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.
Hollowpox is the third book in the Nevermoor series by Jessica Townsend. I have enjoyed every book in this series so far and awaited this one eagerly for what felt like far too long. It did not disappoint-I love this book. In fact, I think it is my favourite book in the Nevermoor series so far. In part I think this is because we get to see Morrigan start to learn more about her powers and her potential as a Wundersmith-something we got tantalising glimpses of in the second book in the series: The Calling of Morrigan Crow.
This book has the same array of brilliant characters that accompany Morrigan on her adventures, they are a sort of dysfunctional family surrounding Morrigan with their support; be it through snarky bad tempered comments (Fen the magnificat specialises in these) or gentle teasing (her best friends Hawthorne and Cadence are great at these) to bring Morrigan back to earth, the cast of characters add richness to the story and the fantasy world that Morrigan inhabits.
The Wundersmith Ezra Squall is as deliciously sinister as always in this book but we also get to learn more about his past in tantalising glimpses that I won't spoil for anyone who hasn't read the book yet.
There is a lot about the Nevermoor books that is about acceptance of others and celebration of difference and Jessica Townsend does this again brilliantly in Hollowpox. In this book she tackles the issues of fear and discrimination and puts extremism and manipulation of the media under the lense of Nevermoor. For adult readers, this will be all too familiar unfortunately; for children, it lets them see the tactics of narrow thinking bigots for what they are-unfair, unjust and unwanted.
I love the fact that there is a same sex relationship represented in this book that has nothing to do with the main plot (and has nothing to do with the discrimination I mentioned above) but is just a relationship as normal as any other. This normalising of diversity is exactly what is needed in books to teach people to be more accepting.
I'm not going to tell you much about what happens in the story, I wouldn't want to spoil any of the surprises for you-all I will say is: just read it. This is a fantastic book; if you've enjoyed the other Nevermoor books you will enjoy this one too. I can't wait for book 4 now. The climax of this book is very exciting and left me wanting more (which is what any good series of books should do).
Hollowpox came out in October 2020 and is available in all good bookshops and online retailers (its available in bad ones as well). If you are going to buy it please consider buying from an independent bookshop. Bookshop.org is a new online retailer that supports independent bookshops-if you don't but directly from an independent bookshop it is worth looking here rather than the traditional big online retailer (you all know who I mean!).