Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow

I was lucky enough to request and receive a copy of this from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. All views and opinions are my own.

Nevermoor: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

Before we go any further, all you really need to know is: this book is A-MAZING!

But that wouldn’t make for much of a review on its own, would it, so…

This is the third book in the absolutely fantastic Nevermoor series. If you haven’t read books one and two (where have you been?!) stop reading immediately and go and read them now.

I realised on writing this that I reviewed book one before I had my blog, so I’ve posted it here belatedly. And I’m not sure where my Wundersmith review went but let’s blame that on new baby craziness and just know that it was every bit as good, if not better, than book one.

And the same can most definitely be said of Hollowpox.

We rejoin Morrigan in her second year as a member of the Wundrous Society and see her beginning to learn more about the Wretched (or Wundrous) Arts in a most brilliantly devised and captivating way, as she is helped to try and harness, master and diversify her powers as a Wundersmith, whilst simultaneously struggling to keep her Wundersmith status under wraps outside of WunSoc – something which proves increasingly challenging as the story unfolds.

We are introduced to a new, third part of WunSoc, which is every bit as intriguing, magical and atmospheric as we’ve come to expect from Jessica’s settings and we’re introduced to some great new characters and typically WunSoc style secrets too.

But of course, things couldn’t go smoothly for long. And in an eerily prescient way (for the book was written way before this year’s Covid 19 pandemic), we see a deadly ‘virus’ sweeping through the Wunimals of Nevermoor, turning them into Unnimals on the rampage, with no sense of their human sides left and a compulsion to attack.

As the attacks increase, panic spreads. No-one knows where the Hollowpox came from, how it spreads and there’s no cure. With curfews, closures and messages to “Stay Alert” it felt like a mirror for current times in many ways.

After attacking, the Wunimals left ‘hollow’ in a coma-like state but with seemingly nothing left inside, leading to increased debate in Nevermoor about who the victims of the Hollowpox are.

Indeed, it felt all too realistic and equally saddening to see the way in which the disease sees Wunimals blamed, with fellow citizens turning on them and the sparks of prejudice many carried against them already ignited.

There is an absolutely hilarious, but all too true quote about numpties which I will let you discover for yourselves but it summed up perfectly both Nevermoor in this crisis, and our own world too.

With twists, turns, blame and backstabbing, not to mention a race against time to beat the mysterious disease, this is already thrilling, shocking and thought-provoking. But then, of course, comes the return of Ezra Squall.

The last Wundersmith, banished from Nevermoor for his evil acts, he reappears to Morrigan on the Gossamer from the Wintersea Republic with a, deal to be done, and the plot well and truly thickens….

And that ending! Oh my god.

I loved everything about this.

As, ever, the characters are well-fleshed out and considered, and I especially liked how we dug a bit deeper with Squall in this book.

The inhabitants of Hotel Deucalion (including of course the hotel itself, which is one of my favourite ‘characters’ I think) are as fantastical, funny and fiercely loyal as ever.

The story itself is compelling and complex, with heavy doses of humour and gloriously magical moments, as well as messages of equality, kindness, courage and honesty which always run through this series.

And of course, it is breathtakingly imaginative, heart-stoppingly exciting, goose-bumpily (yes that’s a word!) observant. At once a wundrous escape from reality and an astute commentary on it.

Loved it, loved it, loved it. Need book four immediately.

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

So, I thought I’d reviewed this way back when it came out but realised that I hadn’t started my blog them so had only reviewed it online.

Ahead of the imminent release of book three in the series, Hollowpox (my review is here) I thought I’d post my review of book one here too.

I received a reading copy of this in exchange for review and while I knew it was the sort of story I’d enjoy, I just wasn’t prepared for how much I’d love it!

I was utterly hooked, pulled straight into the world of Nevermoor and still stubbornly gripping my umbrella on the Brolly Rail refusing to get off at the end.
It was hailed as the next Harry Potter by pretty much everyone and with good reason. It does draw heavily on what has come before – a purportedly cursed child with a pre-determined fate, a villain hiding in the shadows supposedly banished from Nevermoor with ordinary folk scared to mention him, a heavy dose of magic and friendships forged between a variety of ‘misfit’ type characters.
But, and it is a big BUT as this is where it moves away from the many other magic-adventure-type books written post-Potter: Jessica Townsend’s writing transforms this into so much more than a wannabe-HP: despite it’s obvious similarities, it feels fresh, unique and new.

The imagination that has gone into creating Nevermoor and the thought that has gone into detailing and describing its weird and wonderful features (not least the fantastic Hotel Deucalion, which I would happily handover a month’s pay packet to stay at for a night or two!) is truly wonderful: it is vibrant, bursting with life and sucks you right in.
The characters are charming, funny and believable. Morrigan is a perfect ‘heroine’ – at times insecure, at time courageous, but always loyal – I was relieved that she was also ‘real’ enough to be likeable.

Jupiter is zingy, zany and full of verve, his self-assured, confident manor the perfect balance to Morigan’s self-doubt.

Hawthorne brings humour, daring and warmth as the sort of sidekick anyone would want. And so the list goes on…all the characters bring something else to the story, none seem gratuitous.
The story itself zips along through the darkness of the Hunt of Smoke and Shadows and the elusive Mr Jones; the vivid colour of Nevermoor itself – the Hallowmas and Christmas celebrations in particular; the nerves, tenacity and adventure throughout the Trials (like others the Book Trial made me smile, but it was the witches in the Fright Trial I loved best).

It’s a book you don’t want to reach the end of – I can’t wait for the next instalment!

WWW Wednesday 12/12/18

Hosted by ‘Taking on a World of Words’, every Wednesday is ‘WWW Wednesday’:

What are you currently reading?

Snowglobe by Amy Wilson. I’ve only just started it, but I’m loving her writing style and the magic in the book. Plus, I just love the whole idea of the snowglobes.

What have you just finished reading?

I’ve finally read Wundersmith! Jessica Townsend’s follow up to the brilliant Nevermoor is just as imaginative and ‘wunder’-full (couldn’t resist!) as the first and I’m. Now impatiently waiting for book 3! Full review to follow.

What are you planning on reading next?

I’m stuck! On the one hand I still have a gazillion MG books I really want to read waiting for me to get to them – The Train to Impossible Places, Sky Circus, The Missing Barbegazi and so, so, SO many others.

On the other hand, I have some brilliant YA and adult books clamouring to be read to – Angie Thomas’ new one, On the Come Up, and Marcus Zusak’s Bridge of Clay especially.

And on the other hand again (yeah, three hands. And what of it?!), I keep promising myself a re-read of Harry Potter and what better time than Christmas?!

What do you think – what should I choose? Have you read any of the books here? What are you reading at the moment?

WWW Wednesday 28/11/18

Hosted by ‘Taking on a World of Words’, every Wednesday is ‘WWW Wednesday’:

What are you currently reading?

Wundersmith – finally! I can’t believe how long it’s taken me to read this, especially considering how excited I’ve been about it.

The follow up to last year’s Nevermoor, I’ve been transported straight back there. It’s such an immerdive world, so we’ll written and with such imagination. I’m loving it.

What have you just finished reading?

I was drawn to this because it was illustrated by the fab Emily Gravett, and I have to say the illustrations really made the story come alive for me (excuse the pun) You can read my full review of it here.

What are you planning on reading next?

My plan to read one of these and start Wundersmith last week seemed to go well, so I’ll attempt to read Magical Myths and Legends at some point over the coming week or so as well.

Have you read any of the books here? What are you reading at the moment?