It was with great excitement that I got my hands on an early copy of the sequel to Jessica Townsend’s stellar debut ‘Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow,’ there was a small tussle between me and my youngest daughter over who would read, ‘Wundersmith,’ first and I’m ashamed to admit I won the battle. We had both fallen head over heels with Morrigan Crow and the world of Nevermoor, in fact it featured in my top nine middle grade reads last year beating some incredible books. Of course with great anticipation comes a risk that the sequel will not live up to your expectations but fear not, I soon found myself once again totally immersed in Nevermoor, as Jessica whisked my away on a thrilling, nail-biting adventure filled with danger and twists at every turn.
Morrigan is the kind of heroine that I adore, flawed, headstrong and downright fierce. A girl who has grown up in the shadows with everyone around her whispering about her curse and not seeing the true person that lies inside. When she arrived in Nevermoor she finally found a place that she could call home, a place where she belonged and could be accepted at last. Sadly despite winning a much coveted place to the Wundrous Society, entry hasn’t delivered all that it has promised and when her class discover that her special power is being a Wundersmith, she is shunned once again. Instead of helping her to embrace her power she is taught that all Wundersmiths are evil and that she will inevitably pose a huge risk to society unless she suppresses her talent. Nevermoor is no longer a place of comfort for Morrigan, society members are going missing, her patron Jupiter is away on a top-secret mission and someone is blackmailing her class threatening to expose her true identity. Feeling lost and alone she becomes vulnerable to the lure of the evillest man who has ever lived, Ezra Squall. Can Morrigan resist his advances or will she succumb to the calling of the Wunder?
Jessica’s creation of Nevermoor is world-building at its very best, there is so much incredible detail which allows the reader to conjure up Morrigan’s world so easily in their imagination. It has a cinematic quality that I find totally enthralling and captivating. I still get a thrill every time Morrigan and Jupiter leap aboard the Brolly Rail platform, umbrellas perfectly synchronised to hook on at the exact moment to be swept away through a maze of rails to their destination. I love how Morrigan’s ‘Decoding Nevermoor,’ class allows the reader to discover more about the unpredictable elements of the city. By personifying Nevermoor, she gives us an indication of how challenging it is for Morrigan to simplify navigate the city and how easy it is for her to be drawn into dark and dangerous places. It really is a wild beast that must be tamed. This is a story that I could talk to you about for hours, it has so many nuances and charms that just delight me in so many ways but I must allow you to discover this world for yourself and I really hope that you do! Intoxicating, magical and utterly brilliant it was everything I hoped it would be and more, a real feast for the imagination.
Thanks to Dom and Orion Books for sending me a copy of this remarkable story. ‘Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow,’ is released on the 30th October and is available to pre-order online or from any good bookshop.