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2019 - Shortlisted
Morrigan Crow appears briefly to be an almost normal girl with an out-of-the-ordinary problem. Considered a Cursed Child, she is doomed to die at Eventide, at midnight, on the day the story begins. With this intriguing introduction, the reader and Morrigan are whisked away by the insistent and intriguing stranger Jupiter North, though stalked by terrifying shadow hounds. Morrigan is taken into the most mysterious city of Nevermoor, to the fantastic Deucalion Hotel, where to enter the Wundrous Society she must take part in four dangerous trials.
This fast-paced fantasy has immediate appeal with its twists and turns and magical evocations of setting and characters which carry us headlong into a clever story. Townsend’s ability to evoke a scene with immediacy and flair makes it satisfying reading. Described as ‘Potteresque’, Nevermoor has its own integrity and inimitable style. It aligns the reader with a host of characters as we travel with Morrigan through her trials and tribulations. The writer’s febrile imagination provides settings that intrigue and characters with the power to frighten or delight. Touches of Morrigan’s humour against all odds add to the character of a feisty girl who will somehow triumph.