Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend
Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend contributed

Epic fantasy stories collide in new series

Debut Australian author Jessica Townsend tells the magically enthralling tale of a cursed girl who barely escapes certain death; only to be subjected to a series of trails that test her beyond her wildest imagination.

11-year-old Morrigan Crow is cursed and unloved. Being born on an unlucky day has doomed her to die at midnight on the next Eventide.

The cursed child trope already has critics comparing the enchanting world of Nevermoor to J.K Rowling's wizarding world. The comparison is completely warranted. I have not read a young adult novel this captivating since Harry Potter.

Predictably Eventide arrives earlier than Morrigan expected and she soon finds herself whisked away by the brilliant, unearthly, and remarkably witty Jupiter as he saves her from black smoke hounds and shadowy hunters. Jupiter reminds me whole-heartedly of Matt Smith's Doctor (The 11th Doctor, Doctor Who) with his eccentric yet compassionate demeanour. Jupiter promises Morrigan he will keep her safe; but only if she trusts him blindly.

As they're escaping Jupiter tells Morrigan "And whatever you do, don't close your eyes."

"What happens if I close my eyes?" Morrigan asks.

"You miss the fun."

When they arrive in Nevermoor Jupiter introduces Morrigan to many odd yet friendly types who soon become her friends. Nevermoor and the secondary characters remind me of Alice in Wonderland.

Jupiter said it best when he described the 'overall mood' of Nevermoor as "optimistic, sleepy, and slightly drunk."

Jupiter selects Morrigan as his companion so she can contend for a place in the city's most prestigious organisation; the Wunderous Society.

For Morrigan to remain in the safety of Nevermoor indefinitely she needs to pass all four trials; competing against hundreds of gifted children.

Jupiter saved Morrigan for a reason. Only she doesn't know why and it isn't likely he's going to just tell her what her gift is.

The all-knowing yet never-telling habits of Jupiter eventually make it difficult for young Morrigan to trust him. She begins looking for answers only to learn she never had to look further than herself.

With a twist ending that leaves readers wondering how they missed what was happening the whole time; this book has something for everyone.