Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow (2018) – Jessica Townsend

Title: Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow
Author: Jessica Townsend
Date published: 2018
Publishers: Hachette/Orion Publishing/Hodder & Stoughton
Star Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Now normally I would not be interested in reviewing a book on here that was essentially a sequel or the continuation of a series without having reviewed the previous books first. I am however going to make an exception because I think it would be in everyone’s interest if they dove into this series as quickly as possible simply because it is pure magic, and our world would be very dull if it weren’t for magic.

The first book, Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow (2017) introduces us to our heroine, Morrigan, whose whole life was spent believing she was cursed, and would die on her eleventh birthday. Of course Morrigan doesn’t die but she does meet the strange and wonderful Jupiter North who is convinced she is a very special little girl and helps her join the prestigious Wunderous Society. First though she must, along with other hopefuls, participate in a series of trials that will determine whether she does indeed belong among those with outstanding talents. Morrigan’s only problem is that she has no idea what her talent is, but Jupiter North is convinced Morrigan is very special indeed.

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In the first book Morrigan moves into the fantastically outrageous Hotel Deucalion where everything and everyone is magical on some level. It is here that she finds her home, and her new family. It will eventually be revealed that Morrigan’s talent all along is that she is a ‘Wundersmith’ – someone who can manipulate the magical force called Wunder that surrounds Nevermoor and beyond. She will also come into contact with the evil Ezra Squall, a known Wundersmith who is clearly not using his powers for good.

In Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow, our heroine is starting her first year as a student of Wunsoc, the academy for students of the Wunderous Society. Morrigan is excited to start all her magical classes, meet her teachers and become close with Unit 919, the select group of students who participated in the trials and were chosen alongside Morrigan to attend the academy this particular year. Each of the students in her unit have a completely unique ‘knack’ (or magical ability), and according to their knack will be placed in either the School of Mundane Arts or the School of Arcane Arts. Despite all these exciting new changes Morrigan will be disappointed upon the day she arrives at Wunsoc via the Wunderground, the magical Underground. First of all none of her unit are aware of her so-called talent, which is feared and reviled all over Nevermoor, and secondly she is placed in the School of Mundane Arts with hardly any interesting classes – which begs the question: what is so mundane about a Wundersmith? Nothing, that’s what, and after her knack is accidentally revealed to the rest of her unit and they are forced to keep it a secret life becomes a lot more difficult for Morrigan whose only friend it seems is the eternally optimistic Hawthorne Swift, the dragonrider.

Apart from the page-turning magical descriptions of Nevermoor and Wunsoc, Wundersmith is gloriously filled with an array of new characters such as Miss Cheery, Unit 919’s Hometrain conductor, Cadence Blackburn, the Mesmerist whom we first met briefly in Nevermoor , the Head Mistresses Dearborn and Murgatroyd whose combined presence leaves the students of Wunsoc in a perpetual state of fear and uncertainty, and Morrigan’s favourite teacher, the enthusiastic Henry Mildmay who will teach the unit more about the city of Nevermoor than they ever dreamed possible.

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In the midst of the business of being students Morrigan and her entire unit are also forced to come face to face with other aspects of the Wunderous life such as whispering that the infamous Ghostly Market has started up again, the excitement of attending the annual Nevermoor Bazaar and all whilst rumors of people and Wunimals disappearing is becoming more and more common. When the disappearances become close to home Morrigan is forced to break free of Jupiter and the Headmistresses’ rules of staying out of trouble, and staying out of sight.

I honestly never thought that I would love a series as much as I love J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series which (if you’ve had your head under a rock for the last twenty plus years) also involves children with magical abilities who attend a school that teaches magic. I would be remiss if I did not mention the ample similarities between the two literary worlds, BUT it is also within my power to state my own opinion and my opinion is such: there is more than enough space in the world for magical worlds created by writers, and read by children and adults the world over that bring enormous amounts of happiness and delight to a planet that sorely needs it. Jessica Townsend’s follow up to Nevermoor earns 5 stars because she brought that wonder and delight back into my world and for that I will be eternally grateful.

  • Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow is expected to be released in February 2020.

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