Cover of Morrighan, featuring an apple tree with red apples and a skull with a green snake in it

About the Book

Title: Morrighan: The Beginnings of the Remnant Universe (The Remnant Chronicles #0.5)
Published: 2022

Cover Story: Garden of Eden Vibes
BFF Charms: Yay, Natalie Imbruglia
Talky Talk: Short and Sweet
Bonus Factor: Backstory
Anti-Bonus Factor: Familial Violence
Relationship Status: Forever Stan

Content Warning: There are some instances/mentions of abuse and hints of attempted sexual assault in Morrighan that might be triggering for some readers.

Yellow alert! Morrighan is a prequel “short novel” that takes place before the events of The Remnant Chronicles. There aren’t really spoilers in the book, but it might make more sense if you read the larger series first.

Cover Story: Garden of Eden Vibes

There’s a lot going on with this cover, and it’s very fancy fantasy (fanctasy?). But the snake in the skull and the apple tree, more than anything, are giving serious Garden of Eden. Morrighan is not a bible allegory … I don’t think?

The Deal: 

Decades after the end of the world, small groups of humans travel the country finding resources and ways to survive. Some of them are more peaceful; some rely on others to get what they need and then take it by force. 

Morrigan is part of a group who rely on a heightened sense of intuition to find what they need. Jafir is the son of a violent scavenger who preys on folks like Morrighan’s family. But the way you’re raised doesn’t always make you who you are, and Morrighan and Jafir slowly craft a special and unusual relationship as the years pass and their groups cross paths.

BFF Charms: Yay, Natalie Imbruglia

Yay BFF Charm

Morrighan’s a lovely, intelligent young woman who knows the value of a good book. (Obviously, this is one of the main reasons anyone would get a BFF charm from me.) She is dedicated to her family and does what she can to make their lives the best they can be. She even extends this kindness to people who might not deserve it; she’s willing to forgive and grow when she, herself, makes mistakes.

BFF charm with Natalie Imbruglia's face.

As the son of an awful father, Jafir could have turned out as a horrible person. (His brother certainly didn’t fall far from the tree.) Instead, he thinks critically about the life he leads and is open to learning about other ways of life. He struggles with shrugging off the expectations of his family, which is the reason for my hesitation; he can’t always do the right thing because of the situation he’s in. But he, too, is open to growth and change, and that’s really all I can ask for.

Swoonworthy Scale: 6

Morrighan and Jafir first meet when they’re quite little and neither expects to see each other ever again. But Fate is a fickle thing, and so the two continue to have run-ins for many years afterward. It’s not until they’re much older that they realize the feelings they have for each other have changed into something unexpected, but the fact remains that they are from two very different worlds and a true relationship might not be possible.

Talky Talk: Short and Sweet

Having read the rest of The Remnant Chronicles (and the follow-up Dance of Thieves duology), I know how great Pearson is at worldbuilding. Being a short novel that started as a short story, Morrighan focuses more on the relationship between Morrighan and Jafir and less on the rounding out of the world they’re in. It’s a lovely complement to the larger universe, but the story doesn’t really stand alone. The collector’s edition is a must for Pearson fans, though—it features a gorgeous hardcover and illustrations throughout.

Bonus Factor: Backstory

C-3PO from Star Wars without his gold outer casing

Where The Remnant Chronicles felt more fantasy than post-apocalyptic, Morrighan leans more into the broken world themes because it’s closer to the time period in which the devastation happened. I loved reading glimpses of that old world in the larger series and enjoyed being closer to it in this short novel.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Familial Violence

Clenched fist pounding into a table

Jafir’s father is a horrible person who leads through fear and hits his children when they displease him. Jafir’s brother is the worst kind of daddy’s boy and takes things one step further by threatening sexual assault because “women are property” and only useful for serving their men. Gross.

Relationship Status: Forever Stan

I’m always going to be excited to see more of you, Book, and hear new stories of the world in which you’re set. Even when they’re short and don’t include that much plot. Just give me everything you have, ’cause I’ll never get enough.

Literary Matchmaking

Dance of Thieves (Dance of Thieves #1)

If you haven’t checked out Pearson’s Dance of Thieves duology (in addition to the original Remnant Chronicles trilogy), please do yourself a favor!

Markswoman (Asiana #1)

Rati Mehrotra’s Asiana duology is also a good mix of fantasy and post-apocalyptic vibes.

Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands #1)

Alwyn Hamilton’s Rebel of the Sands series, while totally fantasy, features a lot of similar themes.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Henry Holt and Co. (BYR), but got neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. Morrighan is available now.

Mandy (she/her) is a manager at a tech company who lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, son, and dogs. She loves superheroes and pretty much any show or movie with “Star” in the name.