in a middle-grade book should be. He was there exactly when she needed him most, and that made his presence and advice seem even more precious. Not sure if that’s a good thing or not but sometimes a girl needs to realise she can figure it out herself.  Add a vampire dwarf, a giant cat and an annoying boy with an eye-patch and you’ve got yourself a wonderful merry band of quirky characters. Perfect.

The Story

The world Jessica Townsend built is nothing short of wunderful. Nevermoor opens up as Morrigan discovers more, you discover it all with her. It unfolds more with each chapter and I couldn’t wait to know more. The whole world seemed whimsical so the story perfectly fit – their public transport even uses umbrellas what’s not to love?! The story developed with Morrigan’s trials, even though I was pretty confident of her ability to progress it still held the suspense and shock factor that really brought the story to life. I absolutely loved it.

I’m off to investigate Melbourne Library for the second book as I can’t wait to read the second – Wundersmith!

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