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
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.
To stay in the safety of Nevermoor for good, Morrigan will need to find a way to pass the tests – or she’ll have to leave the city to confront her deadly fate.
I don’t think I’ve read any middle grade books except Harry Potter and I DNFd the first Percy Jackson a long time ago. I never thought I would ever get back to the genre but couldn’t help it because my friends Ana and Dilip were reading it too. And I can say that this was a pleasant surprise – entertaining, charming and lots of fun.
Morrigan’s curse means that she is blamed for every bad thing that happens in the town – from bad weather to a broken hip. Her family is just waiting for Eventide when she will die and they can go back to living happier lives. Everything changes when the quirky Jupiter North arrives to take her away to Nevermoor and asks her to compete in the trials to become a member of the elite Wundrous Society.
Nevermoor is a wonderful place full of fascinating people, all kinds of interesting creatures and riveting technological inventions. Jupiter is the owner of Hotel Deucalion and Morrigan finds a home among the chirpy cast of characters living there which include a vampire dwarf (mind you.. he is very sensitive to being incorrectly called a dwarf vampire), a grumpy sassy talking cat Fenestra and Dame Chanda Kali who is a soprano singer whose voice has a magical hold over birds.
The setting of the book is perfect and very evocative and I enjoyed getting to know everybody. Morrigan is very low on confidence because of her upbringing and it takes her sometime to grow out of it. She starts making friends and finally believes that there are actually people who care about her. Jupiter is a Dumbledore-esque mentor who never gives her straight forward answers but is way more charming and chirpy in personality. Every other character is quite unique in their traits and that’s definitely a highlight of the book. I also liked that the author made Nevermoor ethnically diverse and seeing some very authentic Indian names made me very happy.
Despite the amazing characters, it’s the plot that fell flat for me. I expected so much more from the four trials but Morrigan just happened to skate by through luck and not much effort. Also, nothing much happened between the trials – you could just skim through paragraphs and not miss anything. The ending also felt very simplistic and anti-climactic and the reveal of the evil villain wasn’t very remarkable, though I enjoyed getting to know the truth about Morrigan’s gift.
Don’t go by my review for this book. If you enjoy middle grade or want to try the genre, you should definitely read this book. I think I had too many expectations from this one, especially because everyone is comparing it to Harry Potter. Go into it with an open mind and get ready to have some fun. I’m definitely looking forward to reading the sequel.