“Wundersmith: The Calling of Morigan Crow” is the sequel to the first book in the “Nevermoor” series, “Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow,” about a young girl who was whisked to Nevermoor just before she had been doomed to die on her 11th birthday. As an illegal immigrant in Nevermoor, the only way she can stay in Nevermoor is to pass rigorous trials to earn a place in the illustrious Wundrous Society — which she does in the first book.
In the second book, Morrigan must deal with the fallout of finding out her “knack” is being a Wundersmith. The only other Wundersmith alive is an evil man who almost destroyed Nevermoor. She begins school as one of a group of nine students who all passed the trials with her. However while the other students get fascinating classes to attend, Morrigan is feared by the elders of the society and made to take one class only. It’s a class on the evils of Wondersmiths. It’s taught by a unnimal — a creature that is both human and animal — and in this case it’s a tortoise who speaks and moves extremely, unbearably slowly. The class is terribly boring, and Morrigan is thrilled when because of the intervention of Jupiter, her mentor and friend, she gets to also take a class on navigating Nevermoor. It’s a class she excels at.
The mystery in this story is that citizens of the Wundrous Society begin to disappear, and no one knows where they are. Because of that, Jupiter is always away on investigations, and often, when Morrigan needs someone to talk to, to share her problems and worries, Jupiter isn’t there. Morrigan does have her best friend, Hawthorne, but there is no adult who is there for her when she needs it during the course of the story, although of course Jupiter is there when he’s urgently needed.
Morrigan must deal with the other eight students, many of whom do not trust her, and some of whom actually fear her. However, the reader finds that her classmates are not necessarily whom they appear to be, and by the end of the story there is much character development for Morrigan and for her classmates. By the end, even the past Wundersmiths are not what they have appeared to be.
The excitement of Morrigan’s life, the exotic doings in the hotel, the nature of life in Nevermoor, continue to charm readers. Townsend’s creativity is boundless and she creates a world that is beautifully described and inhabited by wondrous creatures, indeed.
Perfect for fans of wizardry and fantasy, great for those who love magic, and certainly made for readers who enjoy books about friendship and determination. While this is a middle grade book, it’s enjoyable and would be a great choice for any reader from fourth grade through middle school and beyond.
Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover book provided by Little Brown and Company, the publisher, for review purposes.