My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I have a soft spot for middle grade fiction because it’s usually so magical and enthralling (I suppose it has to be to keep the attention of 9-12 year olds!)
As soon as I saw the front cover for Nevermoor I knew I had to read it. Something about that tiny dark haired girl whooshing into adventure surrounded by sparkles and strange objects just called to me. It’s worth mentioning here that the cover hidden underneath the dust jacket is just as beautiful and perfectly encapsulates the feel of the story.
Inevitably, and admittedly quite unfairly, I tend to measure each middle grade book against the impossible measuring stick of Harry Potter. Does the story grip me in the same way? Are the characters as life like and not written in a condescending way? Do I feel part of the magic?
This book at least lends itself to comparison with Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire fairly easily. Although the stories are not similar at all both feature a young child from a fairly rubbish upbringing who have been rescued by a mysterious, magical entity and need to take part in various trials whilst a shadowy villain lurks in the background.
Often, books come up short but in this instance I know that if I had read this as a child it would have been as beloved by me as Harry Potter was. From the instance I was introduced to her I loved Morrigan Crow and her resigned reactions to the way people treated her. I so badly wanted her to find the family and friends she yearned for and loved that even though she was the heroine of this book, still nothing was simple for her.
My absolute favourite character though, was Jupiter North. I loved his eccentricities, his warm heart and humour. He just seems the most perfect guardian to whisk you away on a magical adventure.
At 384 pages Nevermoor is a relatively long book for its genre, but it doesn’t feel like it when you’re reading. The book is split into good length chapters (which will come in handy when I come to read it to my daughter at bedtime when she’s old enough) and the way the narrative is built means the story comes in peaks and troughs. Morrigan prepares for a trial, Morrigan does the trial and some action takes place, Morrigan is back having a rest and preparing for the next trial. It works well, and you get a lovely sense of the life she is building in Nevermoor around the main plot of the book.
The ending of the book perfectly sets you up for the next one in the series. Enough loose ends are tied up to leave you satisfied whilst still leaving you wanting a lot more. I cannot wait to read the next instalment of Morrigan Crow’s adventures.
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