Title: Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor #3)
Author: Jessica Townsend
Publisher: Lothian/Hachette Australia
Published: 29th September 2020
Synopsis: Strange things are happening in Nevermoor…
Morrigan Crow faces her most dangerous challenge yet in her latest Wundrous adventure. The highly anticipated third book in the award-winning Nevermoor series from one of Australia’s best-selling and most loved authors.
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 of the Accomplished Wundersmith and control the power that threatens to consume her.
But a strange illness has taken hold of Nevermoor, turning its peaceable 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 realises it is up to her to find a cure for the Hollowpox, even if it will put her – and the rest of Nevermoor – in more danger than ever before . . .
Praise for Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow:
Winner Best Children’s Fiction, Aurealis Awards 2017
Winner Dymocks Book of the Year 2018
Winner QBD Children’s Book of the Year 2018
Winner Book of the Year, Australian Book Industry Awards 2018
Winner Book of the Year for Younger Children, Australian Book Industry
Winner The Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year, Australian
Book Industry Awards 2018
Winner Book of the Year, Indie Book Awards 2018
Winner Children’s Category, Indie Book Awards 2018
Winner Nielsen Booksellers’ Choice Award, Australian Booksellers Association Awards 2018
Winner Younger Fiction, Waterstones Children’s Book Prize (UK) 2018
Winner Elementary/Middle Grade Speculative Fiction, Cybils Award 2018
Winner West Australian Young Readers’ Book Award, Younger Readers, 2019
Winner South Australian Premier’s Award 2020
Shortlisted The Readings Children’s Book Prize 2018
A CBCA Notable book
Voted #1 in the Dymocks Kids’ Top 51
We’re back with Mog two and a half years after Jupiter North first spirited her away from the Wintersea Republic and certain cursed child death, and into Nevermoor, where he gave her a home at the shape shifting, magical Hotel Deucalion (seriously, who doesn’t want a bedroom that changes to your needs in that exact moment?), and became her patron so she could join the Wundrous Society. She’s faced the challenges of being accepted into the society, Proudfoot House, 919, finding her knack, and discovering that she is a Wundersmith. She’s also faced off, and thwarted Ezra Squall, the last known Wundersmith. This year, she faces a new challenge: Hollowpox.
The Hollowpox disease begins spreading slowly, infecting the Wunimals, and turning them into unnimals. Nevermoor soon turns into a state of panic, curfews, lockdown and quarantine in an eerie reminder of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, though Jessica wrote the book long before anyone had ever heard of COVID-19. Whilst it might feel timely and reflective of our world, in Hollowpox, Morrigan can sense there is something more sinister than a virus running rampant. Hollowpox, like COVID, is still an invisible enemy, and one with far-reaching consequences and effects. Bubbling beneath the surface of the tension brought about by the Hollowpox epidemic is a sense that Ezra Squall will return – and for nefarious means as he tries to continue to ingratiate himself with Morrigan as she trains to become a Wundersmith and control the powers within her.
With Nevermoor and her beloved Wunimal friends in danger, and good old Fen, the Magnificat along for the ride, irate as ever, but always at hand to defend Mog, Jupiter and everyone at the Hotel Deucalion, this next adventure heads into familiar yet unknown territory on many counts for both the reader and characters, and treads the familiar paths of Nevermoor to the thrilling yet comforting conclusion that will lead us into the next book and beyond.
Ever since meeting Fen, I’ve wanted a cat like her, or at least a cat to call Fen. She’s one of my favourite characters. She’s fabulous, and snarky, loyal and brave. She’d never give up on you. Can we all have a Fen in our lives, please?
I started reading Nevermoor from the beginning and have been hooked ever since. This instalment has been anticipated for over a year, and for me, it didn’t fail to deliver. The world of Nevermoor is exquisite, and carefully planned out, whilst still being filled with the odd surprise that brings the magic out to play in new and intriguing ways. Since then, I have eagerly read and reviewed the subsequent books, and was delighted to receive Hollowpox to review from Hachette.
This book comes at a time when we need a good thing, and a smile. Fen and Mog always make me smile. Whilst it does explore an epidemic of an unknown, invisible viral enemy, it sees the people who want to fight it banding together, and centre friendship, loyalty and home as the comforts and power that get us through life. Morrigan might feel alone at times, like all of us, but 919, Jupiter, Jack, Fen and Hotel Deucalion and some new friends ensure that she knows she’s not alone. She is loved and wanted. In these times, this powerful message sends hope to people isolated in a myriad of physical and social ways. Friendship and love are just as powerful as Wunder in this novel, and indeed, the series.
The comfort in this book also comes from the knowledge that there is likely to be an end to everything going on, though at times, it doesn’t feel like it. And that is what makes the tension and uncertainty work so well. It reflects what so many people are feeling right now, and what we are going through without trying to, without aiming to. It is an organic coincidence that we happened to get this release now, during a pandemic. Jessica also handles her fictional virus sensitively but realistically. The characters know what is going on, they know what could happen, and slowly, it becomes clear, much like our real-world experience. We see Mog and Nevermoor overcome their viral outbreak, and it gives us hope that we too will find a way out of COVID-19. Hollowpox is in contention for my top books of the year and has definitely been one of my favourite reads so far. I still have three months to go to decide on my final, unranked list of favourite reads, so we will see what else is added to this list.
A fun and fabulous read for fans of Nevermoor! Be sure to read them all in order!