Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend is the first book in a fantastical tale about the young Miss Morrigan Crow who, in the beginning, is sentenced to death on her 11th birthday because she was born a cursed child. Thankfully, this does not happen as she is whisked away to another world where she is safe, but she also has to prove her worth in order to stay. Townsend’s figurative language in this story makes for a more interesting and whimsical read. Personification, imagery, simile, and metaphor are found scattered throughout the pages. An example of such personification is when Morrigan is in the midst of cheating death: “Fear had set up camp in her stomach and was having a festival.”
Townsend also masterfully wields precise vocabulary especially after the introduction of the eccentric Jupiter North. Jupiter uses words such as “demonstrably, superbly, brilliantly alive,” when making a point to Morrigan’s father about the fact that she hasn’t died yet even though the whole family acts as if she has. He also says “indelicately baptized,” when referring to Morrigan’s first impression of his arachnipod. These words could also be claimed by the amusing dialogue, more so than vocabulary in itself. Jupiter is a fascinating character with comical quips such as “I could murder a bacon sandwich.”
Most importantly, The Trials of Morrigan Crow is filled with insights both expected and unexpected. Knowing the premise of the book, the insights about fearing death are more or less expected by the reader. However, there are other insights about illegal aliens being in need of help, talent meaning nothing if one is “no honest, and determined, and brave,” and that people leave invisible trails of emotion wherever they go. There’s so much to think about and relate to one’s own life.
I found The Trials of Morrigan Crow very entertaining. I’m surprised I had never heard of it before now. It seems to me to be a mix of several other fantastical stories that I have read, heard or seen before such as Doctor Who, Harry Potter, and Jupiter Ascending. I could see parts of each of these stories shining through this book. I think if I was a middle schooler or even an upper elementary schooler, I would love to have something like this to read. I think even high schoolers would enjoy this story. I’m an adult and I enjoyed it! I might have to go read the next one now.
Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend is the beginning of a whimsical and outlandish tale about a so-called cursed young lady who is whisked away to another world for safety and belonging in the Wundrous Society. Townsend’s use of figurative language, precise vocabulary in dialogue, and both expected and unexpected insights make for an engrossing read. I recommend this book to anyone who is able to read the words as it has wonderful morals in an imaginative world. It would also make a great read-aloud book.
Townsend, J. (2017). Nevermoor: The trials of morrigan crow. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.