What a fun Christmas battle!

In two books by Aussie Jessica Townsend, the city of Nevermoor celebrates Christmas Eve with the annual Christmas Battle of Santa vs the Yule Queen!

Santa and the Yule Queen take turns to do magical things to see who can outdo the other – if Santa wins, all the children get a full stocking in the morning but if the Queen wins, there is snow on Christmas morning.

In the first book,  Nevermoor, the lead character learns that everyone dresses in red (for Santa) or green (for the queen) to show their allegiance, and carries a candle which Santa sets alight. Recently released Hollowpox again shows Morrigan Crow at the Christmas Battle when she has more knowledge of Nevermoor and the battle of Santa vs the Yule Queen.

the first three books of the Nevermoor book series besides a Santa candle

I was not expecting a Christmas element when I read these books (nor the other book in the series, Wundersmith), and it is not a key part of the story, but it is a lovely side story that I was delighted to read. I won’t give away who wins each battle, but will say that Santa and the Yule Queen are friendly and respectful to each other.

The Nevermoor book series

Nevermoor: the trials of Morrigan Crow book cover showing people holding umbrellas in front of a large cat - but no hint of the included Christmas battle of Santa vs the Yule Queen!AuthorJessica Townsend
Published by Hatchett Australia in 2017, 2018 and 2020
Age range – 8 to 12

While I normally only review Christmas books, I may as well add a review while I’m at I’m mentioning this series for the Santa and Yule Queen battle!!

The book series revolves around Morrigan Crow, a girl unwanted by her family who gets the opportunity to live in Nevermoor with her new patron, Jupiter North. Jupiter knows Morrigan is special and aids her through a process to join the Wondrous Society. Jupiter runs a nine star hotel and has some interesting friends, like a vampire dwarf, a magnificat and an opera singer.

Each book follows from the previous, but could be read alone. Apparently, there will be 6-9 books in the series by the end, and I am looking forward to them – even though my son may grow out of them by the time they are all released!

While I assume the story was planned ahead of COVID-19, I have found Hollowpox  very interesting – released just a few weeks ago, it centres around a virus that has ‘everyday’ symptoms, hasn’t been seen before and results in various events being postponed and cancelled. I think that makes it relatable for kids right now, and that 2020 will make the kids better understand, and have compassion for, the characters’ frustrations with a virus changing their lives.

We were introduced to the books by my son’s friend and his mum as they loved them, and my now 12 year old son and I also love them.

So, there is a Christmas element to these books that is lovely and they are a great series of books to give as a Christmas gift this year for higher primary school kids. They have a decent story line without being overly predictable, and include adventure, suspense and fantasy. There are some very nice characters that are engaging and varied. In other words, I thoroughly recommend these books!

Continuing the series…

The forth book about Morrigan Crow is called Silverborn: The mystery of Morrigan Crow and is scheduled for release on 28 August 2024 (delayed from the original expected date, unfortunately). Once it’s out, I’ll let you know if the Christmas battle is included again!

Santa vs the Yule QueenSanta vs the Yule Queen