Book Review: Hollowpox by Jessica Townsend

Read January 2021

Today I’m reviewing book three of the Nevermoor Series by Jessica Townsend. I love all the books in the series so far, and the third book didn’t disappoint. Morrigan Crow and her friends are back, and Morrigan herself is finally fulfilling her dreams of becoming a fully-fledged Wundersmith.

What is this magical series you ask? The series starts with Morrigan Crow, born a Cursed Child destined to die on her 11th birthday, but swept away at the last second to live in the land of Nevermoor – safe and finding herself chosen to join the magical school called The Wundrous Society. Book three finds Morrigan accepted as a Wundersmith and given the chance to learn more about her powers at the Society.

Synopsis

Morrigan Crow and her friends have survived their first year as proud scholars of the elite Wundrous Society, helped bring down the nefarious Ghastly Market, and proven themselves loyal to Unit 919. Now Morrigan faces a new, exciting challenge: to master the mysterious Wretched Arts, and control the power that threatens to consume her.

But a strange and frightening illness has taken hold of Nevermoor, turning infected Wunimals into mindless, vicious Unnimals on the hunt. As victims of the Hollowpox multiply, panic spreads. And with the city she loves in a state of fear, Morrigan quickly realizes it’s up to her to find a cure for the Hollowpox, even if it will put her – and everyone in Nevermoor – in more danger than she ever imagined.

Book Review

I would say that the first book has always been my favourite, mainly perhaps because it’s an introduction to the magic and wonder that is Nevermoor. Hollowpox in comparison to the other two books doesn’t hold as much wonder and excitement because actually the whole plot is about a horrible virus overtaking the Wunimals – I particularly take my hat off to the writer and publishers for the timing of publication.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t magic and “wunder” though. In fact, I particularly loved the aspect of the Golden Hours. Sections of Time suspended in recurring loops where Morrigan can simply step into time and learn her Wunder Arts. Wouldn’t it be great to record our own best times as a “Golden Hour”? I also loved the Gobleian Library (related to the Bodleian Library perhaps?) where books are alive and monsters can escape from the pages of their leather-bound original homes. Both were indeed highlights in a book that was mostly about the virus incidents and Morrigan learning her craft.

Poor Morrigan though. She wants so desperately to live up to the type of Wundersmith she wants to be – rather than feel that she is in any way related skillswise to Squall. I was a bit put out by the ending of the book, even though it ended up tying up loose ends with the virus – I was uneasy over Morrigan’s decision but accepted it as part of the plot for the next book. I’m more intrigued now by the President of the Wintersea Republic, wondering how she will fit into the plot of the next book. And I sort of wonder about Squall – will he continue as the villain of this tale or is there a deeper side to all of this? Time – and a new book – will tell.

Overall I give the book four stars out of five.


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