Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow
by Jessica Townsend
Wunder is gathering in Nevermoor …
Morrigan Crow may have defeated her deadly curse, passed the dangerous trials and joined the mystical Wundrous Society, but her journey into Nevermoor and all its secrets has only just begun. And she is fast learning that not all magic is used for good.
Morrigan Crow has escaped her deadly fate and found a new home in the fantastical city of Nevermoor. She has also discovered that she has a strange and magical ability. But will her unique talent be a blessing or another curse?
Now that Morrigan and her best friend Hawthorne are proud scholars in the elite Wundrous Society, she is sure that she’s found a place to belong at last, but life is far from perfect. Can Morrigan prove that she deserves to be in the Society – or will an unexpected new enemy ruin her new life?
Check out my review of Nevermoor!
I am so in love with this series, and it’s such a lovely feeling.
After working hard to earn her place in the Wundrous Society, Morrigan Crow is finally ready to start school with her eight fellow students, including best friend Hawthorne, and learn everything she can about her new world and her place in it. Unfortunately, neither Morrigan’s classmates (apart from Hawthorne) or her teachers are particularly pleased to learn they have a Wundersmith joining their ranks, and if Morrigan thought joining the Wundrous Society was tough, keeping her place in it will prove even more difficult.
There’s so much about this series that is simply excellent. Just like in Nevermoor, the world in this book is so whimsical and welcoming but it’s the characters and the social commentary Townsend is able to weave around them that really make this series one of the best Middle Grade series out there, and well worth its hype.
Morrigan is allowed to be a child who isn’t magically over the traumas from her youth simply because Jupiter North has whisked her away to Nevermoor. She grew up believing, and being made to believe, that she was the root cause of every bad thing to happen in her town, so when bad things happen in Nevermoor she is immediately anxious that she has somehow caused it and Townsend writes the logic children have so beautifully. As adults we know that Jupiter would soothe Morrigan’s fears if she voiced them, but she’s only eleven-years-old and she still worries that telling someone she believes she’s caused something bad will get her kicked out of Nevermoor and back into her old life, where she was friendless and unwanted.
Jupiter himself is a character I continue to adore and while Morrigan is the (rightful) focus of this series, I hope we learn more and more about him as the series progresses. While Morrigan is learning how it feels to be wanted by the adults around her, Jupiter himself is learning what it means to be a parental figure and I loved that Townsend allowed Morrigan to call him out for not always being there when she needed him, and not making it clear to her who she should go to instead if he’s not around. She does it without vitriol – Jupiter doesn’t disappear from lack of care, but because he has a busy job and he’s still learning how to balance that job with his new role in Morrigan’s life – but it’s so important that she’s able to do it, and that Jupiter accepts that criticism.
Hawthorne continues to be such a lovely best friend; he’s so loud and excitable where Morrigan is calm and logical that the two of them play off each other so well, and it gives me the warm fuzzies knowing Morrigan has at least one friend who will defend her when their other classmates initially mistrust her. I loved getting to see even more of Cadence, though, and her friendship with Morrigan is something I’m looking forward to seeing develop throughout the rest of the series.
This series also has one of the best hero and villain dynamics I’ve seen in any series. Ezra Squall is not a man to be trusted, and yet for the majority of this novel he’s the only person who’s willing to teach Morrigan anything about being a Wundersmith because her school would rather try to avoid disaster by ignoring her knack entirely. Once again, Morrigan is made to feel like she is the cause of terrible events by her very nature, and Townsend does such a wonderful job of exploring how it’s the way Morrigan uses her knack, and not her knack itself, that has the ultimate potential for good or ill.
Parts of this book are dark – much like the first book, Townsend refuses to talk down to her intended audience and I love her for that – but it fits this book, which is brimming with nuance, so well. I love Morrigan and her found family even more than I already did, and I’m so excited to get to know her new teacher, Murgatroyd, in the next book. We only saw Murgatroyd a few times in Wundersmith, but it’s safe to say she’s already my everything.
I loved this book and I love this series and I am desperate for more. If you haven’t given this series a try yet, please do!