Morrigan Crow is a feisty and determined character. In the first book of the series, Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow, she survived the curse that plagued her early years, leaving her family behind to make the transition to the magical land of Nevermoor. Her patron Jupiter North guided her transition and sheltered her from nefarious characters who threaten her place in the Wundrous Society, ultimately assisting her through the Trials so she can stay in Nevermoor and discover her talents.
In the second book, Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow, she settled into her role as a scholar in the elite Wundrous Society, but will her talent be a blessing or a curse? Will an unexpected enemy spoil her new life? Tests of loyalty and trust are faced and conquered. But greater challenges are ahead of Morrigan and her friends in Unit 919.
In this third book, Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow, Morrigan is guided by well-meaning but inadequate tutors, until eventually she is allowed to explore The Book of Ghostly Hours where she discovers a wealth of information. She attempts to learn the mysterious Wretched Arts of the Accomplished Wundersmith to control the Wunder that threatens her very existence. Ezra Squall is still lingering, an ominous presence in her life.
Morrigan is also concerned about a virulent illness that turns Wunnimals into vicious, destructive unnimals that threaten the community creating confusion, panic and divisiveness among the citizens. Can she solve the mystery of the dangerous Hollowpox and find a cure? What cost is she prepared to pay to save the lives of her friends? Morrigan faces very difficult decisions that test her character and demonstrate her personal development, her growing maturity, and her increasing confidence.
This book is a fast-paced thriller that presents moral dilemmas and raises questions about personal and societal ethics. It is the darkest of the three books and some of the themes explored are scarily prescient: the Hollowpox as a clear parallel to COVID, the power of corruption and prejudice (including fear driving hatred), the need for acceptance of diversity in community and the conundrum of animal rights and human rights.
Jessica Townsend is an Australian author who burst onto the literary scene in 2016. Her first book Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow was the subject of a bidding war between 8 publishers at the Frankfurt Book Fair that year, and the movie rights were sold to Fox soon after. International publisher Hachette was the winning bidder and they quickly inked a three book deal, and her first book was published in 2017, the second book Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow was published in 2018 and now the eagerly awaited third book Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow has been released. Her books are available in 34 countries. Her fan base is enormous and very enthusiastic so there is an immediate audience that do not need to be convinced to buy this third book – they are demanding it!
It is a wonderful success story and quite inspirational for young writers everywhere. It is also a testament to the determination required to achieve literary goals. It had taken her ten years to build the magical worlds, create the characters and write the first book to her satisfaction. During that ten years she mapped out the storyline for nine books in the series and created an encyclopedia of Nevermoor that sets the rules for how the magic works. At the same time, she worked as a copywriter, a content manager and as an editor at Australia Zoo on Crikey! magazine. She also moved between Australia and London, a city that captured her imagination and colours much of the Nevermoor landscape.
And what a rich and magical landscape it is! The first two books have introduced us to a very wide cast of characters, alerted us to the quirks of this amazing world and shown us that both good and evil can manifest within this society, or indeed within a person.
At the time of reading the third book these serious themes did not detract from my enjoyment of the tale or the escapism a good fantasy book creates. Long after finishing it, I was still pondering the parallels and reflecting on my own attitude and beliefs. This is the power of a good book: the impact an imaginary world can have on your real life, the change it might engender, the resolution to try a new way of approaching old problems.
There is no doubt that Nevermoor fans will be pleased with the third installation of Morrigan’s adventures in Nevermoor. It delivers on all dimensions, especially the development of Nevermoor as a backdrop for Morrigan’s adventures. Fans will enjoy the subtle development of Morrigan’s character and ethics, forged in adversity and imperative for her success as a Wundersmith.
I would recommend this series for all fans of Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia, Wizards of Once, Percy Jackson, Artemis Fowl and Keeper of the Lost Cities. Age group 10+
Join us on Facebook on Wednesday 30 Sept at 2pm for an in-depth conversation with Jessica Townsend hosted by children’s author Adrian Beck.