“Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow” by Jessica Townsend

There are so many delightful moments in this book, and that’s what kept my interest and kept me reading. What next silly, entertaining thing will I read next, I wondered. With all that went on in 2020, this was just what I needed toward the end of the year — something light-hearted. Of course, there were some serious moments in the book since the story touches on something similar to what everyone in the world is currently struggling with — a pandemic.


MG Fantasy


Nevermoor, book 3


September 2020

Goodreads summary

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.

Meanwhile, a strange and frightening illness has taken hold of Nevermoor, turning infected Wunimals into mindless, vicious Unnimals on the hunt. As victims of the Hollowpox multiply, panic spreads. There are whispers – growing louder every day – that this catastrophe can only be the work of the Wundersmith, Ezra Squall.

But inside the walls of Wunsoc, everyone knows there is a new Wundersmith – one who’s much closer to home. With Nevermoor in a state of fear and the truth about Morrigan threatening to get out, the city she loves becomes the most perilous place in the world. Morrigan must try to find a cure for the Hollowpox, but it will put her – and everyone in Nevermoor – in more danger than she could have imagined. (Goodreads)

My thoughts

In Hollowpox, a virus is spreading but, curiously, it only affects the Wunimals — “sentient, self-aware creatures who were capable of human language and fully assimilated to human society.” The Wunimals become violent before reverting to being an unnimal (basically an animal). This is a prickly issue since there are some folks in Nevermoor who believe Wunimals should not be accepted in their society. Also, the virus is difficult to track. WunSoc members are unable to tell how the virus spreads or how to stop or cure it. The uncertainty, lack of knowledge, and increasing infections causing both humans and Wunimals to protest and clash in the streets and for the government to institute curfews, which causes some businesses to close and some folks to lose their livelihood.

Although this was the central plot of Hollowpox, it’s not what kept me interested. Sometimes it lost me as the story focuses on other things that interested me more — although, it could also be that since I was living through something similar in my daily life, I shied away from focusing on a similar issue in a story that I just wanted to escape into. But despite that, I like how this spreading virus is used to reflect issues our society have faced and is continuing to battle, especially now that corona is running rampant around the world and governments are scrambling to manage it. I believe kids will definitely pick up on the similarities between what’s happening in this story and what’s currently occurring in the real world.

Well, what really kept my interest was learning how amazing Nevermoor and the people and entities within it are. I love the touch of spookiness we get when Unit 919 learned WunSoc’s true purpose and that certain dark entities threaten Nevermoor and the WunSoc must distract regular folks from noticing them. I loved learning about the School of Wundrous Arts and meeting the new scholar mistress, Rook, who seems very mysterious. I wonder how the scholar mistresses came about. And (oh man!) the library! The Gobleian Library is the coolest place next to the Hotel Deucalian. I’d love to visit that library, although I’d be a bit scared. Those librarians have a very fascinating job. And, as always, I love the Hotel Deucalian and was very tickled by the part where it was sulking due to the lockdown.

Nevermoor is an amazing, kooky, quirky place, and I want to know more about it. I was hoping the world would expand a bit more in this book, like it did in Wundersmith when we learned about the Tricksy lanes and such. But although we do learn of something new in this one, it wasn’t the huge expansion I was hoping for. That wasn’t a big disappointment for me, however. Instead, it made me even more eager to read more books set in this world. I just hope that we continue to learn more about how Nevermoor functions with each book. In this one, I thought it was really cool when Morrigan got to meet the fire spirit thing. I wasn’t expecting that to happen. It made me wonder how Nevermoor was made, which made me think that it was probably the wundersmiths who created it and maybe Ezra Squall realized later that it was a mistake to kill all the wundersmiths since Nevermoor will fall apart without them… I don’t know, but that’s my theory so far.

And what’s up with Ezra Squall? The dude made me a wee bit confused in this one. I kept wondering what is it he wants. What is his goal? Is he really evil or just pretending? So far, the other wundersmiths we’ve read about are not how we (and Morrigan) are told they are, so I wonder if it’s the same with Squall. I think I’ll be very annoyed if it turns out that he’s actually not evil.

Anyway, Hollowpox was a fun read. I enjoyed the adventures and loved spending time with the Swift family, who all made me think of the Weasleys from the Harry Potter books, just a rambunctious bunch who are fun to be around. I realized in this book that I’m not really a fan of Morrigan. I don’t know why. My favorite characters so far are Frank, the vampire party planner; the fantastic Hotel Deucalian, especially when it’s sulking; and Jupiter North.

Just a lot of fun stuff happened in this one.

I didn’t know where in my review to work this in, so I’ll leave it here. It’s my favorite bit of dialogue in the book.

This is De Flimsé,” Dame Chanda continued, gesturing to her green embroidered silk gown. “At least a third of my wardrobe is by De Flimsé. My favorite perfume is Flimsé by De Flimsé. My second-favorite perfume is Whimsé by De Flimsé, which I am wearing as we speak, and for which I am a brand ambassador and billboard model.” She held a hand to her chest and lowered her head, taking a little bow.

“What a coincidence,” said Frank, sniffing at his wrists. “I’m wearing Whimsé by De Flimsé for Himsé.”

Overall: ★★★☆☆ ½

A delightful read that I highly recommend.

Buy | Borrow | Bypass

I need to get myself copies too.

20 thoughts on ““Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow” by Jessica Townsend

  1. Though I’m not sure if this particular series is for me, I am on the lookout for some good middle-grade reads, sort of a throwback to younger years and as you said, a light-hearted read for current times. So I’m enjoying reading your reviews of these books, opening me up to what’s out there.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hahaha! Oh, I love Dame Chanda and Frank 😂 I still haven’t managed to get my hands on a copy of this one but I’m so looking forward to coming back to Nevermoor, The Deucalian and discovering more about the school! Great review 🙂


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