Hollowpox: The Trials of Morrigan Crow. Nevermoor #3 – Jessica Townsend

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Hachette

SEP 29, 2020 | 9780734418241 | RRP $17.99

Huzzah! It has finally arrived! We’ve all been waiting with great impatience but at last the next instalment is here. And what a corker it is! Not only is it gripping and full of new revelations but has most uncanny parallels to our current parlous circumstances.

Morrigan is looking forward to her new studies at Wunsoc and the delicious anticipation of her second Christmas in Nevermoor as well as many other delights but there is a dread development overtaking her adopted home.

As Morrigan is introduced to deeper studies as part of her Wondersmith training by virtue of insights into long-gone but carefully preserved lessons, a bizarre and deadly illness is infecting Nevermoor’s Wunimals. Normally peaceable and productive members of society, the affected Wunimals are becoming wild and vicious unnimals attacking without reason anything and anyone in their path and eventually succumbing into a sort of ‘hollow’ torpor losing all traces of their unique ‘wunimal-ness’.

As the mystery virus takes hold with more and more Wunimals becoming infected and causing grievous bodily harm and even deaths, the residents of Nevermoor become violently divided in their reactions. Some vociferous in their protests that the Wunimals one and all are a menace to society, some in complete denial that the illness exists while others work as hard as possible to find a cure and save all lives – sound familiar?

Morrigan begins to see that it is going to be up to her to find a cure for the Hollowpox but doesn’t quite bargain on her arch-enemy Ezra, the disgraced and feared Wondersmith, being the one who will lead her to it – though by very convoluted and mysterious ways.

As the young Wondersmith grows in her mastery of the Wretched Arts she is able to see more, do more, achieve more and manipulate the world around her more and while she still faces dire challenges and dangers, as she weaves her wundrous way through each new obstacle until she attains success, she is able to attain success, despite all odds.

This is not simply a new adventure filled with thrilling and and tense episodes but a very revealing insight into human nature and an ‘en pointe’ comparison to much of the disparate, and often extreme, responses we have all witnessed in recent times.

Fans, young and old, will relish this latest in the lives and events of Nevermoor and Morrigan and, like me, will be unable to put it down until they are done. And immediately, we will all be waiting with bated breath until we are able to re-visit Nevermoor, Morrigan, Jupiter and Fen – along with all the other marvellous and rich characters we have all grown to love so much.

Naturally it needs no recommendation – most of those I know have had their copy on pre-order forever!!

Wundersmith : The Calling of Morrigan Crow : Nevermoor 2– Jessica Townsend

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9780734418227

Hachette

OCT 30, 2018 | 9780734418227 | RRP $16.99

Imprint: Lothian Books

Morrigan is back! The eagerly anticipated second instalment of Nevermoor is no disappointment and the many readers who are bursting at the seams waiting to get their hands on a copy will be delighted.

Now that Morrigan has passed her trials she becomes part of Unit 919 with her fellow successful candidates and is admitted to WunSoc as a scholar. However, her personal troubles and doubts are far from removed as her unit for the most part are wary, if not hostile, about her Wundersmith status as are the very Elders who are in charge of the youngsters’ education.

Barred from participating in the fullest range of classes by the suspicious and stern Scholar Mistress, Morrigan’s misery deepens especially as Jupiter is so often away and she has no one in whom to confide, aside from her friend Hawthorne.

Things go from bad to worse when Unit 919 begins to receive blackmailing notes and everyone blames Morrigan as the target, Mog is bullied by some very nasty scholars and discovers a rather disturbing secret power, and Wuns are disappearing without a trace. Mog’s frustration and unhappiness are unwittingly the conduit for the dreaded and exiled Ezra Squall to manipulate her gathering Wunder. Will she be able to resist the temptation to accept help from unwanted and dangerous sources?

When Morrigan is finally able to attend at least one other class besides the dreaded `History of Heinous Wundrous Acts’ with Professor Onstald she is thrilled to be part of the ‘Decoding Nevermoor’ class with the rest of her unit and certainly their tutor Henry Mildmay is a vast improvement on the dreary Onstald. Mog’s connection with Nevermoor as a living organism is both intense and personal despite not having grown up in the city and she excels in the class, thriving on Mildmay’s praise.

But Nevermoor is not always the brilliant and exciting city that Morrigan has grown to love. It also hides dark and dangerous places, people and secrets – like the Ghastly Market and the Museum of Stolen Moments and Morrigan has to learn not only to navigate around the city but to resist and defeat the perpetrators of such evil as well as learning to summon and control her Wunder.

Despite her troubles and doubts about her place in the Society and the resistance she faces from others, Morrigan rises to the challenges with the support of her friends and proves herself equal if not more to the honour of being part of the Wundrous Society and at last a valued member of her Unit.

