This is a sequel to Nevermoor and so will contain some spoilers for that book. I will, however, try to avoid spoilers for Wundersmith itself.
Wundersmith by Jessica Townsend picks up shortly after the first book ended, with Morrigan Crow on the cusp of starting her classes at the Wundrous Society. However, most of the rest of her unit don’t trust her, and with mysterious disappearances putting all of Nevermoor on edge, it’s not the best time to have the powers Morrigan has. But with the ever-present threat of Ezra Squall’s return, Morrigan has to prove that she belongs in the Wundrous Society after all.
This is an excellent sequel, accomplishing everything a sequel should. Morrigan continues to grow, starting to accept herself and learn to make friends. She’s still flawed, though, but likeable. Other characters such as Hawthorne, Jupiter, Fenestra, and Cadence are still fantastic. And the new characters like Mildmay and the rest of Unit 919 are well-characterized and add new layers to the magical setting.
While Nevermoor focused a lot on introducing us to Morrigan’s world, Wundersmith leans much farther toward mystery. With the disappearances of prominent figures in society, as well as the strange zombie-like figure Morrigan sees and the strange blackmail threats that start appearing, there is a more ominous tone to this story. However, there is still so much adventure, magic, and humor. Townsend has found a perfect balance between sinister and whimsy that I adore.
I also love the themes of friendship, trust, and loyalty that are explored in this. Much of the mystery hinges on whether or not characters believe in one another, and the conclusion always is that friendship and compassion can be powerful tools. As spooky as this story can sometimes be, at its core, it has a sweet message.
In the end, Wundersmith was amazing. With great character development and an intriguing plot, this built on the stellar foundation from the first book and promises to bring much more of the same in the third book. Nevermoor has rapidly become one of the best middle grade series I’ve ever read, and I still insist it’s great for all ages. If you’re interested, I highly recommend both books in the series, and to read them soon, since the third book is due to be published in October!
Overall rating: 8.7/10