Monday, 27 May 2019


Wundersmith is the second book in a series, spoilers to the first book will inevitably follow.

Quite recently I finished the audiobook of Nevermoor (see my review). I loved it so much that very soon after when I was tucking earphones into my ears to go out with the dog I found I was listening to the sequel Wundersmith. Very soon after that, I was turning to it when doing the dishes, or the ironing, or when out tending the garden... you get the idea. My listening pace accelerated rapidly throughout the book. Today, I listened to some in the car, and then realised I was very close to the end, only had a few chapters more to go really ... so I listened some more whilst doing more menial household tasks, and then was only two chapters from the end, so I plonked myself on the bed to finish it off. 

Wundersmith tells the story of Morrigan Crow's first year at the Wundrous Society. Morrigan and her eight fellow classmates form Unit 919 of Wunsoc. They are the most junior scholars, split into students of either the Mundane or Arcane Arts. Starting at a new school is full of much excitement, and many details,  how to get there, the buildings, the classes you'll take, and this is all brilliantly set up in Wundersmith. 
Morrigan didn’t like the sound of the Goal-Setting and Achieving Club for Highly Ambitious Youth, which met on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings, and all day Sunday. But she thought she could probably get on board with Introverts Utterly Anonymous, which promised no meetings or gatherings of any sort, ever.
I get that a magical school story will draw comparisons with Harry Potter, but school novels were written well before Harry Potter, and well before Enid Blyton even. Some sections of this book reminded me much more of Roald Dahl's Matilda, but naturally I won't point out why. You'll know if you've read them both. 

Amongst all this action are great themes of friendship, loyalty, treachery, suspicion, doubt and evil. How do you know who to trust really? There are mysterious disappearances and secrets abound. There are once again bigger themes that are so important in the real world - slavery, death, dying and compassion. There are great twists and turns and glimpses of the stories still to come.

And just so many wondrous fantastical elements. Jessica Townsend has an extraordinary imagination.  There are so many delicious, delightful details. It's all so imaginative. I particularly loved the building made of water. The Museum of Stolen Moments. Genius. And the Skeletal Legion- skeletons cobbled together from body parts! Wow. 
The “Skeletal Legion”, they’re also called.’ He rolled his eyes. ‘Proper bogeyman stuff. Supposedly they used to emerge from dark, lonelyplaces where carcasses were plentiful – graveyards, battlefields, you know – spontaneously assembling themselves from the jumbled leftovers of the dead.’
I think Wundersmith has even more plot and action than Nevermoor. I've never been much of a series reader, but maybe Nevermoor will change that? 

Now that I've listened to Wundersmith I'm in a rather unusual position. I'm up to date with a series, and so now I'm waiting with bated breath for the publication of the third book in the Nevermoor series! I think it's coming in October 2019, but there's very few clues about it online at this stage. Bookdepository says it's due October 29. I'll hope that's true for  now.

Once again I listened to the brilliant audiobook narrated by Gemma Whelan. I do hope that she's doing the narration for the whole series, I can't imagine it without her considerable vocal talents. 

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1 comment:

craneclaire said...

Another great review, I got this for christmas but haven't gotten to it yet. I'll link this in the AWW spec fiction round-up on the 6th June