If anything I loved this more than the first as there is so much within the plot that is fresh and original. The characters continue to develop and grow along with new important secondary cast members strongly introduced. Significant themes carry over from the first volume especially self-belief, integrity, loyalty and compassion.

I really don’t need to endorse this one because the series has already garnered so many followers but I do thoroughly recommend it and I have many readers, young and old, who are literally gasping until they get their copy.

Find some great resources here.

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow– Jessica Townsend

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nevermoor

Hachette

October 2017

9780734418074 | RRP $16.99

When you receive a proof copy of an upcoming debut novel about which the publisher says stuff like ‘sold by eight-way auction’ and ‘film rights pre-empted’ you can assume it’s going to be a cracker.

And it is that indeed. Written by Jessica Townsend (Sunshine Coast! Yay!) this is going to be a phenomenon and garner readers from young to old.

Morrigan is a cursed child. These children have been born on the Eventide of a new age and their curse is to die on the next Eventide of a new age.  For all her almost-eleven years Morrigan has lived with the cruel rejection of everyone around her including her family. But things are about to change for her in the most spectacular way. Finding herself at Bid Day where children who have completed prep school are sought after by education bidders, to be trained up in whatever calling, Morrigan is startled to receive bids of her own. Who on earth would bid on a cursed child?

Before this puzzle can progress further, Eventide is upon her and so is one of the bidders.  The flamboyant and charismatic Jupiter North appears at her home and after much debate with her family, whisks her away in the nick of time as they are chased by the Hunt of Dark and Shadow pursuing Morrigan, in expectation of her death.  Jupiter’s rescue takes Morrigan to Nevermoor where she is, for the first time in her life, made to feel welcome by many (but not all) and that she could have a purpose.

She is set to work to pass the trials required to become a member of the Wunder Society and this is a fraught experience for her in many ways, but always with the support of new friends.  Not all is well though. The mysterious Mr Jones (another of her initial bidders) keeps appearing at random, other trial contenders are contemptuous of her lack of skill and a nasty law enforcement agent is determined to oust her on grounds of being an illegal immigrant.

This is filled with humour, charm, love, despair, spookiness and good fun. Although it took me a week to get through it that was only because I was so tired each night I only managed a few chapters at a time. In holiday time it would have been consumed in one go.

 I have already been promoting it to my readers from around ten years up and even my big girls in Book Club are keen to get their hands on it.

Be warned – this is going to be a ‘must have’ and you would do well to make sure it’s on your shopping list.

Highly recommended for all readers from middle primary upwards!

A Case of Grave Danger: The Violet Veil Mysteries #1 – Sophie Cleverly

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Harper Collins Australia

Published: 3rd February 2021
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Country of Publication: GB

ISBN: 9780008297350
ISBN-10: 0008297355

RRP: $16.99

Sophie Cleverly’s Scarlet and Ivy series is one of the most popular in my library, particularly with our Year 7 and 8 girls and they are already madly excited to hear about this new series, and counting down until they can pounce on it after the holidays.

Deliciously Gothic, spooky and full of memorable characters, this will delight all your lovers of mysteries. Violet Veil is the feisty daughter of a respected undertaker and she longs to take on more responsibility for her father’s business, particularly as she has a real (and mysterious) affinity with the dearly departed in the cemetery which backs onto their cosy home. Like many Victorian fathers however, Edgar Veil, is horrified at the thought of his daughter working for her living, let alone working in the business of taking care of the dead – though actually Violet already does so much to help.

When a young man is presented, having been struck down by a blow to the head as have been several others before him, Violet is quite sad about his youthful demise. However, her sorrow soon turns to shock when, in the middle of the night, she discovers that the young corpse is no longer in his coffin! Violet finds Oliver wandering, dazed and definitely not well, in the graveyard and so begins a mystery-adventure like no other.

The police begin to investigate the spate of fatal coshings, Violet’s father is locked up on suspicion of the murders and Violet abandons all pretense of being a demure young lady as she rallies to free her father, whom she knows has been framed, and to uncover Oliver’s attacker. Their strongest suspect is the Black Widow, a woman with a scarred face heavily veiled, who keeps appearing in the graveyard and, it would seem, responsible for the accusations against Mr Veil.

This is simply a ripping yarn and readers will thoroughly enjoy Violet’s determination to uncover the truth and restore justice – she is definitely a Mighty Girl! The charming little illustrations that head up each chapter have been done by Hannah Peck, who also illustrates the Nevermoor series and are a truly a tiny joy in themselves.

Highly recommended for your astute readers from around 9 years upwards.