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Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by…
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Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow (2017)

by Jessica Townsend

Other authors: James Madsen (Illustrator)

Series: Nevermoor (1)

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Morrigan Crow is cursed. She’s always known it, just as she’s always known that she, like all of the other cursed children born on the last Eventide of the previous Age, will die on the final Eventide of this Age. But, when Eventide arrives, Morrigan is swept away by the charismatic Jupiter North, to be a candidate for entrance into the Wundrous Society. Only nine places are available, so the 500+ candidates must face four trials. There’s one big problem: the fourth trial requires each candidate to display a knack — something good, and interesting, and useful. Morrigan doesn’t have one. Jupiter says he will take care of it, but how can he? And of course, those first three trials won’t exactly be a walk in the park...

I knew I would like this book. Other readers whose opinions I trust recommended it to me. Reviews and summaries and blurbs all appealed to me. I carried it with me on at least two vacations, but never started it. Had it been overhyped? Would it prove a disappointment?

Reader, it did not disappoint. I loved it: the whole mad, creative world of Nevermoor and the Hotel Deucalion in particular, prickly Morrigan and her happy-go-lucky pal Hawthorne, the trials, the plot twists, the hilariously funny lines throw in here and there — oh, just everything! It’s not entirely like Harry Potter, but I would recommend this to readers who enjoy Harry Potter — and I know that’s a dangerous comparison to make. You may have noticed that I don’t make it often.

Also? Jupiter North. He’s infuriating. I think I love him. ( )
  foggidawn | Mar 21, 2019 |
(First of 2?; YA, fantasy)
library book

Morrigan Crow is a cursed child; she is on the Register of Cursed Children because she is due to die on the night of her eleventh birthday, at midnight on Eventide. Of course, as a cursed child, everyone else's misfortunes are her fault, too - like the time Pip didn't win the spelling bee because she wished him good luck - and her family is tired of paying restitution to all the unfortunate people who cross Morrigan's path.

'A local man, Thomas Bratchett, died of a heart attack recently. He was -'

'Our gardener, I know,' Corvus interrupted. 'Terrible shame. The hydrangeas have suffered. Morrigan, what did you do to the old man?'

'Nothing.'

Corvus looked sceptical. 'Nothing? Nothing at all?'

She thought for a moment. 'I told him the flowerbeds looked nice.'

'When?'

'About a year ago.'

Corvus and the caseworker exchanged a look. The woman sighed quietly. 'His family is being extremely generous in the matter. They ask only that you pay his funeral expenses, put his grandchildren through university and make a donation to his favourite charity.'


Townsend's humour shows through here, and I like Morrigan's feisty personality and the letters she writes (but doesn't, of course, send).

Dear Mrs Malouf,
I'm sorry you don't know how to ice-skate properly.
I'm sorry you thought it was a good idea to go ice-skating even though you're a million years old and have brittle bones that could snap in a light breeze.

I'm sorry I broke your hip. I didn't mean to. I hope you are recovering quickly. Please accept my apologies and get well soon.
Yours sincerely,
Miss Morrigan Crow


However, she still goes to Bid Day where hopeful children who are turning eleven go to see if they will be offered a chance to interview for an apprenticeship; but who is going to bother offering even one bid on a child about to die who brings misfortune with her? To everyone's surprise, Morrigan beats the record and is offered four bids!

Jupiter North (who reminds me of a sort of Santa Claus - large and jolly) finds a loophole in Morrigan's curse and whisks her away to the safety of the Free State of Nevermoor in the teeth of the Hunt of Smoke and Shadow which comes for her. There he installs her in his Hotel Deucalion with its wonderful residents like Frank the overly dramatic dwarf vampire

'Only dwarf vampire in Nevermoor, you know' ... 'Not very popular in the dwarf community or the vampire community, sadly, mostly on account of -'

'Vampire dwarf,' Frank corrected him from the other side of the room. 'There is a difference, you know. You might think about getting some sensitivity training if you're going to run a hotel.'

'- mostly on account of his moodiness, I expect. Imagine being too moody for other vampires.'


and enters her in the trials for the Wundrous Society which only takes in nine candidates every year. Morrigan absolutely has to be one of those nine so she can stay in Nevermoor and avoid her fate at the hands of the Hunt. But she doesn't know what her talent is, which she has to demonstrate at the Show Trial to be able to get in. Jupiter assures her she has one ... but somehow seems to keep avoiding telling her what it is.

