I have been excited about many books over the years, but nothing has come close to the thrill of getting the next book in the Harry Potter series – until now.
Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow is the third book in the fantastic MG series Nevermoor, by Jessica Townsend. The story takes place in the whimsical (if dangerous) world of the Wintersea Republic and the Free State of Nevermoor itself. We follow the adventures of young Morrigan Crow, former Cursed Child and now a member of the Wundrous Society. I’ll do my best to keep from sharing any spoilers, but certain details here may spoil bits of Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow if you haven’t read it already.
Now 13, Mog is getting into the swing of things – the Wundrous Society is letting her study the Wundrous Arts, Unit 919 has one another’s backs, and the Hotel Deucalion is outdoing itself with the decor. But, as always in Nevermoor, trouble is brewing beneath the surface of peace. This time it takes the shape of an illness that is sweeping the Wunimal population.
Just as with Townsend’s previous books, Hollowpox swept me up and caught me in a net of Wunder, anticipation, and amazement. Townsend’s imagination is apparently boundless. Every detail, every element of her world is Wundrous – from the deliciously dangerous Gobleian Library (which I am dying to visit – just call me Junior Bookfighter #1) to the lumpy beauty of the Gossamer-Spun Garden.
Beyond the joy of slipping into the world of Nevermoor, one of my favorite aspects of Townsend’s writing is her ability to create characters who slide off the page and into the real world. Morrigan is at times timid, at times powerful, and always hungry for both affection and learning. She reminds me of myself at that age – sometimes so sure of myself I had no problem speaking my mind, sometimes certain I would never measure up. And all of Townsend’s characters are like that – each of them vibrant, each of them so real I feel like they’re not just Mog’s friends but mine as well.
Though Townsend wrote Hollowpox long before the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic, it still serves as a timely commentary on the ways in which governments the world over have dealt with the outbreak. I often wonder how children experiencing lockdown, isolation, and the shutting of businesses and events will look back on these times. I think that Hollowpox will serve as both a mirror and a guide – Nevermoor’s authorities frequently make bad choices in their response to the illness, and Morrigan is at times isolated because of it. Despite that, Hollowpox shows how hope and community can still triumph in an atmosphere of fear.
Community is the key. One of the questions Morrigan has been asking herself since the beginning of the series is how to define such a thing – what it means to have a family, what it feels like to belong. I think that Hollowpox presents a lovely answer to that question, but I’m sure it’s a theme Townsend will continue to explore as the series progresses.
Just like when I first read Nevermoor, the minute I closed the book on the final page of Hollowpox, I wanted to start from the beginning and experience the Wunder all over again.
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher, Little, Brown, and Company, for review.