The tests are over; now it’s time to get down to business.
Morrigan Crow returns in this thrilling second installment of the Nevermoor series. Townsend picks up almost immediately where she left off and introduces readers to Morrigan’s fellow scholars in Unit 919, a group of nine students who made it through the trials and tribulations of the first book. Although skin tone is not discussed, the group is implied to be ethnically diverse based on naming convention. Equally diverse are the talents, or “knacks,” of these individuals, ranging from the previously introduced Cadence’s mesmerism to Lambeth's "short-range orac[ular]" powers. This motley group must come together as one while learning all they can as members of the Wundrous Society. Morrigan (who presents white) is also tasked with attempting to control her Wundersmith abilities while learning about the (potentially dubious) history of past Wundersmiths. Townsend’s sophomore endeavor once again fully immerses her readers in a world that intermixes the magic of the Emerald City with Howl’s pithiness, Percy Jackson’s humor, Coraline’s darkness, and perhaps a dash of the depravity of Katniss’ District One. Fantasy fans will not be disappointed. Savvy readers will appreciate how the themes of otherness, group privilege, prejudice, and activism are masterfully interwoven into the overall plot. The only sad spot in an otherwise enjoyable text is the hanging question: How long until Book 3 comes out?
A worthy title that deserves a spot on the fantasy shelves. (Fantasy. 9-12)