Fun. Also funny in places. I can see Townsend's Australian roots occasionally; for instance in 'Nunya', the name of the town that Morrigan claims to be from.

4.5 stars ( )
  humouress | Feb 20, 2019 |
I LOVED IT!!! I don't read a lot of Middle Grade, but this one was a treat. There are a lot of comparisons to Harry Potter, which are fair...but it is also its own story. If you are a fan of HP, I think you will love this one as well. I am eagerly awaiting the next book!
  tntbeckyford | Feb 16, 2019 |
Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend is a book I started hearing a lot of good things about right from when review copies first went out to reviewers, some time in 2017. Back then, when I saw how well-received it was, I started kicking myself for not reviewing it when I had the chance. Fast forward to this past Christmas and I bought a copy for my niece, then decided I should also read it and bought another copy. And here we are.

This was a fun book to read. It's a quirky read that I expect will appeal to young (and some older) Harry Potter fans. It's full of all sorts of fantasy tropes, especially children's fantasy tropes, but then so was Harry Potter and that turned out fine. And Harry didn't have a giant cat (a magnificat) for a friend, so in many ways Morrigan is ahead.

Nevermoor is full of magic and adventure and peril, all mostly centred on the fact that Morrigan is cursed. To rescue her from an early death, her benefactor, Jupiter, takes her to Nevermoor and enrols her in the Trials to enter the Wundrous Society. Hundreds of children apply each year and only nine get in, so Morrigan is understandably anxious when she learns that if she doesn't get in she will be deported back to her homeland, where death awaits. The trials are also a bit bonkers, in the quirky and magical way that sets the tone of the whole book.

As I said, this was quite a fun read. Even the episodes of mild peril were enjoyable. I wasn't always in the mood for quirky fantasy while I was reading this book, but when I picked it up anyway (choosing something else to read is too hard), I invariably enjoyed it. I highly recommend this book to young readers and older readers who can see past the existence of a few popular tropes.

4.5 / 5 stars

You can read more of my reviews on my blog. ( )
  Tsana | Jan 24, 2019 |
This supernatural, fantastical adventure is a 2019 Lone Star selection.

Morrigan was born on Eventide, which means that she is as unlucky as you can get. Everything is blamed on her. If someone trips, she is blamed even if she wasn’t in the vicinity. If someone has a heart attack, it’s her fault. She even has to write apology letters. The worst part is that all Eventide children die at midnight on their 11th birthday. Unlike Morrigan, some children can look forward to Bid Day when kids who have finished some of their schooling receive their educational bid. When asked if all kids get a bid, Morrigan is told, “Heavens, no! If everyone were educated, where would servants come from?” As you can see, this society is far from ideal or one in which you would want to live.

Morrigan’s life changes drastically. She is allowed to attend Bid Day with her father. Breaking all records, there are several bids for Morrigan. Everyone is quite angry. She was born on Eventide. Who is rigging the bid? No one would want her! To make matters worse, the year changes earlier than expected and Morrigan will now die tonight. What? Life isn’t fair. Suddenly, Jupiter North, one of the people who bid on Morrigan, shows up as do black-smoke hounds and shadowy hunters on horseback. Her horrible family (don’t get me started) can’t even see what’s going on. Morrigan enters a different world where she must compete in four different trials--that Jupiter doesn’t seem to want to explain. If she passes them, she’ll be admitted into the Wundrous Society. These trials are almost impossible to prepare for and she’s up against stiff competition. There are also secrets--secrets about Morrigan that Jupiter won’t tell her. What’s truly going on?

This novel is cute and is great for people who like fun fantasy. It’s perfectly middle school appropriate. ( )
  acargile | Jan 22, 2019 |
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Jessica Townsendprimary authorall editionscalculated
Madsen, JamesIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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For Sally, first guest of the Hotel Deucalion

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A cursed child destined to die on her eleventh birthday is rescued and whisked away to a secret realm called Nevermoor and given the chance to compete for a place in a prestigious organization called the Wundrous Society.
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